All I could think of was stepping on the boat with my son and heading for the islands.
As is the norm at Wanigili, the last quarter of the year is always hectic with school camps, conferences etc. so by the time Christmas was at our doorstep, I was ready for a change of scenery!
Home for us is Sawasawaga Village, Sariba Island which is approximately 2 hours South East of Alotau by speed boat and about 4 hours via local workboat. The well known China Strait runs between Sariba and the mainland. This is the passage one has to pass through in order to reach the famous Samarai and Kwato Islands.
I grew up in the village until I was about 4 years old. During this period I was raised by my bubus (grandparents) who became more like mum and dad to me.
I love returning home to my family and being able to share the experience with my son who thoroughly enjoys it! We ended up spending 3 blissful (and adventurous) weeks at home. Take a look.
View of Kailaulauwai Is. from Sawasawaga beachfront
One of the two huge mango trees at the front of the village.
Home sweet home. We often pack a tent if the house is too full.
The village church. Sunday is a big day with everyone traveling from the other side of the island or paddling from nearby villages to attend church with their families.
View of Walatonoli Bay from inside the church.
I love the simplicity of home life
Chooks in church.
The concrete floor has historical significance as it was built by the US Navy during the Battle of the Coral Sea. I recently discovered that it was the 84th Battalion Sea Bees from The US Navy who set up camp at our village in 1943. Sawasawaga was a base for the Catalina Sea Planes. The 84th Battalion were in charge of the building and construction of airstrips, warves, buildings etc. during the war. At Sawasawaga they built a dam, mess house and warf. The dam still exists and the concrete floor of the mess house is now the base for our local church. There is also a pontoon buried underwater at the front of the village. Once I get my divers licence, I plan to dive around the bay and see if there are any other war relics to be found.