Weekend Wonders

 "Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done.  The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare."  Psalm 40:5

SITAG's director called yesterday morning.  She asked if anybody wanted to accompany her family on a trip over to Savo Island.  I really waffled back and forth.  I longed for a day at home to catch up on my long to-do list, but at the same time, I wanted to be a "yes" mom who makes memories with her kids.  I only have two more years with all of them at home.

By last night, we decided that the kids and I would go on the trip, and Aaron would stay home to get some much needed introvert time.  This morning, we were at the top of the hill a little before 7:00, ready to hop in the truck that would take us out to the end of Guadalcanal.  Our SITAG group numbered five adults and five kids, so the tour provided two canoes for our 45-minute ride from Visale over to Sunset Lodge.

Here's a description of the hike we took, from the Welkam Solomons website:
"The second volcano tour is more intensive and is a three hour round trip in addition to the fifteen minute canoe ride to get there. Be prepared for a hike! The walk commences in wide dry riverbeds where lava once flowed, causing the edges to be lined with steep cliff faces.
As you move further up the volcano, the journey continues through untouched rainforest that is many centuries old. There are sections of the trek where you are required to clamber up slippery slopes with the sandy clay giving way underneath and also plenty of sloshing through rushing water.
To add to the adventure, you will also need to navigate rocky outcrops, which have falls a few metres into the hot water pools below. Take plenty of water, as the walk can be fairly humid due to the steam as you near the summit and stand in the crater of the volcano."

What you can't see in the picture of Olivia and the waterfall?  The handmade ladder with rickety rungs you have to climb if you want to keep going.  I told our guides, cousins named Joel and John, it was just like climbing the ladder on the Kosco.  The guides were absolutely fabulous.  If we had been in the States, we would have signed all sorts of waivers about heat stroke, boiling water, creepy-crawlies, etc.  But these cousins offered their knowledge and their helping hands to each one of us.  One time, we paused for a water break, and the guides were quick to point out some leaves that would make us itch if we touched them.

Another time, I saw one of the guides quickly pick Katherine up and move her from his right to his left.  When I glanced to his right, I discovered the other guide smashing an eight inch long centipede with a big rock.  Joel and John had their eyes wide open!  The water in the stream got warmer and warmer as we climbed.  At one point, Katherine slipped and her foot went into the surprisingly warm water, and the guides offered to piggy-back for her the rest of the trail. 
Although she told me that she wouldn't be "lively" anymore, she was a trooper and continued the hike on her own two feet after we poured some cold water on her foot and returned her sock and shoe to their rightful place.  As we neared the top, the ground became yellow and hot and the lush vegetation disappeared.  The stench of sulfur filled our nostrils, and the air became ever more hot and humid.

Katherine and Olivia decided they had enough after hiking for more than an hour and a half, so I stayed with them, just short of the end of the trail. 

You can't tell in this picture, but the water in this little hollow of rock is boiling.  Amazing.  God must have had so much fun when he made Savo!  The group turned around and made our long way down the trail.  Gratefully, we sat down in the canoes as we wove through the dolphin filled water on the way back to Sunset Lodge.  Our hosts had a late lunch waiting for us, and we happily refueled and rehydrated our bodies. 
After lunch, we lay around in the hammocks while we waited for the canoe to be ready for those going to swim with the dolphins.  This trip is the first time our family has ever played "tourist" in the Solomon Islands, so it felt a little bit weird.  But, my friend Mary Isabella from Marulaon is actually from Savo, and her sister runs the resort.  I enjoyed meeting new faces and hugging familiar necks, too, like Jenny, Mary Isabella's oldest daughter, who now works at the resort.  Benjamin and Olivia went with a few others to swim unsuccessfully with the dolphins, but they still had a great time.

I knew Katherine was tired because she fell asleep on the canoe ride across the ocean.  I watched her little head bob and slipped my hand underneath her face just before she came down on the side of the boat.  She lay in my lap and dozed on the truck ride from Visale to Honiara.  We finally got home around 6:30, and my sweet husband had supper ready and waiting for us.  He enjoyed his introvert recharging day, and the rest of us enjoyed some sweet time with colleagues as we played and reveled in God's creation.


Kecia said…
What a beautiful--if exhausting--day!
Bartokhound said…
LOVE the adventure - every bit of it - pictures, storytelling, etc. Wishing badly we were still there to take part, but also thankful we are not, so memories can be made with other friends and for you, too!!!

Rejoicing in this day God gave each of you (A and JSBOK).


LISA said…
Love those smiley pictures of Olivia in her braids.
It looks like a good time was had by all.
Katherine is a trooper...the littlest ones do many things often before the ages their siblings did them.
LISA said…
I almost forgot...Happy New Year!
Doug Hibbard said…
I like the phrase "Introvert time."

I need to set my clocks to that zone and live in it. :)
quilt'n-mama said…
Looks like an awesome day trip:) Savo was beautiful in the distance when we went by in the canoe:) We recently read about boiling water from volcanic activity below- so cool to see it friend!

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