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Old 03-08-2007, 01:19 AM   #1
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Large yacht with X-international delivery and charter skipper now sailing Queensland coast and reefs around whitsundays islands.

In 2007 sailing on to PNG and Solomons Islands.

[EDIT]

This "crew wanted" topic has turned into a very interesting discussion on the region as a whole so it has been moved here to continue on a more relevant forum board. Will the original poster please post a new topic for crew back on the "crew wanted" board.
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Old 03-08-2007, 04:44 AM   #2
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Hi Micky,

Please check the DFAT travel warnings site www.smartraveller.gov.au when planning to sail to the Solomans. The security situation up there is still crook....people are still shooting at each other.

Best wsihes

David.
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Old 03-10-2007, 04:18 AM   #3
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Hi Micky,

Please check the DFAT travel warnings site www.smartraveller.gov.au when planning to sail to the Solomans. The security situation up there is still crook....people are still shooting at each other.

Best wsihes

David.
Thanks David-were you there? I heard the western part is very safe

cheers

Micky
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Old 03-10-2007, 12:39 PM   #4
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Hi Micky, I have not been there but my profession keeps me closely abreast of the situation. The main problems are around the capital Honiara, but there is the potential for sudden deterioration of order throughout the island chain. Australians are particularly at risk in much the same way as US nationals are, in the middle east. While visitors are actively discouraged from going there, they are advised to not associate near large groups of locals.

Conversely, the breakdown in law and order means there are bands of opportunist criminals (much like the rascals in PNG) who are using the excuse of political activism to justify random attacks against small groups of foreigners. The west is relatively peaceful, but if one person is killed by Australian forces in Honiara, there may be revenge attacks against Oz nationals anywhere in the country. If you do decide to sail in SI waters, make sure you advise the Oz authorities of your movements on a daily basis.

Are you committed to travelling there under charter? If not I would strongly suggest an extended stay around the Torres Strait islands, perhaps the western coast of the Cape, and across the Gulf to the Wessel Islands.

Cheers.

David.
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Old 03-26-2007, 01:10 PM   #5
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Hello Micky,

I have recently returned from three months in Solomon Islands and my impression is that the security situation there is badly misrepresented by DFAT. There is a diplomatic spat between the Australian and the Solomons Islands governments but no evidence of hostility towards Australian nationals including the RAMSI forces deployed there. Australia's position in the Solomon's has a complex history, but put simply it suits DFAT's interests to exagerate the security situation there in order to justify the expensive Australian led intervention.

Micky would be doing himself a favour to go to Solomons Islands and experience the place for himself. Perhaps he works for DFAT or the Australian security forces.

For news reports of Solomon Islands and other pacific island nations:

http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/

Several years ago I accidently left my laptop computer on one of the hundreds of mini-buses in Honiara. This was after the civil conflict had waned but before RAMSI forces arrived to restore law and order. The next day the bus driver smilingly returned the laptop to me as I waited at a bus stop. Try doing that in Melbourne or Sydney.

Solomon Islands is a first class ecotourism destination and the people are among the most hospitable that you could expect to meet anywhere. Ecotourism, including sailing, is an opportunity to deliver some income to rural communities, something that is rarely achieved by official aid projects. Solomon Islands has it's leadership problems, but the people deserve much better than the misguided travel advisories of the Howard government.

I am sure you would not regret a decision to cruise through the islands.

Enjoy!

Russell
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Old 03-26-2007, 01:56 PM   #6
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Hi Russel,

No I do not work for DFAT or the security forces. I am a news journalist of 35 years experience, and have seen areas of the world described in a similar fashion as you describe the Solomans, deteriorate overnight from idyllic, to murderous. The Australian presence in the Solomans represents virtual pocket change as far as cost is concerned. The intervention was not an Australian initiative. Australian security forces went to the Solomans at the direct request of the SI Government. Such is the domestic concern for the stability of the political and social situation in that country.

The key word in the Solomans is 'opportunist'. Look at the friendship displayed to Australians in East Timor just prior to the murder, by the Indonesian Army, of five Australians in Balibo in 1974. That you believe you have better information than both the Australian and Soloman Island governments is interesting. To recommend, in the face of serious official opposition, that someone else should place themselves, and their paying guests/crew in a potentially dangerous situation is at best, irresponsible. Travel warnings are not directed by politicians, but are arrived at through international consultation between non-partisan government instrumentalities.

I do not doubt your pleasant stay in the Solomans, but Russel, I assure you governments have no interest other than the safety of their nationals when they produce travel warnings. My advice to Micky remains unchanged.

Without malice

David.
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Old 03-26-2007, 05:15 PM   #7
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Hello David,

I respect that your advice is given with good intentions. I have spent a considerable amount of time in Solomon Islands over the last 12 years. Since the coupe of 2000 most reporting on the Solomons has been superficial and has not strayed far from the official Australian line.

You mention Australia's "domestic concern for the stability of the political and social situation in that country." Australian concern for it's failing neighbour was noticably lacking from 2000 until 2003. Both before and after the coupe, repeated requests for security assistance went ignored. Australia stood by as law and order, the economy and essential services such as health care fell into disarray. The intervention of 2003 was largely about positioning Australia as a regional power following the US response to 9/11. If Australia had genuine concerns about stability in the Solomons we might have saved a lot of hardship and bloodshed by acting much earlier.

The Australian led intervention in 2003 was stage managed to look like a military invasion to stabilise a warring country. It wasn't, in fact the conflict was more or less over by then. The local people who put their lives on the line to peacefully resolve the conflict, including those who were killed, have never been properly acknowledged by Australia. Instead Australia has consistently promoted it's own role as the saviour of the nation. Solomon Islands is the only opportunity for the Australian government to promote a positive foreign affairs outcome. Consequently there has been a lot of hype along with the facts.

There has been one tragic incident in Honiara where an Australian serviceman was killed in attempt to force Australia to withdraw. This killing was almost certainly orchestrated by individuals who hoped to scuttle the Australian legal investigation of their role in the 2000 conflict.

The current political uncertainty in the Solomons reflects the failure of Australia to differentiate between positive and negative forces in the country. Indeed some of the leaders of the 2000 coupe remain in power and are among the biggest beneficiaries of Australia's assistance. There have been few apparent benefits to the majority of Solomon Islanders who live in rural villages. If there is a future deterioration of relations between ordinary Solomon Islanders and Australia it will be in part because of resentment of these failures and lost opportunities.

I don't see how the Solomon Islands can be compared to the situation in East Timor as the Indonesian military commenced their illegal occupation in 1974. Nor can the situation Solomons be compared to the current situation in the middle east. People are not "still shooting at each other." I remain skeptical of the sincerity of Australian travel advice which is effectively a sanction in the messy diplomatic row that has emerged between the two countries. Solomon Islanders laugh off Australia's travel warnings, although their impact on the re-emerging tourist industry isn't very funny. As far as I know Australia is the only country to issue high level travel warnings for Solomon Islands.

Tourists, divers and business people travel to the Solomon Islands every day. I don't think it is irresponsible to encourage others to join them. Again I appreciate your position, David, and your intentions to alert Micky to a percieved risk, however my experience of Solomon Islands does not match Australia's official position by a wide margin. Naturally people should do there own research and draw their own conclusions.

Apologies to Micky for hijacking the forum.

R
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Old 03-26-2007, 05:31 PM   #8
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Russell

Thanks for the input. David offered an insight on the region to Micky which he was happy to get. I can understand that this issue may invite some discussion so perhaps it is prudent to open a topic on the "Poop Deck" board should you wish to continue with this. This thread was started by someone looking for crew - lets give him an opportunity to find crew.

No problem!
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Old 03-28-2007, 01:37 AM   #9
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Russell

Thanks for the input. David offered an insight on the region to Micky which he was happy to get. I can understand that this issue may invite some discussion so perhaps it is prudent to open a topic on the "Poop Deck" board should you wish to continue with this. This thread was started by someone looking for crew - lets give him an opportunity to find crew.

No problem!
Well its the first time I've had so much advice on a destination-I guess if a traveller has that street wise ability they can determine when to weigh anchor or not. I have only sailed over 150,000 sea miles and and over twenty years of travel visited over 40 countries. I have owned my current yacht for eight years and sailed the Pacific Islands last year. So thanks to all for your advice but if anyone can do this adventure trip it should be me.
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Old 03-28-2007, 01:43 AM   #10
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Well its the first time I've had so much advice on a destination-I guess if a traveller has that street wise ability they can determine when to weigh anchor or not. I have only sailed over 150,000 sea miles and and over twenty years of travel visited over 40 countries. I have owned my current yacht for eight years and sailed the Pacific Islands last year. So thanks to all for your advice but if anyone can do this adventure trip at least I should have a good chance of a supurb time with alot less other yachts around
PS Have you read this months SAIL magazine on SI
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Old 03-28-2007, 08:08 PM   #11
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I have only sailed over 150,000 sea miles and and over twenty years of travel visited over 40 countries. I have owned my current yacht for eight years and sailed the Pacific Islands last year.
Mickey,

I am off topic, but you have experiance many are interested in, and would like to read about. I am. Perhaps you would consider posting to: THE CRUISERLOG YACHT CLUB (New board)

Thanks,

Jeff
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Old 03-29-2007, 07:56 AM   #12
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Hello Lighthouse,

I appreciate your comment and acknowledge being part of the problem in subverting this thread from it's purpose of finding crew. With the consent of Micky, it may be appropriate to shuffle this entire thread over to the "poop deck" as you have suggested and repost the original crew request by itself.

Alternatively I am happy for my posts to be deleted from this thread. The intention of my posts was to challenge the claim that "people are still shooting at each other" in Solomon Islands, which is neither an accurate nor appealing image to paint for prospective crew.

I would have contacted you off the board but don't know how!

With respect,

Russell
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:08 AM   #13
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Micky,

Ive just got back to NZ from the Solomons and am keen to get back there on a yacht.

I have no real experience of sailing but I think I could be useful with some knowledge of radios, first aid and general resourcefullness. I also have a good understanding of the current situation in the Solomons as well as speaking fluent pigin. I am very keen to learn all I can about sailing and navigation. I am prepared to fly to Aussie to join the right crew.

If you may have a position for someone like me please email me on (solomonloki AT hotmail.com)

Also if you want to ask any questions about the current situation in the Solomons, feel free to ask me.

In my opinion, after spending several months in Honiara and several outlying islands, the Australian government travel warnings are too severe. However, there is some truth to them and you should avoid some parts of the country and exercise caution no matter where you are.

Regarding the tsunami that hit the West, the Gizo yacht club website says:

"If anyone is planning on visiting Gizo in the near future don't be put off, you will be welcome and your input to the economy continues to be vital"

http://www.gizoyachtclub.com.sb
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