Brisbane to Gizo Yacht Rally

nguzunguzuIn early May, a flotilla of 25 yachts will sail from Brisbane, Australia, to Gizo, Solomon Islands, in a rally organized by the Gizo Yacht Club. This rally will mark the start of the Western Pacific cruising season, and in Gizo the arrival of sailors will coincide with the Festival of the Sea Vakatepe.

Yacht races from Brisbane to Gizo were organized previously in 1996 and 1997, but with the ethnic fighting on Guadalcanal from 1998 to 2003, these events were discontinued. The present rally can be viewed as yet another sign that things have returned to normal in the Solomons after the Australian-led intervention in 2003, which brought "the troubles" to an end.

The Festival of the Sea Vakatepe will run from May 15th to 19th and will be of interest to any visitor. It will feature traditional music and dancing, canoe races, and a display of tomoko war canoes once used on head hunting expeditions. In the old days, each head hunting canoe would have a ngununguzu similar to the one pictured here attached to the canoe's bow for luck. Notice how the totem figure grasps a small head.

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