Day M25: The Solomon Islands

22.10.11: The Papuan Chief ploughed a course through Iron Bottom Sound: the watery graveyard of hundreds – if not thousands - of ships, aircrafts and soldiers killed in the Pacific War between Japan and America. Our target was Guadalcanal – the main island of the Solomons. On the bridge the shipping chart marked off all of the wreck sites... and there were many. There’s a bit in Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line in which the American troops, armed to the teeth, are marching through long grass and a native Solomon Islander glides past them as if they were never there. That image has stuck in my head for years. We arrived in Honiara on Saturday afternoon. By the time the ship had been pulled alongside and the usual formalities had been worked out, it was 4pm. Captain Santos had given me a Papuan Chief ID…

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