Wanderlust

A quick note for those interested in my ongoing adventures around the world. I’m currently in Gizo, in the Solomon Islands … why? Well, the answer is in my latest post on my blog, a post entitled “Feasting“. GE Gizo map

If you’d like lighter fare than the ongoing discussion of my latest Watts Up With That post on cold objects and hot objects, c’mon over, the water’s between hot and cold, pleasantly warm …

solos19

My best to all, and thanks as always to Anthony for this most amazing blog, to the moderators for their untiring free labor keeping order 24/7, and to all those who guest post, comment, or just read and lurk. Together, we have made Watts Up With That a rather unique spot in the blogosphere, where scientific ideas are put out in the public square and freely debated. Science at its finest.

Onwards, ever onwards,

w.

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62 thoughts on “Wanderlust

      • Willis,
        We know what you are really up to….A new secret surfing spot, unnamed and uncrowded…With good fishing, cheap beer, and pretty women…
        Once a Surfer, always a Surfer…Enjoy and send pics…Maxx

      • Well, I didn’t want to say anything but …

        Actually, the Solos are not a very good location for surf. The problems are that it’s near the Equator, sometimes in the Doldrums, without a lot of wind. Then you have the difficulty that there are over 900 islands in the group, so the waves get broken up and dispersed.

        Finally, the main shot of waves in the western South Pacific comes from storms around New Zealand. They have a straight shot at say Fiji, leading to great surf conditions there … but they don’t hit here.

        There are a few spots that are OK if you hit them on the right day … but the other ninety-nine days they’re flat.

        Thanks for the encouragement,

        w.

      • I was thinking about P-Pass, that was getting quite a bit of buzz in the last 10 years, Ponopei, specifically.
        Have no idea, where in the chain it is, but,as an old Surfer, the coconut wireless still rings…

      • Thanks, Maxx. Pohnpei is way to the north of us, in Micronesia in the North Pacific. Different world. It’s an amazing island, with one of the very few stone archaeological ruins I know in the islands, called Nan Madol. I was there twenty years ago … but I was working and no time to surf.

        It’s another amazing spot, Nan Madol is awe-inspiring, go if you get the chance.

        w.

      • Thank you.
        Always thought it is was in the Solomons I let my Nat’l Geo subscription lapse at a time of the threat of a Great Ice Age, in the 70’s.
        I will study the link a bit..Sounds fascinating..Aloha, Maxx

  1. “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch, we are going back from whence we came.” JFK

    A pleasant journey to you and yours, Willis.

    • Earthling2, I don’t know whether it was intentional, but JFK’s torpedo boat was rammed and sunk near an island very close to Gizo. JFK and some of his crew swam to the island and PT109 is still there.

      I was in Gizo last year. Great place, wonderful people. The fishing and diving is exceptional.

      • AndSim November 29, 2017 at 9:40 pm

        Earthling2, I don’t know whether it was intentional, but JFK’s torpedo boat was rammed and sunk near an island very close to Gizo. JFK and some of his crew swam to the island and PT109 is still there.

        Indeed, “Kennedy Island”, there’s a very good wall dive there. And recently (well, 2002, but things move slowly around here) Robert Ballard found the wreckage of the PT-109.

        I was in Gizo last year. Great place, wonderful people. The fishing and diving is exceptional.

        Egads! Nobody comes to Gizo, what brought you here?

        w.

      • “Egads! Nobody comes to Gizo, what brought you here?”

        Wanderlust!

        My wife an I were there based on a recommendation from a friend. We’ll be back, eventhough the airport landing is interesting!

        (I hope Gizo remains our little secret!)

      • “Willis Eschenbach November 29, 2017 at 9:49 pm”

        “AndSim November 29, 2017 at 10:14 pm”

        Now, that truly proves what a small world it is!

        And the broad global reach of WUWT!

  2. Enjoy Willis – I just returned from Thailand – 30C – 26 hours flying, 4 stops, 14 time zones, still cannot get sorted on sleep. Working on it.

    Best, Allan

  3. Ah, the Slot. Henderson Field (now Honiara International Airport). Pappy Boyington, Corsairs over Bougainville. Rabaul.
    Guadalcanal was huge turning point to stop the Japanese from attacking Australia.

    Visiting sunken ships?
    Did you visit the Guadalcanal American Memorial?

    • Thanks, Joel. I lived here in the Solos for a total of eight years, and I visited the memorial more than once. It was an amazing part of the war in the South Pacific, the very first American offensive action.

      w.

  4. Spent 7 days on Gizo in Aug 1989. Kind of the end of the world, but friendly people and diving was phenomenal. Went with an operation run by Danny and Kerrie Kennedy. He was an American and she was from Australia. Don’t suppose they’re still around. Question: When flying there, do you still land on an incredibly small island and then take a canoe over to Gizo?

      • I just landed in Phnom Phen seeking a different place. Going to the coast tomorrow hoping for clear water. How are the Solomon’s
        for that?

  5. G’day Willis, I lived in Solomon Islands for eleven years, returning to Australia in early 1985. Absolute paradise, with the friendliest of people. Back then there was a beautiful reef near the end of the jetty on Nusatupe. Is that still there?

  6. Take this the way it is meant – I HATE YOU!!

    Well, actually, I hate not doing what you are doing!!!!!

    P.S…. thats kind of a compliment to you…I’m a Kiwi afterall – just to clarify things.

    • D B H, I understand perfectly. Let me just say that our lives are ours to do with as we choose. I got ruined by watching South Pacific and The Crimson Pirate at a young age, which left me with a burning desire to go around the world and explore its mysteries. At this point, I’ve been doing it for more than half a century, and I am living proof that when that bug bites you … you live with the sting …

      So, don’t put it off. Your world is ruled by your intention … focus it on what you really want and let the rest go.

      Anyhow … that’s how I ended up here …

      w.

      • Well, if it gets really bad, here’s the cure:

        Whenever I find myself
        growing grim about the mouth ; whenever it is a damp,
        drizzly November in my soul ; whenever I find myself
        involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bring-
        ing up the rear of every funeral I meet ; and especially
        whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that
        it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from
        deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically
        knocking people’s hats off then, I account it high time
        to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for
        pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws
        himself upon his sword ; I quietly take to the ship.
        There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew
        it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other,
        cherish very nearly the same feelings toward the ocean
        with me.

        Moby Dick

        My best wishes to you in Antipodea …

        w.

      • Willis: I am often drawn to something that was ascribed to Goethe, but which I understand is really William Murray: “Begin It Now’

        “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back — concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:

        that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

        Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.“

      • There’s economics involved too. I would have to sell everything I have, cut off all monetary accounts, hike to Cali, and hope my Castaway raft makes it. After 6 months I’ll be there ;)

      • Vicus December 1, 2017 at 5:52 pm

        There’s economics involved too. I would have to sell everything I have, cut off all monetary accounts, hike to Cali, and hope my Castaway raft makes it. After 6 months I’ll be there ;)

        So … what’s not to like?

        Best to you,

        w.

  7. minus 1C in London, with a bitter chill blowing down the alleyways…

    Please sent care package of tropical warmth…

    • Also, Griff, I’m reminded of this, you’re not the first to feel that way …

      … But that’s all shove be’ind me—long ago an’ fur away,
      An’ there ain’t no ‘busses runnin’ from the Bank to Mandalay;
      An’ I’m learnin’ ‘ere in London what the ten-year soldier tells:
      “If you’ve ‘eard the East a-callin’, you won’t never ‘eed naught else.”

      No! you won’t ‘eed nothin’ else
      But them spicy garlic smells,
      An’ the sunshine an’ the palm-trees an’ the tinkly temple-bells;

      I am sick o’ wastin’ leather on these gritty pavin’ stones,
      An’ the blasted Henglish drizzle wakes the fever in my bones;
      Tho’ I walks with fifty ‘ousemaids outer Chelsea to the Strand,
      An’ they talks a lot o’ lovin’, but wot do they understand? …

      From Rudyard Kipling, Mandalay

      My best to you,

      w.

    • That’s a fascinating site, Robert. Look at the La Nina in the Eastern Pacific. In any case, it says we’re only about a degree warmer here. I haven’t heard of any bleaching, but I haven’t been hanging with the divers either. Check back in a week or so.

      w.

  8. I do hope you are keeping a log or diary of your voyages with a view to publishing one day. Reading accounts of voyages and travels by informed travellers is one of the most enjoyable pleasures of life and a responsibility of those fortunate enough to do such things. All best wishes.
    Moderately
    PS that deep ocean basin immediately to the West between you and Papua New Guinea looks intriguing.

  9. ……Wild heart, child heart, all of the world your home.
    Glad heart, mad heart, what can you do but roam?
    Oh, I’ll beat it once more in the morning, boys,
    With a pinch of tea and a crust;
    For you cannot deny
    When you hark to the cry
    Of the wanderlust ……

    The Wanderlust -Robt. Service

  10. Willis, you indeed have been blessed on many fronts. I’ve enjoyed reading about the many adventures around the world to places many of us will never see except through your eyes. Thank you for sharing these with us!

    I have 2 questions:

    What was your favorite place?

    Is there a place you’ve never been that you would like to visit?

    • john November 30, 2017 at 4:07 am

      Willis, you indeed have been blessed on many fronts.

      John, I consider myself to be one of the most fortunate men on the planet. I have lived and continue to live a life that most people can only dream of.

      I’ve enjoyed reading about the many adventures around the world to places many of us will never see except through your eyes. Thank you for sharing these with us!

      As I said in my post, I feast my eyes on the wonders of the world, and I consider bringing back the tales of the marvels that I have seen to be an integral part of having the great fortune to be able to go and see them. It has been that way since home left me when I was 17 and I went on the road. When I’d show up somewhere, everyone always wanted to know, what is it like out there? What have you seen?

      And I’ve done my best to bring them along with me, to let them see what I’ve seen, let them smell the odors, taste the ambiance, enjoy the people, feel the fears and the joys ….

      And now, with the web, I have the great opportunity to be able to share my stories wide and far … what a privilege!

      I have 2 questions:

      What was your favorite place?

      That’s almost impossible to answer. I mean, I dearly love Alaska, but then there’s the Solomons … how can I begin to compare the two, much less all the rest?

      Is there a place you’ve never been that you would like to visit?

      Yep, lots. New Zealand. Japan. The Australian rainforest. The Serengeti. Ayers Rock. The bottom of the Marianas Trench. Antarctica. Actually, one time a friend invited me to go spend six months in Antarctica in the winter doing research … and I considered it, but then he was gay, and although with plenty of gay folks in my family I have no problem with that, I suspected that he had ulterior motives which were doomed to frustration. Couple that with 24 hours of darkness, not a good recipe … in any case, the world is wide beyond our imaginings, its glory is endless, and I’m doing my best to experience it all …

      Thanks for your kind thoughts, my best to you and yours,

      w.

      • Glad you mentioned Alaska. I thought “Finally! Somewhere I have lived!” Spent two years in Kodiak (and traveled all over). There’s nothing like waking up to incredible beauty. At least I’ve been somewhere cool, long ago that it was.

  11. I sailed into Gizo in 1976. I had been caught in the middle of the Solomon sea on the edge of a cyclone that had no right to be that far north, particularly in April. With no satnav available for a price yachties could afford in those days, I had been drifting around for 3 days, waiting for some sun to find out where the hell I was.

    At over 7000 Ft high, with no reefs very far off shore, the western side of the Solomons was the safest thing to approach blind. I found the British Solomon Island Protectorate sign on the warehouse on the jetty, in very faded paint rather amusing. They had been self-governing for many years, but had not bothered to paint out the sign. The sun finally came out, just as I dropped anchor.

    • Thanks for that interesting tale, Hasbeen. Gotta confess, I do NOT like the idea of “drifting around for 3 days, waiting for some sun to find out where the hell I was …”

      One detail. The Solomon Islands was one of the last countries in the world to become independent. The name change from the “British Protectorate of the Solomon Islands” to just “Solomon Islands” was in 1975. Self-governance came in 1976, but full independence wasn’t until 1978.

      So when you were there, the name change had only happened within the previous year … but given how fast things move in the Solos, it’s no surprise that the signboard hadn’t been changed …

      w.

      • I seem to remember it was the BSIP (British Solomon Islands Protectorate) in 1973 when I was on the Weather Coast of Guadalcanal. What a wild palce that was and sadly to later become a violent one. Great diving on the Honiara side though…did you ever come across an old diving mate of mine, Reg Thomas on Tulagi? He may still be there…very competent diver but a bit gung ho with the dynamite when removing propellors from WWII remains!

        Yes, landing at Gizo was always like landing on an aircraft carrier; albeit a nicely moored one. Hard to believe that even Gizo has internet these days…how times change. No more SSB I guess.

        If you get a chance and have the time please post some more lovely shots of the daily emergent phenomena so common in those parts.

        When you do decide to knock NZ off your bucket list you’d be more than welcome to spend a few nights gratis here at Stargazers B&B and Astronomy Tours (www.stargazersbb.com). Anthony almost made it this year!

      • Thanks, Alastair. If you read my post called “Blackmailing the Japanese Ambassador” you’ll find Reg mentioned. When I came in ’85 he was running tugboats in the country.

        Does Gizo have internet? Yes, but only by way of cell phone.

        I truly appreciate your offer to stay with you, and you can be sure that when and if I finally make it to Kiwiville I will look you up.

        Best wishes to you and yours,

        w.

  12. Science at its finest.

    But do 97% of scientists agree with that?

    Jk. This is my favorite hard science website.

  13. Mr. Eschenbach, thank you for these periodic posts that allow us to vicariously participate in your adventures. I have many fond memories of the many days I spent at sea as a Navy Surface Warfare Officer. My experience was gained in the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Mediterranean, Black Sea, and Caribbean. I am a Bluenose and a Shellback.

    I also remember some advice I picked up along the way. If ever you start thinking about going back to sea, just tie two bricks together (to simulate binoculars), hang them around your neck, and stand out on your front porch in a cold, driving rain from midnight until 0400 (the midwatch). The only thing that is difficult to simulate are the moments of sheer terror you experience when a merchant ship on auto pilot puts you into extremis by waiting too long to alter course and speed when they are the burdened vessel.

    Thanks again. I will have to spend more time on your site.

  14. My best memory of Gizo was attending Mass one Sunday. The congregation seemed to be split into 2 groups – on each side of the aisle – and they took turns in singing the hymns. It was quite competitive, but
    totally enthralling as the group harmonized at perhaps 4 levels. And all without musical accompaniment.

  15. Have fun on your adventures, and thanks so much for taking the WUWT helm over the summer while Anthony was on vacation!

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