Nature is excessive, lovely, and ominous in the Solomons and the Melanesians who live there, often blond or redheaded, are the blackest of all people. Before World War II such names as Guadalcanal, Savo, Munda were rarely heard. Guadalcanal, over 100 miles long by 30 miles wide, is the largest island. Then in descending order there's Malaita, San Cristobal, Choiseul, New Georgia, and Santa Ysabel. All of them are mountainous, covered with rain forest, and laced with rivers. The remaining hundreds of islands range from substantial, to mere dots of coral. Today even the most remote islands have usable airstrips that date back to WW II. This is the real Melanesia, and for "do it yourself travel" there are plenty of inter island boats, adequate housing, gentle people, and beauty. And, thanks to World War II, you can get nearly everywhere by air. Two hundred fifty thousand Solomon Islanders live on the six main islands and associated clusters that slant across the Coral Sea for 900 miles. Ninety-four percent of them are black Melanesians, but a small fraction are Micronesian, Chinese, a few are European, and curiously some are Polynesian. This guide to the Solomons, written by an author who has seen them all and has been there dozens of times, is loaded with inside information and details on the places to stay and eat, plus what to see and do.
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