November 2014: When in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, stay at Sohano — one would think that this is the motto of the team. This was my third time to visit the region and yes, we stayed again at Sohano Island at the cozy Sohano Ocean View Apartelle and for good reason. The island is peaceful, picturesque, and offers just the right mix of adventure and accommodation the team is looking for. Just glad to update my photos as the last set was posted more than a year ago.
Sohano Island is almost literally just a stone’s throw away from the town of Buka, across a flowing channel called Buka Passage. For 5 kina, dinghies would ferry one across the passage.
The main structures are in the middle of the island but dwellings can be found along the shores below shallow cliffs, among verdant foliage.
The island’s residents and visitors are ferried across Buka Passage by passenger dinghies.
The island has a historical significance as it used to hold the headquarters of the Japanese Army. From historical accounts, air raids on Solomon Islands were directed from this island. The relic of a Japanese plane sits on top of a cliff facing the passage.
The site of the former military headquarters is now very quiet.
On the same site stands a Japanese Memorial along with a beacon that guides travellers cruising on the passage.
An inscription on the memorial dated August 15, 1984, says: “In Memoriam: Sacred to the soldiers of Japan and other nations who died in the all Solomon Islands during World War II. We mourn brave men, we pray for everlasting world peace, this monument was erected by Japanese ex-servicemen who fought on the battlefields of the all Solomon Islands area.”
Standing by the memorial while enjoying the soft ocean breeze, one can also enjoy a fantastic view of the Buka Passage.
And the seaside hotels and restaurants of Buka Town.
Buka Town is also offers a picturesque view from Sohano’s shore.
Along the shore facing Buka sits a rock called “Tsibu” whose curious shape and precarious position has captured the imagination of local folklore.
The island is inhabited by very religious people. A cross stands on many parts of the island.
One can safely enjoy a leisurely walk around the island and marvel at majestic scenery throughout the trail.
On a clear day, the distant islands and atolls of the autonomous region can be seen from one side of the island.
The local cemetery is shady and well-kept.
Huge trees cover most of the island. This grove is my favorite. Its moss-covered branches strike me as flying dragons.
A lonesome boy sits on a swing dangling from one of the flowery trees.
Just as the short walk was started, it ends with a white cross on sight.