insights from the ultimate cruising team

How much do you know about our neighbour: Solomon Islands

Lying around 2,000 km to the northeast of Australia, you’ll find the enigmatic Solomon Islands. These islands have a tumultuous history. They’re idyllically beautiful with long stretches of white sand beaches, clear waters and incredible diving, which makes it hard to imagine that they were the site of some of the most bitter fighting during WWII. Or that they saw armed conflict from 1998 to 2003. The good news is that the Solomon Islands have settled a lot in recent years and are now featuring in more cruise itineraries.

Let’s take a look at 10 quick facts about the Solomon Islands:

• Solomon Islands are made up of six main islands and over 900 smaller islands.

• While English is the official language, only about 2% of the population actually speak it. There are around 70 local languages spoken instead.

• The population is around 602,000.

• The islands are a double row of volcanic islands and coral atolls.

• In WWII, the Japanese occupied the islands during 1942, until the US Marine Corps arrived in August 1942 resulting in bitter fighting for the next three years.

• From 1998-2003 there was armed conflict between natives of Guadalcanal and settlers from Malaita Island. Thanks to an Australian-led peacekeeping mission, order was restored.

• The world’s largest saltwater lagoon, Marovo Lagoon, is found in New Georgia.

• East Rennell is the largest raised coral atoll in the world.

• Education is not compulsory.

• Watch your head! There’s a strong history of headhunting in the Solomon Islands and, rumour has it, it continued up until around 40 years ago! There is a small island – Skull Island – that contains a headhunting shrine… complete with the skulls of chiefs of the local village along with the chief’s victims!

A fascinating place to visit, the Solomon Islands make a great stop for those interested in culture, history and diving. It’s the perfect match with Papua New Guinea to really experience the different cultures and ethnicities in this incredible part of the world.

To find out more, or to take a look at cruise options calling on the Solomon Islands and/or Papua New Guinea, go to our packages page by clicking here (please note Papua and Solomon Islands with Ponant for 2020 is sold out feel free to contact us for waitlist and other options) Or you can speak to one of our Ultimate Cruising experts by requesting a call here.