We were in the Sollies in '98. At that time, some people there thought the Mailaitans were troublemakers. They did take jobs from locals, at a time when they were transitioning from subsistence horticulture and fishing
to letting the Chinese fish
the lagoons for bait fish
What happened was that once the bait fish were taken, the locals didn't have enough to eat. It was obvious that there was a huge problem in the making, in spite of the friendly nature of the islanders to the yachties.
Mailaita is rich in "king" ebony wood, or was at the time. Every one was hungry for currency, and there was little way of obtaining it for the local people. In Rendovo Lagoon
, there were skilled carvers, who sold beautiful, creative work
, some of which we saw for sale
at the QVB (Queen Victoria Building) in Sydney
, at 10 times local Solly prices.
The small Pacific Nations, some of which were cannibals in what they call "heathen times", are really struggling. The tribal system of government
is very different from parliamentary government. The changes come hard.
One morning on our ham net, we caught a Panne Panne from a friend of ours. He had felt secure where he was, but some "Rascals" boarded him, and held his wife and friends at machete point for some hours. No one was hurt, but the incident was so traumatic that they returned to the States and sold their Island Packet
Like I said, the transition period is very difficult.