Between Liapare Island and Vella Lavella, lays an
incredibly beautiful channel bordered by mangrove
with clear turquoise blue water running over sand
and coral. We boated through at night and saw the
eyes of one small crocodile glow in the torch beams.
The following day, after a couple of hours walk to
the closest village on Vella, the BBC croc hunters
learned that quite a few of the crocs can be seen in
a freshwater lake behind the village. Of course the
custom fee to see the lake was rather prohibitive and
had to be re-negociated. Accompanied by a bunch of
locals, the team made it to the lake, an old volcanoe
caldera lifted out of the sea surrounded by thick
forested shores growing on the limestone of the
uplifted coral reef.
Nested in old coral plate, the lake is surrounded by high cliffs.
Lots of fossils shells (young
fossils) are scattered through the forest and also
a pile of human skulls, remnants of the time of the
head hunters. (Not longer than a century ago, Solomon
islanders used to cuts head of enemy tribes members,
but I don't know the details of that custom).
Access to the custom hulls was agreed upon after long
deliberations and an extra fee which suddenly made
local villager Joel remember where the skull site was!