Viru Harbor, New Georgia Island.
Clipper Odyssey passed the Russell Islands to port during the night, then steered west, rounding the reef line off Vangunu and turning north into Blanche Channel.
Track chart Viru Harbor Viru Harbor Viru Harbor Rendova Munda Rendova Ferguson Passage Ferguson Passage Plum Pudding Island Plum Pudding Island Plum Pudding Island Plum Pudding Island Blackett Strait Kolombangara

Soon after daybreak we entered landlocked Viru Harbor. Ashore, we found a lovely village, where schoolchldren greated us with singing and where we found some of the finest carvings and artwork of the trip for sale.

Continuing northwest to round Rendova, we could see the Munda shore guarded by a reef line as the channel narrowed to less than two miles. Passing the former PT boat base at Rendova Harbor, we skirted Vanavona Island and Lagoon and turned north into Ferguson Passage. A rain squall and stiff north breeze threatened to obscure all vision but once we caught sight of Plum Pudding Island, we never lost it, turning to port into Blackett Strait and immediately again into a narrow passage through the reefs.

When the ship was anchored in deep water, we disembarked into the Zodiacs for an afternoon on Plum Pudding Island. Many jumped overboard in the 80° water to swim ashore a la the crew of PT-109 in 1943.

It seemed the entire island could fit on a football field, an easy walk-around. We put on snorkels and swim fins and spent the rest of the day floating over the reef on the south side of the island, with all its coral and marine life, and over the deep blue abyss beyond.

One last look to the north showed the storm clearing and Kolombangara emerging out of the gray across Blackett Strait, accented by a rainbow. (continued)