The Solomon Islands from West to East

Rennell & Bellona Islands

Images taken by

Brian Taylor

Rennell and Bellona are both inhabited by Polynesians, possibly at the end of the reverse migrations from the eastern Pacific Islands. The people, however, have close affinities with others of the Polynesian Islands ringing the main Solomons (evidenced by my findings of mosquitoes otherwise known only from Sikaiana see this link). Both islands are raised coral atolls. In the case of Bellona, a small island only 10 km long and up to 3 km wide, this is not particularly dramatic although the island rim is the highest area of the island (at around 76 m) and the centre is somewhat swampy. On Rennell, however, it is very dramatic with the rim reaching some 150 m. This was achieved by successive rises of the island, visible as clear steps in the photo from Labagu across Kagava Bay. Rennell also has the largest freshwater lake in the South Pacific, Lake Tegano, some 30 km long and occupying much of the eastern end of the island. An underground link between the lake and the sea at the extreme eastern end had been discovered. The island is about 85 km long and up to 15 km wide, with some 900-plus inhabitants in 1970. Bauxite deposits were exciting international mining interests when I visited there in 1971, although much of the island was covered in tropical forest.

Title: Rennell and Bellona Islands, note the extent of Lake Tegano, the largest freshwater lake in the Pacific

Title: Dawn mist at the Tigoa airstrip, Rennell I., 10 June 1971

Title: The Tigoa to Kagava road, Rennell I., 12 June 1971

Title: View from Labagu across Kagava Bay, Rennell I., 14 June 1971, note uplifted shelves.

Title: The beach at Labagu (Lavagu), Rennell I., 15 June 1971

Title: Morning at Niupani Village, Lake Tegano, Rennell I.,17 June 1971

Title: Evening at Niupani Village, 18 June 1971, Lake Tegano, Rennell I. Note the small platform outrigger canoes, differing from those in Anuta, etc.

Title: The path from Tegano to Tuhugago Beach, Rennell I., 21 June 1971

Title: Tuhugago Beach, Rennell I., 21 June 1971. the cliffs are typical of the island perimeter.

©2000 - Brian Taylor CBiol FIBiol FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.
Visiting Academic in the Department of Life Science, University of Nottingham

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