The Giant ‘Avatar’ like Trees of Sohano Island
I was shocked by the size of these huge raintrees on Suhano Island in Buka. These were huge, with massive overhanging branches like something out of a Hollywood movie. No doubt these trees on this historical island must be at leasts 100 yrs old. The giant Suhano Island trees are in the photo below. To give you an idea of the scale of the trees, there is a man, at least 6feet tall standing at the base of the tree on the right.
Can you see him?!!!! …Yes,these trees are huge!
Suhano is a small coral island with limestone cliffs on the Buka Passage. It also has a small patch of mangroves on its eastern tip.
Sohano was an important administration center in the history of Bougainville during the colonial period up until the 1960’s.
It is a beautiful well kept place with lawns, gardens, old cemeteries, old colonial styles houses, giant trees and spectacular views of Buka Passage and the nearby islands from its limestone cliffs.
I spent a day or two walking around the island. It reminded of those old World War II movies where there is a military base on an island where the protagonist is recovering from his wounds and is about to head back into the thick of things…there is a certain nostalgia to it, a feeling of time standing still.
It seems to be the only place where the crisis didn’t destroy.
The provincial health service HQ is located here and there is a primary school full of lively children whose voices echo across the island during recess and lunch.
You will also find an arch shaped white monument dedicated to Japanese and other nation soldiers who died during WWII.
It is on top of the cliff that looks over the passage between Buka Town and Kokopau Town (on the main Bougainville Island) and was erected by Japanese ex Servicemen who served in the all Solomons area.
The plaque on the monument reads;
“In Memoriam Sacred to the memory of the soldier of Japan and other nations who died in the All Solomon Islands Area during World War II. We mourn brave men, we pray for everlasting World Peace. This monument was erected by Japanes Ex-Servicemen who fought on the battle feilds of the All Solomin Islands area.”
A bit sad to think about those who died far from their homes.
There is also a wreck of Japanese fighter a few meters from the monument.
Suhano was a Japanese Seaplane Base during WWII.
Just below the monument is ‘Chebu,’ a rock formation that seems to float on the Buka passage and regarded by locals as being or having a spirit.
There is also a memory of the Bougainville Crisis here….There used to be a barge that operated on the Buka passage, ferrying cars, cargo and people between Buka Town, Kokopau and Suhano.
It was destroyed in the Bougainville Crisis during a BRA operation and only its ruins can be seen at Suhano.
How To Get To Suhano
To get out there, you can just jump on any one of the water taxis (motorized boats) at Buka or Kokopau and for K2 they will drop you there.
Oh yeah,you have to indicated where you want to land on the island simply by pointing.
After wandering around and getting the sights and sounds of Suhano, you can hail one of the passing water taxis simply by beckoning it to you.
Many people grew up here at Suhano since before the Colonial period and I am sure many make the trip back to see the place.
If you ever in Bougainville, check it out and get a photo of yourself next to the giant trees!