Owaraha Island (Santa Ana Island) Cruise Port, 2018 and 2019 Cruises to Owaraha Island (Santa Ana Island) | The Cruise Web
 

Owaraha Island (Santa Ana Island) Cruise Port

For diving adventures in the Pacific Ocean, you may find the cruise port of Owaraha Island (also called Owa Raha or Santa Ana) in the Solomon Islands small, but this coral atoll in Makira-Ulawa Province is full of history and natural beauty. The island is also known for preserving its ancient traditions, as seen in handicrafts fashioned by area natives. Owaraha is all of three miles long and three miles wide; it has two main villages called Gupuna (or Ghupuna) and Nafinotoga whose inhabitants share a culture with the small island called Owariki, and Makira, the largest island in the province. Although sea caves in the area date back to around 1280 B.C., the sighting of Owaraha in 1568 by the Spanish navigator Alvaro de Mendana was the first known encounter with Europeans, who called it Santa Ana. Here are some of our favorite experiences when cruising to Owaraha Island:
 
  • Watch brightly-costumed island residents perform traditional dances accompanied by wind and percussion instruments. Singers also perform both serious and upbeat tunes, and you may even get to see a reenactment dance called Aimatawa-Aifonofono. Ancient Polynesian warriors are portrayed as attempting to steal the island's women and children, but are defeated by mighty Melanesian warriors.
     
  • Not far from the dancing, you’ll find plenty of souvenirs to take home, including gorgeous handcrafted wood carvings and other artefacts.
     
  • Anyone fascinated by archaeology should jump at the chance to visit a Spirit House. Here, you'll see offering bowls, reed packets (containing bones, including skulls), and coffins that look like canoes or tuna, designed to hold the bones of their ancestors.
     
  • Thanks to the size of the island and the fact that it's not overrun with tourists, the coral reefs surrounding it are still relatively healthy. Snorkeling here is a delight, both to see the colorful coral and bright fish that live here. You can go out on your own or take a tour in a glass-bottomed boat to view the marine life from above.
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