And what a great day of touring. After a sumptuous repast for breakfast, we gathered in the foyer where we met our local guide Bernard and bus driver Joe. Our bus with more than enough seats, and powerful air conditioning served us well.
Venturing again into the Honiara traffic, it was first stop Red Beach where the First US Marine Division landed on 7 August 1942. Other than for a bit of environmental alteration of the sand, the beach has not changed much, the jungle into which the Marines moved, has; it is mostly clear except for a few trees and huts.
Next stop was the AMTRAC graveyard, these rusting hulks assuming an almost eerie presence as trees grow through them. On again, we headed for the site of the Alligator Creek battle and its poignant memorial to 1,400 Japanese soldiers in a common grave. En route passing the nationís palm oil plant and the remains of a Stuart light tank, the vehicle that played such a significant role in the US successes at Tanamgago Island and Gifu, sites we will visit over the next two days.
Lunch at our hotel then on to Bloody or Edsonís Ridge where the prudent deployment of Merit Edsonís Raider Battalion ended Japanese hopes of an assault that would easily take back Henderson field. We drove to the US memorial on Hill 1 and walked to the Jap one on Hill 4. Beyond the Hill 4 memorial that marks the extent of the Japanese incursion we were treated to a quality display of barbed wire detection by the tour leader.
We then walked to the ridge where Sergeant John Bastogne won the Congressional Medal of Honour. The remains of the old fox-holes are still there along with discarded ammunition and M1906 ammunition clips.
Back at the bus Joe had the air conditioning running, appreciated by all after our trek.
A shower and change of shirt and we were ready for great Indian curry. Early to bed, a dawn service tomorrow.