and Grant Kelly, Custodians of Uepi Island
Kelly's suggested best
The Russells: May Island.
Uepi: Uepi Point.
Munda: Custom Shark Cove.
Gizo: Grand Central Station.
Gizo: Tao Maru.
Munda: Shark Point.
Central Province: Twin Tunnels.
Tulagi: RM Ward (deep destroyer).
Uepi: Point to Point across channel.
Kiche: Wilderness Lodge.
in the Solomon Islands
and Grant Kelly live in a stunningly beautiful part
of the world, Uepi Island in the Morovo Lagoon, and
they are determined to keep it that way.
pair own the Uepi
Island Resort - a low-key operation
of six spacious bungalows, two units and two guest rooms
where 20 guests “is considered to be a full house” -
and are committed to the environment having dedicated
a large part of our lives to protecting it.
also have a commitment to local people from the lagoon’s
“We operate with the locals. Give them all sorts of
50 villagers work at Uepi Island Resort on weekly rotations
of 25 staff a week. The money they earn is a major support
for their villagers and families who live 20 minutes
away at Chubikopi, or half-an-hour away at Vakabo.
it isn’t just jobs, the Kellys buy every bit of local
produce and back the very skillful local carvers by
helping them sell their exquisite work.
take no commissions and maximise the potential sales
for the islanders by organising the carving market on
the days when the resort is catering for the largest
number of guests.
the carvers are grateful then they don’t necessarily
says “The people of Morovo lagoon don't have a word
is not part of the culture. It is a culture of obligation.
If you live in a village you are obliged to share.
are considered to be part of the village and are expected
places take all the profits and that's that. We share
the wealth of this village. Providing as much employment
as possible and supporting the locals by buying goods,
providing health services and education.”
Kellys feed their workers, clothe them and their families,
and make sure their health needs are met. The cost of
emergency treatment is also covered by the couple.
tobacco and alcohol are banned for the island’s workers
because of problems that have occasionally arisen in
example is that many smoking workers would often spend
their pay on cigarettes for themselves, their families
and relatives and so it would actually cost them money
to be working on Uepi. “There are no cigarettes here
or tobacco now. We provided patches to help them.”
2013 the Kellys introduced a no-smoking rule for all
public places on the island.
couple, lifelong divers, are fiercely protective of
their environment and will take on anything that threatens
the beauty of the lagoon, whether it be logging incursions
or dealing with what they see are corrupt politicians.
are also determined to help young people in the villages
and pay for children to be educated.
are 160 students at high schools because of us,” Jill
these kids would never go to school.”
and Grant allocate scholarships according to village
listened to them talk about their place in the life
of Morovo you know this is not a need to be the biggest
fish in the lagoon, but a generous desire to do good
where they can and improve the lives of those around
Jill says “I live a beautiful life. Does it make me
you know for certain that neither one really cares about