Sunday, September 25, 2011

Three Weeks in PNG


We've been here now three weeks to the day.
Since we cleared in, we've just wandered between a few anchorages, as weather permits, and done some diving.
We're currently back at Samarai, our third visit. The best diving has been the old wharf right here. Samarai is the former provincial capital and everything is now falling down - the wharfs in particular. That makes great fish habitat and good diving. We've dived the wharf four times, so far; once at night.
Two liveaboard dive boats have dived it in our presence, including Peter Hughes' Star Dancer - in which we visited Rabaul and New Britain in 2000.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Cleared into PNG

The Customs guy at Samarai was out of town - and nobody knew when he'd be back - so we had to go on to Alotau, 25 miles away. After a second night at Samarai, we headed into Milne Bay towards Alotau. Milne Bay is a deep rectangular bay, 6 miles wide by 20 miles deep. We spent a night at the village of Waga Waga on the south side and then motored across the bay to Alotau on the north side.
We knew the anchorage there would be poor and exposed, but we didn't know how bad it was. We had to use our mud anchor and we still drifted dangerously into the shallows. We did not spend the night but went back across the bay to Waga Waga once we had completed our business.
We finally cleared in after I tracked Customs down to the town wharf and then brought both Quarantine and Health Officials out to the boat.
Alotau is a very busy town with many shops and a large market. The harbor is full of fishing vessels, and the town is full of people. There is a constant long line in each of the three banks, and also at their ATMs.
We visited again today before we headed east but decided not to anchor. Ginger drifted in Dos Gatos while I dinghied in to go shopping! We're now stocked up with provisions, fuel and Kina.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Samarai, Papua New Guinea

We have arrived safely at the island of Samarai in the southeast of Papua New Guinea.
It was a fairly uneventful passage. We left Tetepare (Solomon Islands) around 4pm Wednesday. For the first 24 hours we had little wind but a large southeasterly swell. In the next 24 hours, the swell died down and we had enough wind to fly the spinnaker. Thereafter we mainly motor-sailed with the jib. We dropped anchor at Samarai 8am Sunday.
Samarai is a small island that used to be the provincial capital. That's why there's a customs guy here. We'll clear in Monday and see what supplies are available here. The old wharf looks like it may be worth a dive!