Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Arrived in Cairns

The first half of the passage went well. While the conditions were quiet, we headed due south (upwind) to improve our wind angle when the wind increased later, as forecast. We sailed south for 36 hours and went 200 miles.
The wind increased when forecast, but then kept on increasing as we received forecast after forecast. So, the second half of the passage was pretty awful! We had winds from 25-30 kts and 8-10' seas. Our dog-leg course put much of this aft of the beam, but there was a lot of it, and also at times the seas were huge and confused.
So, overall, one of our worse passages ever.
Funnily enough, most of our passages into Australia have been like this - calm at first, roaring at the end!
We've cleared and anchored and we'll wait here until the conditions are suitable for heading south. As soon as we can, we'll go pig-out at an Australian Supermarket!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Headed for Cairns

We have left Bramble Haven and are underway for Cairns. We stayed four nights in Bramble Haven and made four dives. The last one was this morning, before we left, on the superb wall just outside the lagoon.
The passage will take us four or five days.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bramble Haven

Last night we motor-sailed overnight around 90 miles southeast to Bramble Haven. This gets us into the Louisades Archipelago proper, instead of just hanging around in Milne Bay at the southeast tip of PNG. A second reason for coming east is to gain a better wind angle when we leave for Cairns, which will be in the next week or so.
Before heading this way, we made a final visit to Alotau to buy provisions and fuel, and a stop off at Samarai for yet another dive on the wharf - 6 dives there now, in total.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Fourth week in PNG

We left Samarai and headed 30 miles northeast to Nuakata Island. We stayed there three nights and made three dives, one at a sand island around 3 miles from our anchorage - it was flat calm that day. This area has a Marine Management Plan and we met the local administrator who showed us a chart of the various areas - some designated no-take, some customary fishing methods, etc. The closest reef to us was a no-take area and we were only permitted to dive there if accompanied; we just went further afield.
After three nights we headed north to Normamby Island, part of the D'Entrecasteux group of islands. We've been here two nights so far and have made two dives on a coral patch just outside the bay where we are anchored.
We're finding all our diving in PNG to be really good with excellent visibility, lots of fish, and always something unusual. Sometimes current and surface conditions have made the dives more challenging, however. Our best dives were the five we made under the Samarai Wharf, an area particularly plagued by tidal currents.