11/06/2017 Baungnung, 144nm ESE, Anchor in 6m, sand, Cell 2G. After our experience the night before with the local drunks we were pretty keen to getaway in the morning and headed for Nauna Island about 26nm away. The idea being this would break up the trip to New Hanover. Its a pretty small Island and the people are said to be friendly. Watusi had an anchorage from another blog but there was no way I could get to that spot I would have been in 2m of water probably 10m off the drying reef. After wondering around looking for a spot a bit like a dog does before they sit (i.e. in circles) it was either too deep or to near the rocks, so I elected to push on. Normally I’m the one anchoring nearer the reef but this time Watusi decided the spot he had was fine and so he stayed.
In the past where the destination resulted in non sailable line due to the wind direction and being that gentleman ( I herd you laugh) don’t go against the wind, I have had a much better experience by sailing to the next nearest place that I can actually get a sailing line to. So this was my plan when I departed Nauna. There wasn’t a lot of scope because ahead of us was mainly open water, But Mussau was ENE, Emirau was pretty much E, and New Hanover ESE. After trying each of them for 10-20 minutes of course the gods made sure none of them were going to work but with more Northerly in wind, VMG ( Velocity Made Good) to Hanover was the best.
The trip across was pretty uneventful, but the moon hung around for a bit as we motored probably 70% of the way with sail’s pretty much hanging there like laundry, and only really managed to get some wind from the South towards the end.
As we crept into anchor at Baungnung a guy in canoe came out to welcome us. In the centre of the bay is a 30m whole and our first anchor attempt we must have dropped it on the edge, so keep south. It is nice to meet local people in there canoes and chat, especially when there is no language barrier, but after 27 odd hours I wasn’t all that keen.
But they were all very nice generally helpful and weren’t looking for something for nothing. These things are a two way street and I guess in some respects I had a bit of an epiphany. We had asked about real potatoes, rather than sweet potatoes, and a couple of other not so readily available vegetables and were told they don’t have any here. Which we didn’t think unusual because potatoes are a little rare and expensive. We latter discovered they really did have them, but not many and Kim’s comment (to me) was they are liars….. Well, that may be true but we are no better, how many times have you said we have no smokes, or beer when asked. I personally tend to try and say we don’t have enough sorry, and offer something else.
Once again land ownership was stated early on in the conversation but no one has asked for money as yet. Many of the older blogs and cruising guides for the Pacific and here will talk about asking for permission to anchor and to go onto the beach. This never seemed expected when I did Solomon’s, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and perhaps the tourist side or number of yachts has changed this. But here, now I’m generally asking if its ok when someone comes or says they are a land owner. What will happen when/if they ask for money will be interesting as one owner in Manus already warned us that if someone approaches us, looking for money saying they are the land owner, you give them my name and tell them “no, I am the owner and said you can stay for free”.
13/06/2017 Manne/ Patitaun, 46nm East, Anchor in 8m, 2G. The swell on our passage across was coming from NE and SE, so the anchorage was still getting the SE swell making the night a little rollie and hence we left in the morning heading for Kavieng. Watusi was on there way and needing a bit of break from Canoe borage they took a night at Manne just South Patitaun and we joined them for a quiet night. No Canoe’s was nice for a change.
14-30/06/2017 Kavieng/Nusa Resort, 9nm NE, Anchor in 10m, Sand, 2G Cell service.
Nusa resort has small lagoon/duck pond on the SE corner of the resort. You wouldn’t want to enter there in darkness or when you cant see the reef unless you have decent Google images overlayed. The Lagoon offers further protection although while we were there the weather was pretty quiet. It was also far enough away from Kavieng that we never got hassled by local canoes and yet near enough we could take our tender across to Kavieng markets, or if proffered Nusa Resort would take you over and bring you back for 20 Kena.
They also do airport runs to and from and many of the typical resort functions, from diving fishing kayaking etc. My guess is if you ask and its doable they will try to accommodate you.
Unlike many other places Nusa was also responsive. When I emailed Shaun before we came, I had a response within 12 hours, plus they do actually have and use there VHF radio’s which also makes life easier. We ate there a few times and shared a few bears which was very nice and exchanged our stories. The prices in PNG are generally expensive, i.e. similar to Ozy in many area’s, but in the end I think the prices at Nusa were quite reasonable, especially given the food was good, the bar was well stocked and the setting/environment was a nice mix of local art carvings history with a bit of western twist.
I checked into customs at the end of the main road leading from the beach, which is all that was expected. All very simple, and made easier when the girl who checked us in was well into the Beatle-nut. Did a bit of shopping but don’t get your hopes up this place is not big and perhaps arguably just a little better stocked than Vanimo. The ATM spat out another 1000 Kena which doesn’t last long, the internet was topped up, another fishing lure acquired, oh the score Fish 10 Alan 0. Got some other essentials like chippies and….. no didn’t buy liquid essentials…. but hey the bread here is not like cake, they only had white, but at least they didn’t tip the sugar bowl into it. Ken I looked at a Ham wondered if it would be like other parts of Asia where they are obviously confused and think Ham should be a sweet….. anyway we agreed to go halves and live in hope. It paid off and was a very nice smoked Ham.
On our way from Manus to Kavieng we had come down the west coast of New Hanover as I expect the swell to come from the east and the passage on the east coast between Tsoilaunung, Tsalui and New Hanover looked messy with lots of shallows and plenty of places to get into trouble. However with a bit of local Knowledge and a real chart from Luke at Nusa we changed our minds.
16/06/2017 Tsoilaunng, 24nm NE, anchor in 4m, sand 2G. Once again we pretended to sail and may as well have been a cruiser. Ken of course caught his usual 1 or 2 fishes and my record remains un tarnished at Sweet FA.. But I have resolved to fix this over the coming month. The trip up was a little nervy as depth of water is all over place and can go from 20 odd meters to 5 or 6 quickly with very little sign of change and we had been following the shipping route…. well I thought we were anyway. I anchored as close in as I could to get out of the main stream but it didn’t help. Another long banana boat came buy not long after dark, Friday night and they also had a few tooooooo many. Probably 8-10 in the boat going home would be my guess. They wanted to come aboard but weren’t as pushy/pissed and I guess a couple of the other passengers were quite sober. I guess given shall we say I was not dressed for entertaining hardly dressed at all, when I stood up from cockpit, that was probably enough to scare anyone away and in the end after asking for smokes, beers, mixers for there whisky they departed. This of course did nothing to help Kim’s confidence so I stayed up till around 01:30 2:00am setup my usual traps and went to bed.
17/06/2017 Mossuang 12nm NNE, Anchor in 12m sand 2G. As I crept my way out in the morning and we slowly headed NNE, more and more I was convinced something was wrong with our course. Even on the real paper chart which matched 99% to my Navionics as we approached head-on to a reef it suddenly dawned on me. Although according to the chart I was on the shipping line and the path should have been clear the chart must need off set. I stopped and called Watusi, I’m going to check and adjust the offset so don’t run up my bum. Sure enough after I moved the chart offset all of a sudden I was not on the shipping route any more and the reef that lay in front of me in the real world was also now in front of me in the electronic world. All these die hard paper chart guys who think paper charts are the answer are like financial advisors pre GFC, had all the answers but don’t really have clue. The picture below tells all.
Anyway having finally untangled that mess, things went a lot smoother, and all of a sudden we had mostly 20m of water…..but still Poseidon through us one last curve ball as we approached Mossuang I had confidently plotted my way around 2.7 and 3.7m reef and was happily in 12-15m slowing down when the depth alarm went off screaming 2.0 under the keel and once again Screensaver was thrown into reverse with a trade off between time to slow down, potential damage, and to many rev’s in reverse does nothing for the captains mood. Fortunately we passed over it at 1.2m under our keel. This third spot is not on the paper chart either just for the record, my Google image of this area was not good and the sun what there was of it was more or less above us, but we could not see it even having passed over it. A couple of days later when we left, it was clearly visible.
We scored some Pastry and mince triangles in Kavieng so this afternoons drinks went down very well, with our new Ham as well. All be a beer is costing about $4.00au a can whihc is about a 150% increase on what we have been paying for the last few years, it went down very nicely I must say.
The locals came out to greet us and of course the land owner statement was in the first 5 min of conversation. First the son and then later Dad came to say hi on his way home from church, so we figured it was probably safe enough here.
19/06/2017 Tsolok, 5nm E, anchor in 5m, sand 2g Cell. The guy here we met has seen a few hard times, lost his daughter, first wife… … and well now is into everything to help the community and a little art painting along the way. But what he has inspired and is going on here with no help from the government, and money for materials come from him and local people is really quite.
They building a new church, a town meeting hall kitchen, tables chairs, water collection. He sells some of his paintings, hauls timber which they buy about 3nm on the canoe paddling to do all this
Some thought and redesign to His and Hers toilet which is a more enhanced version of the normal bit in the ground with some rocks, PVC piping and a strategic pit depth in conjunction with the tide water level was a new twist. Leaving aside his and hers are unusual in these places
20/06/2017 Kulibang, 2.5nm NE, anchor in 6m sand 2g Cell Service. Most of the inner Islands are quite shallow, so you end up anchoring a fair way off the beach. While it might look the part and beach is very nice more often than not thick seaweed resides in the first metre and one needs to get a long way off the beach to go for a swim.
A few years ago now I purchased a couple of small blocks ( Pullies for you landlubbers) They were for crosstree flag line. Malaysia have this thing that there flag must be higher than the ships flag… ah ok…. not hard for Screensaver right now as the ships flag is at one with water and doesn’t exist. Anyway log story short it was time for Kim to earn some strips… get up there girl and put these on.
A couple of local guys probably in there mid to late 20’s came buy asking for some yeast and or sugar. We were told they were have a bit of party in school for the village’s were doing some baking etc. All sound pretty ok to me so we gave them some yeast, but we were low on sugar. So we asked when and where, with the intention to go over later and crash the party. A couple of hours later we went over to Watusi to pick up Ken and Katrina and head to beach. I asked Ken if they came for sugar and he said yep…. you know what they are dong of course !!!! …. ah no cooking I guess for locals…… Ah Alan wake up…. boys yeast sugar come one…… ok so I never made home brew and the thought just never crossed my mind.
Anyway we went in there, saw the head teacher and some other locals as this “Party” was to be held in the school grounds etc, and sure enough, not one sole new of any part or calibration and nothing was going on at the school….. Ok they got me this time.
21/06/2017 Kavieng Nusa Resort On the way back a local banana boat, with about 10 or so people waved as we went round one of the outer reef’s and of course we waved back, nothing unusual. As we got further passed the waving became more frantic and two small container was held up. They were out of petrol and drifting towards the reef. I wasn’t sure if I could get near enough to them initially but we made it. I in fact didn’t have much to give them myself, but they got what I had (less than 5L 2 stroke), and off they went. I wondered how far 4 or 5L would of 2 stroke would go in a 50hp outboard that was probably 4 stroke.
Shaun helped us refuel Screensaver in preparation for out departure in the next day or so. Once again Screensaver burnt up less Diesel than Watusi. However I have already used more fuel so far in these past 6 months than I use in year, and pretty much at twice the cost…… not happy.
Our next leg is a long one so rather than do an over nighter I elected to set off around midnight or 1:00am. Leaving Kavieng in darkness we had two basic choices go North or go South and around to west and out. Exiting North should be fine in the day, and if you know where your going probably at night to. But the southern option just provided more depth, and wider spaces. None the less I did a dummy run during the day which you can see in the dead end track above, so I could see and save the track that I would latter use to follow my way out.
People talk about getting the timing currents and winds right for East PNG route as we are doing. Technically we have it wrong, with wind and current against us. Personally though I suspect this would have made little difference (to this point) as there is next to no wind in these latitudes, never mind it being in the forward of 90’ . Screensaver will actually sail in 10-12 knts if the wind is forward of 90’ but it will not sail at all with that little aft of 90. As for the current I suspect that has added 0.5knt against us on average. So if you come this way expect to burn lots of fuel and pay for it.