New Rally Cairns to Louisiades Archipelago, PNG - Entry List Closed
Inaugural Louisiades (PNG) Rally - Strong Entries and Host Interest
EcoSustainAbility launched the inaugural Louisiades Rally early this year. Entries have now closed with 28 yachts leaving Cairns (Queensland, Australia) in mid-September to cross the Coral Sea to the remote Louisiades Archipelago in Papua New Guinea.
Director of EcoSustainAbility, Guy Chester said: "With the first rally we thought a modest number of yachts to this remote area would be best. We have had strong interest with many additional entries not accepted."
"The islands we are visiting are exceptionally remote, with subsistence communities having no communication. We have chartered the local hospital's launch to run around the islands to ensure communities are ready to host the yachts. Events planned include a skull cave visit, traditional canoe regatta, sing sings, mumu (inground, whole pig BBQ), traditional weapons contest, school and hospital visits and a sport days with a local mission school."
The event was planned with a visit last year and after the recent local level government meeting of newly elected councillors, has strong support from the local community. Guy Chester said: "Apart from very modest cash incomes from beche-der-mer and copra, the villagers have no income. We have worked with village chiefs and Councillors to ensure we create a sustainable approach, paying for services and events. We will also be taking many goods for donations and trading and raising money for the mission hospital. In such an untouched paradise, we are conscious of ensuring we have a net benifit to the community and minimise social and environmental impacts."
It is hoped this inaugural Rally will become an annual event. The 28 yachts visiting with the Rally is more than visited the area in 2008. Rally organisers are specially flying in a Customs officer to allow the event (since Misima's status as a port of entry was withdrawn). Guys says: "Ultimately we will let the local community decide if this year is the success hoped for by all. We will review the yachties and communities perspectives in our plans for future years".