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Offshore New Ireland: Cruising the Tabar Islands

By Ludvig, Linda, Lovis and Otto on S/Y Mary — last modified Sep 24, 2012 02:05 PM
Ludvig, Linda, Lovis and Otto on S/Y Mary report that these are among their favourite islands in the whole Pacific.

Published: 2012-09-24 14:00:00
Countries: Papua New Guinea

The scenic Tabar Islands outside New Ireland in northeastern Papua New Guinea are among our favourite islands in the whole Pacific. There are three main islands and several islets. Hardly any yachts come here, but the people are very friendly and welcoming and there are several good anchorages to choose from. Probably many more than mentioned below. Just ask the locals and they will show you the way. Most people understand English, but some are too shy to speak so be patient and you will be rewarded. Traditions are very strong in the area, and the people are happy to share their culture with visitors.

Maragon anchorage, Simberi:  S02 37,42 E151 56 73
This anchorage, protected for winds from NE-SE,  is located just inside the pretty little Marwiu Island, on the west coast of Simberi Island. We entered from north and never had less than five meter depth, but were told that it is also possible to enter from the south. Drop anchor in 10-15 meter sand between the islet and the long reef which extends from land all along the western shore.  Holding is excellent. There is a nice village ashore with very friendly people. Dingy landing on the village side is difficult in low water due to the reef, but there is suppose to be a clear channel though the reef half a mile further north.  If you are interested to see traditional malangan carvings just ask around in the village. There is also a gold mine on the other side of Simberi. It can be visited by car, but we never went. Marwiu Island is great for a BBQ, swimming or snorkelling.

Teripax anchorage, Big Tabar: S02 52,17 E151 57,06
This anchorage is very scenic and perfectly protected from NE-S. We were here in strong southeasterlies and no swell was coming in. The approach is easy from the west, just stay well off the shore and head straight for the anchorage. We dropped our anchor in 10 meter sand. No corals and good holding. There is a small and lovely little village ashore. Have a seat on the benches under the big tree in the village centre and enjoy the relaxed and friendly atmosphere. There are no cars on this island. We were told that we were the first yacht ever to anchor here, and the people were very welcoming. The children filled our dingy with lots of coconuts and pomelo every time we went ashore, without ever asking for anything in return.  This is our favourite anchorage in the Tabar Islands.

Cigarri gari harbour, Big Tabar: S02 50,90 E151 57,48
This anchorage is completely surrounded by mangroves, and very protected from all wind directions. We anchored in 15 meter mud. Good holding. The channel is deep and entry is easy in good light. We found our C-map charts to be surprisingly correct. The anchorage is very peaceful and it is a great joy to listen to all the jungle sounds in the morning. We were here in the dry season, and there were no mosquitoes what so ever. A crocodile lives in the bay, but it is not interested in humans according to the few people who are restoring the old plantation ashore. There is no village here, but we got visited by two ladies from the village on the opposite side of the channel who offered some coconuts, pomelo and fish for trading. There is a nice 60 minutes track to the Teripax village on the west coast.

Mabua anchorage, Tatau: S02 48,3 E151 59,4 E
This anchorage is close to the largest settlement in Tabar Islands, inside the island of Mabua on the southeast coast of Tatau. We did not go here, since the entry just north of Mabua island is open to SE trades. But the entry is supposed to be easy with care, and the anchorage well sheltered. There is a small hospital in the village.

Ludvig and Linda are cruising with their 2 children Lovis (age 5) and Otto (age 3) on S/Y Mary. Read their blog at

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