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Cruising news from Milne Bay Province in Papua New Guinea

By doina — last modified Dec 03, 2003 02:55 PM

Published: 2003-12-03 14:55:48
Countries: Papua New Guinea

Coming up From Cairns, Australia we cleared at Samarai. The anchorage is a bit tricky with a strong tidal current at springs, we found the best place near the buouy. Clearing in was easy, customs, immigration and quarantine is all in one person:Felix. It´s important that the yacht and ALL persons on board have visas before arriving. We paid 50 Kina for Quarantine and a small amount for Customs. Clearing out of the country is free.

Samarai is a very small island, you can walk around it in 20 minutes. There is a small market where you land in the dinghy, and a small store. You can get ice, and Felix will show you where you can get a shower. There is international telephone connection at the power plant. China Strait offers many nice anchorages, the big mission church on the island just west of Samarai is beautiful. A very secure anchorage with only a little current is Dagadaga Bonalua Island (Pearl Island) 2 n.m. east of Samarai. Don´t enter at night because there are many nets from the pearl farm. A visit to the farm is very interesting. The locals are very welcoming, you can land your dinghy in front of Cecilias house. Every Friday there are traditional dress shows in the local school.

If you want to see remains hidden in the jungle from the second world war go to Kana Kopi Bay on the mainland. It´s a very secure bay and the fishing is good along the mangroves. It´s also a good starting off point for the Killerton Islands. The best anchorage here is the most easterly island. Enter betwen the big island and the small mangrove island and anchor in the break in the barrier reef. We used this anchorage to go to Alotau by local truck because I did not want to tack all the way back. When approaching Sewa Bay on Normanby Island it´s vital to spot the 2 small rocks that are located 2 miles from the entrance to the bay.

We anchored in the south easterly part of the big bay. Ask for Fred Francisco, he is the perfect guide and a very nice person. He took us up in the mountains and we hiked a whole long day to see the old rock carvings. He showed us old cannibal sacrifice stone mounts, and for cruisers interested in birds this place is pure paradise.

Sailing up to Ferguson it´s best to keep close to the coast, 1-2 n.m. because there are LOTS of reefs further out. An other option is to go offshore. There are very interesting thermal pools and hot springs on Ferguson, you can visit them anchored in Gomwa Bay. There is a very secure anchorage at Salamo, the most eastern side of Gomwa Bay. There are saltwater crocs here! There are some small stores in Salamo and a big market. Dobu Island is very beautiful and has a good anchorage in front of the old mission place. The people here are also very friendly and welcoming. I can recommend a hike round the island, it takes 4-5 hours. The view from the top of the volcano is superb.

Trobriand Islands is a fascinating place. The best anchorage is at Kaibola Village at the north east tip, ask for LUCAS. He is a very helpful man and will assist you in everything. If you have questions, ask him. He can arrange sing-sing kastom dances and will help you to meet the best master carvers from the bush. If you fancy lobster for dinner and you can´t get them by yourselves just ask Tom, relative of Lucas. Crew exchange is easy here, there are flights 3-4 days a week. There is quite good shopping in the "big town", Losuia. The only problem is to get there! It´s a 25 km walk and trucks are a rare sight indeed. Getting back to the yacht is easy, you can get a ride back for 60 kina. Visiting the Trobriand Islands was the highlight of our cruise to PNG this season!

Carsten Hede Rasmussen, s/v CAMAS