Madang Update

16 June 2013: We’ve now been in Madang for 6 months and thought an update for other cruisers may be of interest.

Published 10 years ago, updated 4 years ago

Hermits: © SY Thyme

We entered PNG from Jayapura, West Papua clearing in at Vanimo, a short 30 odd nm hop against the current. While it was a little bit of a wait onboard due to a large number of commercial vessels, it was friendly and uneventful.

From Vanimo, we headed offshore to enjoy the beautiful Ninigo Reefs and Hermit Islands. So much has been said about this area and we can only keep nodding our head in agreement – Fantastic! Amazing!

After dragging ourselves away from island hospitality, we sailed directly to Madang anchoring off the Madang Club on Christmas Eve. The Madang Club was very friendly offering assistance wherever possible. We found it to be safe and the club has recently held the National Fishing titles, a big success with many large boats attending. Their floating pontoon has been upgraded which smaller yachts could tie up to with permission. They have showers, toilets, fresh water, a good swap library, icy cold beer, a small bistro and is within easy walking distance of the market, supermarkets, and the local resort.

Madang is a very pretty area with numerous anchorages available in the large harbour which is safe all year round. It is also a clearance harbour with friendly officials. I also did my visa extension from here but you do need to send your passport to Port Moresby which carries risk. Outside the Madang Club can get a little rolly during the northerlies but there are plenty of options further in.

There is our yacht, Thyme, and another in the harbour and most Sunday’s we have a day out followed by a race home affectionately referred to as the Madang Yacht Club Sunday races.

There is no shortage of places to explore on the water. The beautiful Sek Harbour has some amazing dive sites. My first dive off Pig Island I saw both a manta ray and a hammerhead. There is a lot of healthy coral and a feast of small critters for macro loves. Many World War II wrecks and others are also interesting. The offshore game fishing is great with many records broken this season. A visit to Karkar or Kranket can also be nice. Catching up with the friendly locals at the bar would soon see you armed with waypoints and information. There are also local tour operators that can help with seeing some of the amazing sites out of town. For eating out there are some nice resorts that do lunch and dinner – an afternoon overlooking the harbour by the swimming pool may be that much-needed treat.

Saying all this, there is a small element of troublemakers and with any travel in PNG, you must remain vigilant at all times. We always lock everything, we have sensor lights installed, we keep our eyes open to trouble and we do not walk around at night. Another point to note is women should be sensitive with their dress and short or skimpy attire could attract unwanted attention.

Supply Essentials:

– a number of good grocery stores, albeit a little expensive compared to Aussie but well stocked including excellent quality meats

– Alcohol take-away sales are available from some supermarkets Mon-Thu only

– Town supply water readily available and good for drinking

– Large and friendly market for fresh food and fish

– 2 fuel docks

– 2 Slipways – a little out of price range but if in need…

– Cooking Gas, available but is very expensive

– Hardware stores carrying basic supplies

– Super cheap clothes at Kalibobo to stock up for the islands

– We use Digicel for phone and internet but the internet outside of the main cities is very slow and expensive. There is some internet available at the local resorts – again expensive.

We hope you find this information helpful. We do have a blog site – and if you would like more information please contact us from here.

Happy Sailing,

Simon and Amanda

SY Thyme

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