Papua New Guinea Cruising News 2004

Published 18 years ago, updated 4 years ago

Louisiade Islands

Duchateau Islands: coming up from Australia there is no need, in normal trade wind conditions, to enter at Duchateau Entrance. Enter close west of Pana bobai Ana Island and anchor very close to the beach on the NW side of the little island. In here there is a break in the reef and the small lagoon is wonderfully calm with no current. Only 100 meters further out you will be rolling miserably in the big swell and cross current. You need good light. Entrance to Panasia is easy in good light, course 240° M, watch out for a few reefs and coral heads. Anchor close to the cliffs near the little beach. It´s uninhabited but you will soon get a visit from Little Panasia. Beautiful place! Riman Bay, Moturina Island is a safe anchorage but don´t anchor too close to the eastern side of the bay because of a deep coral head that fouls the anchor chain. There is a nice walk to the big village, the schoolmaster is very friendly and has a little guestbook for you to sign. Shopping is difficult, we found the best place in a village on the SE side of the island. Bagaman is very popular with cruising sailors, good anchorage in the eastern half of the northern double bay. You will soon get a visit from chief Gulo, he will bring his very interesting guestbook. This year there was a saltwater croc in the mangrove area! If the wind is not too strong there is a beautiful anchorage in Blue Lagoon (Kiwi Kiwi Lagoon), easy entering. If the wind gets too strong sail the few miles to Pana Numara Island, good anchorage. Most cruisers take the Wuri Wuri Pass on their way to Misima, I have found the best course just west of the little island that marks the beginning of the eastern side of the pass. Try and hit slack water, in strong wind against the tide the pass is VERY dangerous!. Nothing new in Misima, except the goldmine has closed down and there are now 4 saltwater crocs in the harbour! Graham is a friendly quarantine officer, we had an interesting excursion in his car all along the beautiful north coast(we paid for the fuel).

Alcester Island: There is an anchorage halfway along the north coast in a little bay with a small village. The bay is deep with coral bottom, but safe. Very few yachts come here. The locals were very friendly and showed us their interesting island. We saw fascinating bagi and mwali kula shell items in the village. We found old human bones and skulls from their wartime with Woodlark (less than 100 years ago), they were all cannibals.

Madau Island: Area not surveyed so very careful sailing!, We tried to find a pass into the lagoon, but the barrier reef just goes on and on. I anchored on the NW side of the island, just outside the barrier reef. Excellent snorkeling. At ± 3hours HW you can get across the reef in the dinghy into a fantastic lagoon. The locals had never seen a sailing boat before, dim dims are a very rare sight here! But again they were very friendly and helpful and took us all over the place. On the beach, I saw 5 of the most wonderful Kula canoes I have seen in the area. All with beautifully carved lagims and tabuya and decorated with lots of the white eggshell Ovula ovum. The mangrove swamp is alive with BIG saltwater crocs!

Gawa Island: Because of southerly wind I anchored on the NE side on a small sand plateau. Check your anchor(s), because the bottom drops vertically away 100 meters behind your yacht. In an SE wind move to the NW side. To visit the village you have to climb 200 meters vertically up the cliffside. Again we only found friendly people and bought some fine woodcarvings in ebony.

Kitava Island: We had strong SSE winds and could not anchor behind small Uratu island so we anchored halfway up the NW side of the island, very calm. Later we found a nice anchorage nearly at the top end of the NW side in a little bay where there is a break in the barrier reef. Moses took us all over his beautiful island, we were the first yacht this year.

Kiriwina Island: It was nice to revisit Kaibola Village and see my friend Lucas. He told me that this year there had been 4-5 yachts – and they had all asked for him. How is that possible when they don´t know me – Lucas wondered. Probably because they read my notes about the place in Noonsite in 2003!

Lusancay Islands. This area is a very difficult navigation vice with lots of reefs, rocks and coral heads – and it´s VERY SHALLOW!! To make it more interesting it is absolutely unsurveyed.

Labi: this is the easiest island to approach. Take care to clear the long reef before heading into the anchorage, enter to the north of the island. The island is uninhabited with many beautiful birds in the jungle and big lizards. Going north from here I passed east of small Nakwaba Island and west of Buriwadi and Boimage Island. You will need GOOD light in this area. You can anchor behind the 2 latter if the wind is not too much in the south. I did not see less depth than 3 meters, except for the many coral heads.

Tuma Island: Here you will need good nerves, expert ability to read exactly what the watercolors is telling you about the depth and a max draft of 6 feet. Approach the island very close from the SW here you get the deepest water, further out there are only 2 feet! Follow the channel close to the island. Halfway up it gets tricky with many reefs and coral heads but it´s possible to find a safe way through. You can only sail here with engine. There were many jumping manta rays here. The shallowest part is near the little village, 3- 7 feet. You have to sail 500 meters past it because of a big reef, then turn east and then south towards the village. I anchored in 7½ feet, mud (8 degrees 20´5S:150degrees 49´E). There are dugongs and many big crayfish. The locals could not remember when they had last seen a yacht, if ever. In caves in the jungle, I found old skulls and bones and the locals told us some interesting legends.

East New Britain

Kokopo: The anchorage is near the radio mast (4 degrees 20´5S:152degrees16´260E). That is just near Taklam Lodge and they will keep an eye after your boat and dinghy. They are very cruiser friendly and know the area very well. Customs is just behind Andersons Supermarked. Kokopo has nearly all the banks and the best shopping. I was anchored here 2 weeks with no problem.

Rabaul: Anchored at the Yacht Club. The volcanoes are dormant and safe. They are also very friendly and will arrange for security people on your boat if you wish. The rascals that boarded a yacht have all been jailed. (note this incident happened in April 2004, see Recent Piracy Attacks [BROKEN LINK] for details)

This is the 3rd year I cruise in this area and not once have I have trouble with the locals or have anything stolen. The people here are very friendly and helpful and will do anything to make you feel welcome.

Fair winds and safe cruising, Carsten Hede Rasmussen, S/V Camas.

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