The Conflict Islands, Papua New Guinea & Cruising

The Conflict Islands, Papua New Guinea

When travelling by cruise line there are a few different scenarios when disembarking at port.  The easiest for the passenger is when the ship is docked at the wharf and you can just walk off the ship.  Another scenario is when the ship cannot dock at the wharf because the water is not deep enough or for any other number of reasons cannot pull up to a wharf.  This means that the passengers have to be transported to the shore by tender.  A ship’s tender is a boat used to transport people or supplies to and from the shore.  Smaller boats like yachts usually have tenders that are dinghies.  In the case of the Pacific Eden it was the lifeboats that were used to transport the passengers ashore.

Arriving by Tender from the Pacific Eden
Arriving by Tender from the Pacific Eden

The trip from ship to Kiriwina Island was no problem at all but when we got to the Conflict Islands the wind was so strong and water so choppy that it would have been dangerous to transport us to shore.  Therefore we spent around four hours being able to see the shore but no one was able to make it onto the island. Continue reading “The Conflict Islands, Papua New Guinea & Cruising”

Alotau, Papua New Guinea

The three amigos head off from Cairns’ Trinity Wharf
We were greeted by some traditional Papuan dancers

I travelled to Papua New Guinea in September 2016 with two very good friends Dianne and Mark aboard the ship Pacific Eden. It is quite difficult to move between the islands of the Louisiade Archipelago of Papua New Guinea by public transport and so when we found out about a deal for $389 for 7 days to PNG we jumped at the chance. New Guinea and Australia were once one piece of land so it was significant for us as Australians to visit.  None of us had been to New Guinea before so we were rather excited about the trip.

Alotau Market, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea

Continue reading “Alotau, Papua New Guinea”

Sailing in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Sailing in the Bay of Islands
Sailing in the Bay of Islands
Aboard The Phantom
Aboard The Phantom

The Bay of Islands is in the far north part of the North Island of New Zealand.  The area is sub tropical and is very laid back in attitude.  There are 144 islands, some being very small and others a little larger.  This is a great spot to sail because there are so many places you can stop, have lunch, swim a little and relax.  The weather was great when I was there – not too hot and certainly not cold.  The biggest town in the area is Kerikeri, followed by Pahia which is where I stayed.  You can catch a ferry across to Russell which has a wild history as a 19th century whaling port. Also in the area is Waitangi where you can visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. It is New Zealand’s most important historic site where in 1840 New Zealand’s founding document was signed: the Treaty of Waitangi.  There are so many activities you can do in the Bay of Islands area such as swimming, sea kayaking, whale spotting, shopping and sailing.

Yachts in the Bay of Islands
Yachts in the Bay of Islands

I paid for a commercial trip on a boat since I didn’t have any contacts in that part of the world but didn’t check it out too much beforehand.  I thought I was going to be spending a couple of hours on a yacht sailing out, around and back again to Russell.  It turned out to be my favourite day in New Zealand.  We spent six hours out on the water with a stop at one of the islands for lunch.  There were only two passengers – myself and a young lady from Switzerland.  The owners, Rick and Robin were two very interesting people with colourful backgrounds.

Cape Reinga Lighthouse, Northland, New Zealand
Cape Reinga Lighthouse, Northland, New Zealand

You can do day trips to Cape Reinga, which is the north westernmost tip of the North Island of New Zealand. I found this exhilarating as we drove along the beach (something I had never done before). There is a nifty lighthouse there, Cape Reinga Lighthouse, and you can see where two bodies of water meet – the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean.  In Maori mythology this is where the spirits of the dead leap off to the afterlife.

Getting back to the sailing, I would say to definitely wear sunscreen even if the day looks a little overcast.  The reflections off the water usually make sunburn a little worse.  Take a bottle of water too to keep hydrated.  Lunch was supplied and was very nice indeed so you don’t need to worry about that.  The conversation was interesting as we learnt about Rick and Robin’s travels and adventures.  They were a very welcoming and warm couple who were also interested in their passengers.   I absolutely love sailing but even if it was your first time you would it hard to not enjoy yourself.

Rick and Robin, owners of The Phantom
Rick and Robin, owners of The Phantom
At the helm of The Phantom in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand
At the helm of The Phantom in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand