24 September 2009 | Moussau
Cleo and Alison started the morning with a deep Reef Check survey at Keleo Island. Alison worked with Keithson on "Confined Training 3, 4, and 5" for his PADI Open Water. Gardner's notebook hard drive packed up. A teacher from Moussau came to talk with Chris and brought 10 students with him for a visit. Chris and Gardner did some long overdue topsides polishing.
Cleo spent most of the day working with Keithson on his PADI training. Chris and Keithson went to Mananusa Island for a community meeting followed by a trip to Eloaue Island for a school visit. On the way to Mananusa Island Keithson showed Chris Tongan Island, an uninhabited Island that his family owns that Keithson wants to use for a community ecotourism venture. On the way they saw 9 Turtles, 6 Stingray, a pod of Dolphins and a shark! On the way home there was a tropical downpour that reduced visibility to zero so Chris had to steer by the waves for awhile!
Gardner and Alison did a modified manta tow all the way around the island. Basically, Alison sticks her head underwater over the bow of the dinghy with her mask and snorkel on while someone drives the dinghy. It's endlessly comical from an outside perspective. Chris gave a talk to the community and Cleo started teaching Keithson for his PADI Open Water certificate.
Saturday is the Sabbath for SDAs. Alison went ashore early and found a girl with a high fever. We sent her to the hospital in our dinghy. When she left she was not able to hold herself up and was being carried by her father. Later when I saw her she was happy and walking around. Chris started work on the OceansWatch Marine policy document.
When I awoke we were already in sight of the islands. Keithson is from the Moussau area. He explained that we needed to head directly to his family's Island or we would be swamped with visitors and it would take forever to get to anchor. Keithson was with OceansWatch last year. OceansWatch is training Keithson in Reef Check surveying, PADI SCUBA and how to present marine conservation ideas to communities.
We arrived at Kaleu Island and threw out all of our chain in a not very sheltered anchorage just off the village side of the island. There are about 12 people that live on the island which is owned by Kiethson's family.
Cleo, Alison, and Gardner went for a dive just off the island to check out the reef. We saw two turtles and some really giant clams. From an non-marine-scientist point of view there were more fish here than anywhere else that I've been diving.
We scrambled to get out of Kavieng before the sun set. On top of all the normal things to do on the ship before we set sail we still had to do some shopping, get diesel, fill the water tanks, check emails, and pick up Keithson. We moved Magic Roundabout across the bay closer to the city and the wharf where we get water. Unfortunately our anchor was well trapped in about 20 meters of water. Cleo chucked on her dive gear and flew to the bottom like super woman. She said our little anchor was wrapped around a colossus anchor from some container ship. She walked ours a few meters away and came back up to the top. Yay Cleo!
With Keithson on board we headed north towards Mussau with the fishing lines out.
Wednesday was Independence Day in PNG. Alison went to shore while Chris and I helped Cleo up the mast. She fixed a few things including the wind direction indicator guides and some line that had been rubbing. Later that night we went ashore and had a dance at a church function. It was terrible music but full of great people and we had a lot of fun.
Alison saved a turtle. Cleo and Alison took three local guys for a Reef Check. Gardner went with them to take photos and video. Chris saw a black tip shark. Chris talked to Robin about eco-tourism around Nonovaul and the surrounding archipelago. Went to the school and met the sister of a friend Phaulis who lives on Karkar. Chris handed out reading glasses. We set sail for Kavieng and arrived that evening.