Rabaul to Kavieng
25 August 2008 | Kavieng, New Ireland
Chris and Irene went into town to meet John Aini from the local NGO Ailan (Island) Awareness and Sandra from the Fisheries Department to arrange their first ReefCheck survey venue. On route they were lucky to bump into Hugh Walton who is involved in developing sustainable fisheries practices within the National Fisheries Authority. Hugh provided them with valuable insights into the various marine conservation initiatives in the area as well as the political constraints involved in effectively enforcing sustainable practices and laws. Chris was very interested to learn that Hugh had recently organized a bio-diesel symposium and a tour through the local bio-diesel plant was arranged for next weekend. Chris's bio-diesel interest stems from a general interest in alternative energy for powering OceansWatch yachts and from a request to help the people of Karkar Island (PNG) to look for alternative markets for Copra. Meanwhile, Rachael and Jeges spent time in the local village being shown the process of copra production and recording an interview with Jeges for the film Rachael is making about OceansWatch
Shortly after midday the whole crew set off to Enuk Island where they hope to conduct ReefCheck surveys during the following days. We were greeted by chief Masulem who invited us to make a presentation to the village about ReefCheck at 7:30 am the following morning which encouraged the crew to an early night.
19 and 20/08
Chris, Irene and camera-crew Rachael had several productive meetings with a number of local government bodies and NGO's including the Provincial Fisheries Authority, the Nature Conservancy, Ailan (Island) Awareness and the World Conservation Society. All of these meetings provided key information as to how OceansWatch can best serve local marine conservation initiatives throughout the New Ireland Province and PNG as a whole. While the meetings were going on in town Jeges and Leila kept busy undertaking lot of maintenance work and converting the boat from its delivery mode into its ReefCheck mode. Chris has been thrilled at the response to OceansWatch so far here in PNG. He is very confident that OW can play an important role in supporting sustainable use of the marine resources in PNG. Head of the provinces Fisheries Authority Satarek said about OceansWatch "This is something that we have been needing for a long time"
Our overnight sail to Kavieng was gentle with near perfect sailing conditions. We welcomed the occasional downpour as it washed the boat free of the remaining gritty ash layer of the Rabaul volcano.
Slowly approaching the shallow waters of Kavieng, we were amazed by the beauty of our surroundings: small islands scattered hither and yonder reflected in the tranquil turquoise sea, that was only disturbed by the single-hull canoes of the fishermen. We wondered what the chances were of experiencing the splendour of this location within ones lifetime.
New winds are now blowing over Magic Roundabout. With a touch of reorganization, Chris is beginning to feel right at home again.
Whilst provisioning and doing an interview shoot at the local market Leila, Rachael and Irene were approached by the Kokopo market inspector who kindly gave them a tour and told them a bit about the history of the area, which is ruled by the vagaries of its volcano.
From the hustle and bustle of the market they searched out the internet café which was more like a sauna where the emails sauntered into the ancient computers on typical Island time. Two hours and 10 emails later we headed back to Magic Roundabout to prepare for our trip to New Ireland.
That night our entertainment was provided by ReefCheck training DVD's. We also caught up on the Amadis project DVD. The Amadis project was run by OceansWatch trustee Lily Kozmian-Ledward in 2006-7 in the Caribbean and Pacific. Feeling inspired we were ready to get stuck into work again. We said our final good-byes to the Kokopo locals and the awe inspiring sight of Rabaul's smoking volcano and set our course for Kavieng, on the western side of New Ireland Province.