10th Augu st
I went to the University of the Divine Word to use the internet. It was too expensive so Instead I went to the hotel to use the internet for the first time in two weeks. Chris ordered new fuel and oil filters from NZ and Cleo did two loads of
laundry using the MACHINE at Madang Club! Clean sheets! Alison did
some mysterious science writing most of the day. I have decided to get
my RYA Yachtmaster Offshore certificate to better position myself to
get more experience and log as many miles as possible over the next few
Tried to change the oil filters in the 40 degree heat but we had been given the wrong parts in NZ. Alison spent the afternoon
swimming. Chris shouted another mackerel dinner in lieu of cooking
that night as he had enough of working on the boat in 40c.
Cleo caught up on some scientific paper she has to write.
I need to catch up on organizing photos.
Picture is of a typical day on the Bismark Sea
We showed off by sailing right into the harbour as the wind was perfect.
Local identity and friend of Chris, Tony Burns had passed away so instead of staying at his boatyard we stayed at Madang Club as it has a pontoon now.
Ate delicious Spanish mackerel and played billiards.
Back on the Bismark Sea. Things are quiet. I made pizza and finally
figured out how to minimize the mess for the person that has to do the
Cleo and Alison went snorkelling with Terrence early in the morning to get an idea about the reef system at Garove. They reported very patchy coral and thought it was because the volcano is still active, causing many areas of water too hot for coral growth.
Chris and I visited Geto, Garove's master canoe builder. Chris told me that Geto builds the most elegant canoes that he's seen in the Pacific. We were followed to his house by a group a school children
that were waiting for class to start. Geto, an older fellow with
strings tied around the tops of his calves, was still sleeping when we
arrived but he was very happy to receive the two adzes the Chris had
brought for him and showed it with bursts of laughter and an indelible
After admiring the craftsmanship of the canoes in his
yard we decided to head back to meet Alison and Cleo so that we could
present the letters from White Oak Elementary School to the students
in Garove. On the way back we stopped to see the children's new
classrooms for grades 1-3. They are made of bush materiels and open to the air.
Posters of ABCs and other things that I've long forgotten line the
walls. The teacher was still not there yet but that didn't stop the
kids from reciting their ABCs for us and singing a few songs they know. I got
it all on video so keep an eye on the OceansWatch YouTube Channel.
They all got a kick out of me showing them the little LCD on the video
camera while panning around the crowd.
garove School kids do a dance or us.
As we walked back to the boat from the school we met a man on the path
that stopped and introduced himself as Tedius, the head teacher of the
grade 1-3 branch of the school. We arranged with him to drop off the
letters for grade 3 in a couple hours and headed back to the boat.
After the camera was charged and Cleo and Alison returned we headed
back to the school and Chris read the letter from White Oak Elementary
School while Tedius translated into local language. We showed the kids
the pictures from White Oak and I shared in the somewhat foreign
feeling that the pictures of the normal north American school incited
in a setting such as the school in Garove. The contrast was stark. The
linoleum floors and the parking lot specifically stood out as very
We went up to the other school and Chris did the same reading for
grades 4 and 5. It started to rain halfway through and the audio on
the video is bound to be terrible. I think I'll have to delete the
whole batch or just use it as background footage with an interview as
Afterwards we got an opportunity to go see the church in Garove. It
was built in 1952 by German missionaries and the bells have 1957
stamped right on them. The wooden building is large and well designed.
It overlooks the bay that the caldera creates and the entrance to it
all the way out to the Bismark Sea.
We filled up some water cans and said our goodbyes. We left just after
sunset and honked our very loud air horn and flashed the spot light to say
goodbye which incited a riotous reaction of screams, flashing lights, and
whistles. It was great!
Arrived in Garove just before dark.
Chris had showed us pictures from the OceansWatch visit in 2008, including one of Agnes, the only person whose name he remembered. When he rowed in to ask permission to anchor there she was waiting on the beach to say hi . Luke, Jason, Agnes, and Alcana came to visit in a beautiful canoe. Many women have small face tattoos in PNG indicating which area they come from. You can see the Garove tattoo on Agnes's forehead.
Picture of Garove Island. Our anchorage just inside on the left.
Headed for the volcanic Island of Garove. A boring day of motor sailing interrupted by a dump of rain and wind.
Chris woke up when the rain started so we caught water in our new awning (thanks Calibre sails).
Picture is of the streets of Rabaul
Chris woke up early to get us cleared into PNG ASAP. We lost a day in
Gizo which turned out to be another two days because we couldn't
clear into PNG during the weekend. After hailing anyone and everyone
on the VHF and sending emails and making phone calls for 2 days he
decided to go ashore to the office. The crew had to stay aboard the
ship until the 6 officials from quarantine, customs, and immigration
came to visit us with giant sandy boots on. The quarantine official
was really very upset with Chris for leaving the boat but eventually
he came around and they grew to be good friends!
As soon as we were cleared Chris went to get money changed and the
crew filled up the water tank with the jerry-can-dinghy method. We did
the same for diesel after Chris returned with some money.
We were excused from duty for the afternoon so that we
could see the giant belching active volcano up close. er... closer. We
piled into a HIACE full up with men, women, and children, and headed
to Rabaul which was described to me as having a post apocalyptic feel
to it. The town seemed pretty normal to me aside from the ash piled up
like little snow banks on the side of the road. Apparently there was a
very low ash content during the time when we visited. We had fun in
the market and met a lot of nice people. We tried a few different
snacks before we went looking for a good view of the volcano. Just as
we were approaching the shore, and the good view, Tuvurvur cracked a
loud boom and threw an impressive amount of debris into the air. It
spiralled up to an unbelievable height billowing and rolling with the
thermals that the intense heat it must create. It looked like a mushroom
cloud from those old atomic bomb testing films.