07 September 2008 | New Ireland, PNG
We departed Garove this morning after a very rewarding visit, OceansWatch will be back for sure. In fact we hope that OceansWatch members Gar and Nicole on S/V Dreamkeeper will be able to visit later this year to take some marine conservation books to the School from our NGO partners Ailen Awareness in Kavieng.
The trip back to Kavieng was windless but most enjoyable all the same. We had a gorgeous sunset in a flat calm sea oily sea that had us all burning through our camera memory! The night was divine, crystal clear, the milky way stretched over us and a shooting star every 15 minutes or so. The temperature is perfect here at night, usually about 29c.
This morning we arrived at the now familiar pass into the sheltered waters around Kavieng, it felt like a homecoming to me as we all feel that we have friends here now. As we entered the pass we caught a big Spanish Mackerel, a relief for me as I had been promising the crew fish for dinner ever since we left Kavieng several days ago. The fish was large, more than ample for a feast for us so we headed for the nearest canoe and gave half of it to a delighted fisherman.
We arrived at our usual anchorage off Nusa Island and spent the afternoon on the usual water, diesel, market chores.
We met John Aini this morning to discuss how we could help him during the rest of our time here in New Ireland. We had been hoping to go to the StMatthias Islands but unfortunately John had not managed to clear the trip with the Pastor in time so we made alternative arrangements. Hopefully S/V Dreamkeeper will be able to take John there when they visit. Having recently seen a video of the Islands we envy them the opportunity. The Islands are Seventh Day Adventist so the people do not eat the fish or Invertebrates, which means the diving is exceptional.
Our plans now are to stay in this area for the next few days doing ReefCheck surveying and also training a very keen young man called Keithson who is a keen conservationist from St Matthias. We hope that Keithson will be able to travel on S/V Dreamkeeper to St Matthias and help them work with the community there.
This afternoon we did 2 ReefCheck surveys on Nago Island. We had been asked to do these surveys by the Provincial Fisheries Department as they are establishing a research facility there.
On the 6th we did 2 surveys on Nusa Island and on the 7th 2 more surveys on Nago.