Nov. 13, 2009
Lat. 04 20.080S Long. 152 18.614E
We are anchored off of New Britain, Papua New Guinea at a beautiful resort called Ropopo. Once again I am surprised. I had an idea that PNG was a very primitive place, very rugged. Of course, we have not been to the other islands and cities, but the city here, Kokopo is quite modern with paved roads, well- stocked grocery stores, a large Toyota dealership, good supplied hardware stores, big banks, post office, gas stations, etc. The people are lovely, helpful, and in contrast to Vanuatu and the Solomons, don't seem to have their hands out wanting something which is unusual in the main cities. Apparently, some of the other islands do have quite a bit of trouble in the form of tribal warfare, theft, and violence. There is some piracy as well, but we haven't encountered any. The islands are incredibly lush, very mountainous, and big. Some of the peaks are nearly 15,000 ft. It took us two days to sail by Bougainville, we had a 2 knt current against us the whole way and no wind. We motored for nearly 800 nm only catching the winds when the squalls moved through. We caught lots of fish on the way, mahi, tuna, and wahoo. We saw pods of dolphin every day. They love to play around the bow of the boat. Abbey and I stand on the bowsprit and make noises and wave at them. They roll on their sides and look at us and love the interaction. We saw one pod at night. It was really cool because the phosphorescents illuminated their bodies as they streaked through the water. They looked like torpedos of fairy dust. There is a very active volcano just across the harbor.
It rumbles throughout the day and billowing plumes of thick smoke ascend. Fortunately, there is no wind still so we aren't getting ash blown all over us. This afternoon we head out for an overnight sail to Keviang on the Northern tip of New Ireland. We'll top off with fuel there and then make the crossing to Palau. The weather does not look good for much wind, so we are prepared to do a lot of motoring again. The winds are out of the NE which is okay, but supposedly they will switch to the NW in the next couple of weeks and that would be right on our nose. There is the equatorial current that we have to deal with as well. So, time is our friend right now if we get moving and stick to the plan. We get very sad when we check our sailmail download and don't find any letters from home. Write us! We miss you all. Love, the Glennys