Well it’s been a while, there has been some miles done by both sea and air.
Looking to entertain Amanda on her day off Phil suggested a trip down south by road where a small village has traded pottery for thousands of years. Not much has changed except they now trade for Kina. We also got to see our first baby in a billum strategically hung in the campfire smoke to keep away the mozzies.
Phil, a veteran of the area of sorts, suggested as it was still fairly early we should try the loop road back to town. Sounded like a good idea at the time… however 12 months is a long time for what turned out to be a disused forestry road. The rutts were 3 feet deep in places, the mud needed a run up and it was impossible to turn around. What was a good idea turned more into a tale of survival but luck was on our side and after waiting for an inter-village dispute to finish, clearing the road again we hit the seal just as the sun went down.
Armed with our new waterproof to 40 metres camera another Sunday was spent on one of the many dive sites around Madang. A B25 bomber downed by the Japanese during world war 2. The story goes the crew all escaped.
Another intact wreck is one of Jessie Martin’s (previous youngest Australian to sail around the world solo) located within the confines of the harbour. This one apparently sprung a leak a few years ago and the locals who didn’t want it to sink next to their wharf helpfully pushed it out into deeper water.
Amanda decided work wasn’t working out, not the lifestyle job as promised so we packed the boat and headed off into what really was a lumpy sea heading south. Our chilli plant after surviving a number of miles wasn’t happy with the waves coming over the boat.
After a few days the sun came out and we were swamped with the friendly locals wanting to trade. The combination of their supply boat not having visited for quite a few months and a stabbing that closed the school on a nearby island caused the island of Malai to be overcrowded and very short on supplies.
We combined their boat with our outboard and fuel to organize a night fishing trip. A stop was made on a small cay to throw bits of coral at the birds. Once hit they are wrapped with bark and kept for… dinner.
A day trip sounded like a good idea and was with some good GT catches until the outboard spat the dummy about 4 miles down wind of anywhere. Amanda in her wisdom had sent me off with the VHF amongst other safety devices. This enabled me to put out a call for help to her. She then organized a girl who was visiting to go and borrow the Police canoe and paddle out to our rescue. I got into this very large unstable floating log and 3 of us spent an hour paddling into a head wind to reach Thyme. Once there it was only a matter of upping anchor, motoring back to the disabled boat and securing a tow line. Some days a job sounds like not such a bad idea.
A few days later we made rainy Lae, pot hole city of PNG, Thymes home for now. Looks like were heading to Australia.