Showing posts from 2011

Ho ho ho

Dearest Bloggees
Merry Christmas, incase any of you are still checking in to our Anui blog after these weeks of no news.

I have been pondering over just how interesting our lives can be now that we are based back in NSW and now seeing anything exotic any longer. I have been encouraged by some of you saying that we should keep writing, so will do so, when there is something to tell.

You may have been wondering what it is like to stand still after moving for so long. It is like waking from a dream, rubbing our eyes and not quite knowing if we had made up the places and people we had seen. Anui is now tied up to the wharf at Kev and Paddy's place on the Clarence River, for a few weeks of relaxation and camping by the river. After that we will potter back to Yamba, at the river mouth, to get ready for school. I've already been back to work in sunny Tamworth and once I was in a room of kids' files it was hard ti remember that we'd ever been anywhere. We bought a new car over…

Heading South

We're halfway home and still waiting for canoes to come paddling out to trade with us. It didn't happen in Cairns, Makay or the Whitsundays, sadly enough. We've joined the Christmas Convoy of yachts heading South, battling Southerlies and gathering together to compare stories on windswept beaches.

We've both been looking into work options and getting the last term's school work done in preparation for our return to Yamba and the very necessary gathering of family finances. Dull, but inevitable. The islands of the Queensland coast are rather bleak and dry; we found coconuts on Middle Percy but they were not sweet or tasty. We had fun updating our sign in the famous A-frame and walked up the dusty hill to catch the breeze at the top. Finn has a new pair of runners and so is keen to try them out on long walks so we've been able to bushwalk on Whitsunday Island, Brampton & Percy, so long as there is cake or chocolate to tempt Finn to the top.....

Hope you enjoyed…

Your own personal wish list

We're now in the Whitsundays, revisiting some favourite spots and waiting, inevitably, for the Southerlies to abate so that we can make some miles South.
Those of you that know me well will know that I like nothing more than a good list. So, I have made a list for our lovely friends on this blog – a list of places that we have loved over the past 18 months that you might like to look up and even try to see for yourselves. Nothing at all wrong with dreaming.
By the way, more messages, please. We love the ones that we get and it would be great to know who has been following us over the time we were away. Will keep the photos coming.
Where? Can you get there with no yacht? Why try?
Indonesia Banda Islands - Yes, by Pelini cruise boats - Spices, steamy villages, volcano
Hoga, Wakitobi - Yes, to marine research centre - Beaches, diving, azure water
Komodo - Yes, via Bali and Labuan Bajo -  Komodo dragons!
Gili Aer -  Yes, via Bali - Beach holiday paradise
Kumai River -  Yes, googl…

Trying to avoid reality

Well, where to start? We are back in Australia and already those azure PNG days are fading as the tasks of being back near home loom large. They are by no means gone, though. Papua New Guinea was the jewel in our 17 month voyage. It allowed us the privilege of entering the real lives of island people, without any of the trappings of tourism. There have been no shops, no restaurants, only the fair exchange of items through trading and the chance to make connections.
From Kokopo and Rabaul we headed South to Budibudi (known on the chart as the Lachlan Islands) where the trading began in earnest. Our three boats were surrounded by canoes from dawn til dusk, plying a few vegetables, coconuts, fresh crayfish, some carvings or the famous bagie (more of them in a minute). In exchange, we gave rice, sugar, noodles, clothing, fish line and hooks. The fresh produce was not plentiful, as these islands are mainly sand, with little good soil. The locals have to sail by canoe to the Woodlark Islan…

The eagle has landed!

Well folks, we have arrived in Cairns! We left the Louisiades on 31 October and had a dream run of only 48 hours to cover the 500 mile crossing. We were flying! The boat being empty of food, drink (that beer was very heavy...) and practically empty of fuel worked in our favour. All safe and sound and somewhat in culture shock. Will add proper blog tomorrow.... Our phone numbers are the same as previously. Love, S S S F

More raving about PNG

I am starting to write this sitting in an anchorage in the Duke of York islands near Rabaul in a small bay surrounded by villages. There are a few canoes of kids hanging around the boat and the morning has been the usual stream of trading – today for oranges, cooking bananas, shells, coconuts, papaya and green beans. 
Scott and Finn went off in a local boat to see some Japanese bombs left over from WWII. This whole region is full of sunken wrecks and jungle-hidden relics from the last two wars. Poor Papua New Guinea was really hit hard. On this island, the locals had to go and hide out the years of WWII in caves, hiding their babies and disguising the smoke from their fires as best they could. If the Japanese saw the smoke, they would throw a grenade. It seems that when the Japanese eventually beat a retreat they jettisoned their planes and tanks and left them to become new reefs and for people like us to snorkel on. This week alone we have dived on two tanks, several boats and a plan…

The full story on Ninigo

A few weeks since we were last able to get internet access but here we are in lovely Kavieng, a town on the tip of New Ireland in PNG. More of that later – first, we must tell you that we have found our favourite place on earth – Ninigo! We went to the Ninigo island group straight from Jayapura, sailing 225 miles North East. Red Boomer were already there and came out at dawn to guide us over the reef into the lagoon. The water was crystal clear and turquoise, but that was only the start of Ninigo's charms. We anchored off the island of Mal and were greeted a while later by a gentleman named Thomas and his son Richard, who brought us fresh coconuts and the offer of any assistance we might need. Over the coming days, we spent a great deal of time with Thomas and his family and through him were introduced to the rest of the island. Mal was 'owned' by the Germans between the wars and was a coconut plantation. Coconuts still provide a source of income and food for the islanders…

Call of the mosque and the joys of karaoke

I am sitting on the boat at night in the small harbour at Jayapura where the lights of the bay spread up the hill. It is not quiet, though I would imagine that many locals will be sleeping. It is the last week of Ramadam and the largely Muslim population cannot eat or drink between 5am and 6pm. They get up at 4 in the morning to eat before their day of fasting begins. In every town in Indonesia and Malaysia that we have anchored in over the past year, the sounds of the mosque or 'masjid' have been our companions. Each mosque is surrounded by its own village, and each town has any number of mosques. Each of them has a number of loud-speakers fixed to the roof and the imam's call to prayer rings out every four hours through the day and night. There have been many nights when we've woken at four to this call and though Scott grumbles about being woken, I think that the sound of the mosque's song will be something that I will miss. When I am lying awake in the early…

Jayapura at last

As suspected, the opportunity to update our beloved blog have been few and far between. We are sending this from Jayapura, our last stop in Indonesian Papua before we head into PNG for the last two months of our trip. Jayapura looks like an interesting sort of town and we plan to spend a week here filling the boat with food to last us the next couple of months – plus plenty of items for trading in exchange for shellfish and bananas.  Thankfully, we have been having a far better time over the past few weeks than when we wrote from Bitung and Sorong. Papua remains somewhat of a mystery to me, however – it feels nothing like Indonesia and yet is part of that country; its people as we have come East are uniquely Papuan and the link to the administering country seem weak. There are periods of huge civil unrest and instability and the 'free Papua' movement has an large international voice. In the islands where we have been spending our time over the last couple of weeks, however, th…

Plodding through Papua

A brief internet interlude in the town of Manokwari, at the top of the Cenderawasih Bay in Papua, before we are out of range again - so a quick hello to all our blog friends. Hmm, what to say about Papua? Well, it is not the kind of cruising ground that makes you want to buy a boat and head off into the blue. Coming here as a land-based tourist would probably be quite different, with the few people that come here mainly taking dive tours with everything organised for them. Coming here on our own boat brings some administrative challenges and we haven't felt comfortable to leave the boat unattended so that limits how much we are able to see. Papua certainly has a wealth of beautiful islands and the interior sounds fantastic and untouched by the Western world, but if it doesn't come with a good anchorage, we can't see it! We are still heading East and are optomistic that PNG should be far more fun than Moluku and Papua have thus far been. 

Papua, as you will know, has seen it…

Fixing stuff in West Papua

Apart from the brief message posted by my lovely sister, we've been unable to add to this blog since we left Bitung three weeks ago. We are now sitting in Sorong, in West Papua. Yes, there is internet of sorts, but it is excruciatingly slow. Sorong has been, um,  interesting – more below.

I recall that when we entered Malaysia last year, we found it all rather tame and bland after Indonesia and I am now on the other side of that coin. After Malaysia, with its friendly people and relatively organised and occasionally prosperous towns, this part of Indonesia is the wild country. There were relatively few tourists in Sulawesi; there are absolutely none where we are now. It seems in some villages that we are almost the first Westerners to have set foot there. This does not always make for a comfortable experience.

Our first stop was the small island of Tifore, 70 miles from anywhere. A local fisherman was kind enough to guide us through the channel through the reef into a perfect lag…