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Bagaman Island, Calvados Lagoon, Louisiades, July 17th - 20th 2007 (by Dagmar)
After a hard crossing with lots of swell, high waves, pouring rain, thunder and wind 25-30 knots, really exhausted, because we got so seasick, we reached Bagaman Islands at 11am on Tuesday morning, July 17th. What a wonderful place to be. The sun came out, some other yachts were in the anchorage, nice and friendly Papuans greeted us, offered us fruits and veggies to trade.
This was our first anchorage in Papua New Guinea, therefore we had no money to pay, everything was trading, sugar, flour, fish hooks, canned meat, pasta, rope, elastic....They could use everything. Chief Gulo of Oisi village, showed us all his guest books from the past years. Waiyaki, chief Gulo's brother, passed by with his family in an outrigger canoe with raft in the middle. He is an excellent carver, so he made us a little canoe like his own and named it LUNA II with mother of pearl inlays.
His friend came with crayfish.
Next morning we visited the 3 small villages on the other side of the island. Not more then 15 people are living in each village. On the way we met a family coming from the other side. He wanted to go cray fishing, daughter and wife went with,... she was carrying lunch in the pot on her head. Like in the Solomon Islands, Papuans like to chew betel nut. Their teeth, gums and lips are always very red and orange. This red orange spit is everywhere.
Their houses are build similar to the Solomon's, high on wooden beams. Kids are always smiling, singing, laughing...
Here the men are really busy carving canoes. They are copying the old traditional once with carvings on the beams.
In Oisi village, one of the locals is building a boat. It will take years before it will be finished, but they have all the time here on the islands. Moses carved a spear for us, his friend a wooden bowl with traditional white paint on it. The white paint they make out of coral. They grain the coral into fine powder, chew on it and press it in the hollows of the carving. When its dry, they wax the wood.
After returning from the village, we had a nice swim. 1/2 hour later I couldn't believe my eyes. First I thought that a tree trunk was floating in the water, but it was a crocodile next to LUNA, circling some rounds... it was about 3m long. That was something. The locals told us, that there was one living close to the mangrove, at the end of the bay...so no swimming anymore!!!!!
The following morning we went over the hills to the next bay to visit Koro village. They had a huge clam shell on the beach. Soleil liked to sit in it. The men of the village used blades to carve tattoos into leaves. They wanted to make belts for their next traditional dancing.
The local elementary school has 36 students. Its Thursday, so the most of them were dressed traditionally, because its customs day.
Outside they were playing games to learn to count properly in their Papuan dialect and in English.
On our way back from Koro village, with Ellen and Harry from "Zwerver", we had a beautiful view into the bay, our anchorage, for 4 days.
On Friday morning we left for Port Moresby on the mainland of Papua New Guinea.
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, July 22nd-26th 2007 (by Bart)
Back to the modern world of internet, supermarkets, ice cream and hamburgers. After 3 months of the simple life style we lived in Vanuatu and the Solomons, it was very nice to eat a big fat hamburger with a cold coke. It's probably hard to imagine, but that's what it feels like.
The crossing from the Louisiades was very fast. We had a strong wind mostly between 25-35 knots and a strong current. Sometimes we surfed down the waves with speeds of 12 knots. We are staying in the Royal Papua Yacht Club. And it's indeed the biggest and nicest Yacht club we have ever seen. The first morning it's a public holiday and they have a big breakfast buffet. Of course we are one of the first to enjoy it. We are here to get our Indonesian Visas, which are not the easiest to get and require a long process of filling out forms and applications, which started already in New Zealand 4 months ago. But once you have a sponsor letter, a cruising permit and you pay some money to the embassy, the deal is done.
This is just a quick stop. Tomorrow we will be leaving again, for Darwin, Australia, through the Torres Strait.
Last modified: September 02, 2008