Thursday, September 14, 2017

Around Kavieng

Blow holes on Nusa Island
We have taken advantage of the supplies in Kavieng to stock up for the next couple of months. Kavieng has better than average provisioning for a South Pacific town filled with mostly Chinese-owned shops. The bellwether for us is usually ice-cream, but this town even has such hard-to-find gems as potatoes (yes, the lowly potato becomes something you crave and usually can't have), cream cheese and bacon. We even scored lots of avocados and mangoes, which are apparently out of season. The other day, Mark and Conrad caused much amusement amongst the locals as they lugged a package of 40 rolls of toilet paper down the street.

Mark standing on a Japanese anti-ship gun from WWII
While our anchor chain is making its way on a slow boat from Lae to Kavieng, we have kept busy enjoying the sights around Kavieng, including some diving. Papua New Guinea has its share of World War II relics, both in the water and out.
A sunken bomber

The anchorages we visited near Kavieng were bit of a mixed bag. Two ward captains asked for pretty hefty anchoring fees (which we didn't pay--we left one anchorage and the fees were 'waived' in the other when we said we wouldn't pay). One anchorage was within view of three islands with villages and we got a multitude of canoes visiting, plus a rather strange vibe. We were told of other boats that had gotten boarded and had items taken. One guy asked if we had a dog. A couple of young men from one of the villages asked if they could "provide security" by fishing behind our boat overnight to prevent any raskels from coming on board. We weren't sure how to interpret this. Were they just being nice or did they want to be close to the boat so they could get first dibs at us?  Or was it a shake down scam for protection money?  Being from Chicago, my money was on the latter.  As it turns out, they were a couple of nice guys that probably were genuinely concerned for our welfare.  They spent the night fishing and we spent the evening sleeping lightly and unrestfully due to our paranoia. We decided to leave the next day.
Alan near some of the leper graves

We had a great stay at the vocational school (which was a former leper colony). Alan showed us around and gave us a watermelon and a bagful of mangoes. The final anchorage before we returned to Kavieng was not nearby any village. While we were away snorkeling for about half an hour, someone came aboard and took a couple mangoes and a fishing lure, which appeared to have been gnawed off the line we keep on the back of the boat. The lure had gotten us many fish in its short tenure and we were sorry to lose it. After that, we decided to make our way back to Kavieng to sort out payment for the transport of our anchor chain.
Garcon and Lucas after a night of fishing behind our boat.

If all goes according to schedule, the chain should be here on Monday. The Independence Day holiday is in the mix, as well as Papua New Guinea's general adherence to 'island time'.

Kaki Kai Kai can talk and dance, even though his legs
no longer work. He lives at the Nusalik Resort.

1 comment:

  1. Your security story reminded me of the kids in Mexico who said they would "watch" your car for a few pennies. You always wondered what you'd find upon your return.

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