Sunday, September 24, 2017

Life on the Chain Gang

Mark celebrating the availability of locally
grown carrots at the market

After waiting a month for the ship from Lae to bring our new anchor chain, it was finally due to arrive on Monday. Unfortunately, the ship was stuck in another port because two other boats were unloading ahead of it. The ship eventually showed up on Wednesday and by the time it was unloaded and unpacked, it was Thursday morning before we could get our chain.

Koki Kai Kai at Nusalik Resort

To get the chain, Matt and Conrad navigated an hour and a half of dealing with Swire (the shipping agent that employs the Stevedores for the shipping company, Consort) and Kavieng Port Management (managing to avoid the involvement of Kavieng Port Services and Kavieng Port Transportation--all three apparently separately run divisions of the same small port complex). At the end, Matt and Conrad were able to get the 55-gallon drum full of 500 or so pounds of chain into the inflatable dinghy.

That was just the start of the fun. As Conrad and I floated the dinghy underneath the bow of the boat, Matt brought up a hundred meters (310') of new chain and lowered the old rusty chain back down as Conrad and I tried not to get bits of raining rust in our eyes. The engines on the big boat idled (and were occasionally engaged) as Matt brought up the anchor, disconnected the old chain, and reconnected the new chain. As we fed the new chain through the windlass, we had to straighten out a million kinks that had worked their way into it. To make a long story relatively short, we eventually fixed it by dumping the chain into the water and winching it up twelve feet at a time. Matt got the most vigorous arm and back workout he's had in years and we eventually got the chain in place.
We were all ready to check out the next day but found when we visited the Customs office that everyone had gone home for the day, even though it was early Friday afternoon. So we're in Kavieng until at least Monday. We had another nice dinner at the Nusalik Resort, hung out with new friends, and are finishing up some last minute errands.

I leave you with some critter pictures from Conrad...


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. What an adventure ! I can just imagine how tough getting that old chain off (and the new one on!) was for you guys ! You must be so happy to have it done ! I can't get over how COOL those critters are ! Great shots Conrad !


Add a comment: