We had to motor for the first hour to get out and through the surrounding reef, but once we cleared the reef, we were able to sail. The weather was lovely, the sea state was not bad at all, plus the stars were spectacular. As usual, though, we had trouble sleeping the first night out.
On the second day we did have a small tanker come up behind us. Our AIS told us the name of the vessel, so we called him on VHF. He answered and said that he had just received our AIS alarm and would turn to port to go around us. We thanked him and watched as he made a wide turn and left quite a bit of room for us so that his wake would not cause any problems. Late in the afternoon Steve looked back and saw that he had another Dorado on the line. We can’t believe it. We keep trying to catch a tuna, and all we get is Dorado. Gaby and Hans on sv September want a Dorado, but all they catch is tuna. Oh well, we won’t complain.
Early on the morning of the 18th we were approaching the reef entrance to Port Moresby and saw that another commercial ship was coming up behind us, but we watched the AIS and saw that he pass us without any problems. The entrance to the reef was not that wide, but it was well marked, and we had enough light to clearly see the reef. Once we got through the entrance, we began to notice several sunken ships close by, which is always a sobering experience.
We called the Royal Papua Yacht Club to let them know that we had arrived, and then we wound our way through quite a few anchored fishing vessels and through the breakwater to the club. We anchored temporarily while Steve went to check in, and when he returned, we went over to the work dock to moor for a couple of nights. We had some major repair work to do on the dinghy, and the boat needed a thorough cleaning.
Brian, who is the Seven Seas Cruising Association’s representative here, introduced himself to us and was very helpful answering our questions regarding Port Moresby. The second day we were here, he took us to lunch at the best Chinese restaurant that we have been to in a very long time. There is a big campaign on to stop the chewing of betelnut, but you can still see the remnants on the pavement.
We have spent the past few days doing what we are always doing while in port--going to the bank, doing laundry, cleaning, etc. The laundry here costs $1.50 U.S. per load, which is the best deal since Mexico. No wonder I have washed just about everything on the boat. The yacht club is very nice, and we have enjoyed a few lunches and dinners there. It has been fun spending time with Gaby and Hans, who will be here for another few weeks, and then we hope to see them again in Indonesia.
We will leave Port Moresby in the morning as a weather window suddenly opened up for us. Papua New Guinea has been a very interesting experience for us, and we are glad that we came here. It should take us about three days to reach Thursday Island, where we will clear into Australia. We still have quite a few miles until we reach Darwin, and our time is running short, so we are glad to be able to leave earlier than we thought.