The Ninigos Islands, PNG

Our Papua New Guinea home.  Funny how the first islands we visited and the last would turn out to be our favorites by far.  The Mortlock Islands in the east and now the Ninigo Islands in the west created beautiful bookends for our time in Papua New Guinea.  As we sailed into the pass and across the lagoon with a brisk 18 knots of wind, we saw in the distance an outrigger sailing canoe.  Its sails were tight and full, the wind on its beam, one hull lifting in and out of the water as it skidded along.  They were absolutely flying and caught up with us in no time at all, screaming past Field Trip to wave hello!  We hooted and hollered at them, egging them on as they zigzagged all around us, showing off those sailing skills that the islanders here are known for.  What a welcome!
MAL ISLAND Puhipi Village on Mal Island was our first stop in this remote island group.  Thomas, the father and quiet leader of the familial village came out right away to meet us once we settled in.  He brought …

Seabreeze Dinner and a Cruise!

It is amazing how industrious and patient the people of the Luf village are! Frieda and Nancy have been working to get a restaurant up and running on their tiny piece of paradise since a few years ago when Tom and Susie on SV Adina passed through here and made the suggestion. News spread among the cruiser community and the following year, Sara and Phil on SV Loch Marin contributed a beautiful set of plates and utensils to the culinary cause. By the time we arrived, a year later, the Seabreeze Restaurant (named by Phil) was ready for customers! I loved seeing such a culmination of efforts and resources between the cruisers and the islanders bring new opportunities.

Frieda and Nancy had outdone themselves! I’m sure it was an all-day affair to cook the buffet of local fare that graced our table that afternoon - taro, fried fish, fish cooking in coconut milk, rice, fresh fruit, and even a sweet treat! One of my personal favorites was the ‘pudding’ made from cassava and flavored with sweet…

Language Lessons at Luf

By the second day, the kids were getting along well with the Luf kids.  Shyness on both sides had subsided and the play began.  All along the beach were these perfectly round nuts that had fallen from a towering tree.  Soon enough, they were transformed into bombs and slung at each other in a full-on nut war.  I’m sure the parents who had just swept the yards were less than thrilled for the bombardment of the nuts they’d just gotten rid of, but no one seemed too bothered, so play continued.  This was typical boy play - why is it so easy for boys to just pick up anything off the ground, make a game, and become best buddies?  Elizabeth, being a twelve-year-old, took a bit more time to find some way to connect.  Often, she ends up tagging along with me until she finds that one girl who reaches out to her and invites her to play.  We each have to figure out our own way of interacting, and sometimes it just takes a bit more time.  Sometimes we need to be the ones to take a risk, be vulner…

Legendary Luf - The Hermit Islands

As we’ve traveled, there have been a few places that become legendary in the cruiser circles.  For some reason or another, a location would be mentioned over and over by various cruisers, making it a “must stop” in our own plans.

Luf Island in the Hermit Island Group is one of those such places.  Every time I emailed a friend who’d already sailed through PNG or read a cruising blog about this country, Luf Island village was always mentioned as a highlight.

That’s a lot to live up to!

Getting there was a slow slog.  We left New Hanover when all of our weather prediction models promised wind enough to sail.  SO, of course that meant that there was absolutely zero wind for the entire first day and a half!  It would be months before we’d be in a place to refuel, so Mark was going nuts, trying as many sail configurations as he could think of to catch even the slightest puff of breeze.  Finally, we decided just to take advantage of the positive current and drift for a half a day.  Our a…

Down the River - Dunung Island

Clem’s Place - Just west of Kaveing at Three Islands Harbor (Dunung Island) Japanease armed freighter wreck and Mini-Submarine, both attacked and sunk by US bombers during WWII.
Side Note - Before anchoring here, we stopped at Tsoi-Lik Island just southeast of here. They requested a $100 Kina anchoring fee.  Mark and Matt agreed the fee was crazy for one night, so, we raised the anchor and sailed onto Clem’s place instead! No anchoring fee, just $5 Kina per dive.

This wasn’t a spot where we’d planned to stop, but while we were in Kaveing at Nusa Island Resort, the guy there said we couldn’t miss the wreck dive here. Chance to explore another wreck? Why not?
The day we arrived, Paul canoed out to greet us and led us through the reef to meet Clement at his surf eco resort on the other side of the island. He and his wife Sylvia sat down with us for an hour or so, telling us all about how the place got started and how the meager amount of clientel that came
each year was just right for t…