Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Passage from Solomon Islands to Papua New Guinea

Friday November 21 2014

WOW so we have been off the grid for a while! We found this really amazing little island called Liapari and we just couldn’t tear ourselves away from it!!! We started out in Gizo and stayed for a little less than a week getting supplies and looking for batteries. Our batteries are completely shot by the way….we are having to motor the whole way to PNG just to keep the batteries alive enough to operate the chart plotter and the auto pilot as well as the fridge and sat phone.

Some photos of Gizo…..or the wild west


This is the PT109 Yacht Club…if you can call it that. Maybe it was a yacht club at one time but they don’t offer any services and they don’t have a dinghy dock…they have a tire next to some rocks that you can tie up to….

The town reminded us of an old western movie…without the tumbleweeds. There were people walking in the streets and it was eerily quiet at times. People just seem to mosey around.



Anywho we left Gizo for Liapari once we figured out that we couldn’t get the type of batteries that we needed. It was a short 3 hour sail and a little tricky getting in but we managed and wow this place was beautiful! There were also a few other catamarans there that we hung out with so we had a great island with great company the whole time.

I was sick as a dawg after we arrived and I was out of it for a few days with a cold….weird having a cold in the hottest place on Earth…and then Ty caught it…whoops! He was out of commission for at least a day but the coughing was the worst….we ate soup and drank lots of water n stuff n got better Smile

Ty spearfished every day pretty much…it was way too hot to be stuck on the boat…he never really caught anything though and we came to realize that the spear guns we have on board are basically toy guns lol. We dove a few sights around the island…one being the sunken ship that we were moored to. Noel and Rose own the island and live there with their dog Leah. He sunk two ships just in front of his wharf and put two moorings up out there so we tied up to one of those and stayed securely for about 3 weeks. We also went out on Noels boat one Saturday for a fishing/dive trip. We dove on this little mount that comes up to about 5 meters from the surface called The Hot Spot by the local dive company. It was my deepest dive yet at about 26 meters according to Ty but my gauge said 29 meters….it was such a great dive! We saw a lot of smaller fish and coral and a couple of baby white tip reef sharks. Then we went to Sanbis Resort which is near Gizo and had lunch and a few beers over the crystal clear blue water then on to the big Japanese shipwreck that has been there since the war…cant recall the name of the ship but it was a spectacular dive!!! The best one yet!!! We had another fellow named Andrew that had joined us that day and he has been on over a hundred different dives in different areas and he said that is the most amazing dive he has ever seen! The ship still had tanks and stuff inside, you could swim through the holes where it was blasted, swim under the bow where the anchors were and wow the coral growth on this bad boy was awesome! So much beautiful coral growing on top and around the sides! It was really amazing…really really amazing….we did a lot of snorkeling around Liapari also…well I call it snorkeling because Tyrone never really speared anything we could eat with the spear gunSmile but we did see a few turtles (my fav), a spotted eagle ray, stingrays, sharks, many many small fish and a few bigger trevally that were always a little too smart or too fast for Ty to catch. We met at the Round House every night around 5 with other boats there and Noel and Leah the dog. We all shared sundowners every night and sometimes cooked and had a big pot luck type thing. Well the reason we were there was actually because it is the only …or maybe the best boat yard in Solomons. Liapari boat yard is mainly for bigger ships but Noel would never turn away yachties in need. You can leave your boat there and fly home for a few months or get work done there as long as you had all the parts. We were waiting for our package from Australia to arrive at the post office in Gizo for about a month. It was our new head gasket for the starboard engine and we needed it before the engine could be taken apart to diagnose the real problems. So we had that work done there and it turns out we needed the gasket replaced but also a piston was not coming all the way up so it bent the rod and now we have serious issues…as always…oh and we need to replace our fuel injectors. The boss is bringing all the parts we need with him to Papa New Guinea so we just need to find a good mechanic there to do the work. And soon we will be back in business.

So Liapari Boat Yard was a really great place to get work done and pass some time before the next leg. We really loved the hospitality of Noel and Rose having us there and having us over for dinner some nights. They had an election while we were there for new politicians and there were 2 guys running in their area that they could vote for. One guy was a crook. The other was a good man who really tried to help the people of the island. When he asked what they people wanted he was simply told they want to be able to build a house, have roofing and walls and a water tank to hold rain water….it really blew my mind that that was all the people wanted. I mean think about that for a minute…all they want is to build a house for themselves. A roof. 4 walls. And clean water. That is all…..so this guy gets them tin for roofing, nails, timber and other things to build and he really tries to get them the supplies they need for all that. So of course they all voted for him and by the sounds of the yelling and hollerin the next night, I think he won Smile 

Some Liapari photos…

We get lots of bananas from the locals that stop by the boat to sell veggies and they just start to go bad before we can eat them all so we got a recipe and made banana bread! It was almost as good as Grandmother Duvall used to make it.

We took a mooring away from shore to get more of a breeze and less mozzies

We swam, we dove and we walked all over this place!

The volcano was an awesome sight to wake up to every day

They have a full on work shop there and you can pretty much get anything done in this boat yard. Noel has everything set up nicely and can fix anything if you have the parts and supplies. This is Chong and he is sharpening Ty’s machete

Here is one of the houses Noel built. I like the sign on the water tank.

Ty is looking more and more like a local every day haha


We walked around the island and found this side has the most beautiful turquoise water and so clear! But the other side has mangroves and a croc lives there somewhere


Noel even has a coconut farm on his island

The small general store where you can buy cold drinks, onions, flour, garlic, canned items, toiletries and cigarettes

One of Noels many toys is this crazy fast speed boat. He was asked not to drive it on Sundays because all the people come out of the church to watch instead of listening to the sermon lol

As you can see we are hard at work…

One of my favorite carvings to come across. We stopped for lunch at Sanbis Resort near Gizo inbetween the 2 dives we did with Noel.


Ty, Noel and Andrew

We left for PNG today and there has been no wind or anything but we knew we had to motor anyway to keep batteries up. That will be the first thing we buy once we get to PNG is new deep cycle batteries. Once we have new batteries that actually hold a charge we wont need to run the engine as much yayyyyySmile

I was preparing the chicken for dinner tonight and I heard the high pitched call of dolphins through the hull. Normally Ty always tells me when they are there so I asked if he saw them yet but he hadn’t so I came up and looked around and sure enough they started to surface and jump in the air! I heard them before we could see them! And they were much bigger than any dolphins we’ve ever seen…except maybe the two we saw in new Zealand….but they were funny cuz they would swim under the boat upside down like they were watching us as we were watching them haha…it was cute Smile

Sunday November 23

We caught a massive yellowfin tuna this morning!!!! Of course it wasn’t even an hour after I went to sleep from a 6 hour watch….but I woke up when I heard Ty yell “fish on!!!!” by the time I made it out there he already had the belt on and was struggling with the pole to keep what little line we had left on there. This thing took almost all the line before he stopped it. We were sailing at this point at about 4 knots which was too fast for a tuna this size so I had to run around and drop the sails and put the boat in reverse. At first we were thinking it was caught on something huge underwater and we considered cutting the line. We weren’t able to reel it in at all and there was no give….so we would drag it for a bit and then reverse quickly and we were able to reel in at that point. We did this little maneuver quite a few times before Ty put on some gloves and started pulling the line straight up out of the water while I reeled and we finally saw that it was a giant yellowfin tuna! Biggest one we’ve caught! We are thinking around 50 kilos or so….we cut up the 4 quadrants and I really think just one of those could feed us for a week! I’ve already got the ceviche marinating in the fridge for tomorrow and the poisson cru chilling for a starter for tonights dinner….thick peppercorn tuna steaksSmile yummmm…..and sashimi all day long with soy n wasabi. I figure we will give at least half of it away to some PNG officials or yacht club employees….we should be there by around noon tomorrow…..too bad we never catch anything like this when the boss is on board….OH! and I really believe the whole reason we were able to get this one on the boat was because Noel taught us some good fishing tips like how to tie a bimini knot on all our rods so we quit losing lures…and to put wire leaders on all the lures so they don’t just snap off with a big fish…and why wouldn’t we listen to him?...he won 1st place in 2 categories at the fishing tournament a few weeks ago! I wonder how many big tunas we have lost our lures to… There have been so many times when a line just snaps and we never see what hit it and never see our lure again.

Our prize catch!



The volcano that blew a few months ago is on the far left. This is the view from the resort we are currently moored at.

Papua New Guinea is beautiful!!!! You can clearly see the bottom in 15 meters of water!! We arrived late Monday night around 9pm and there was no moon so it was pitch black. Now you shouldn’t go into an unknown harbour at night and usually people don’t do that…but we were so close and so tired and didn’t really have the fuel to be driving in circles all night. We couldn’t turn the engine off for fear of loosing battery power and not being able to start it again so we went in very slowly and had 3 charts open plus the radar to show where land was. It was a good thing we had the radar too because there was a tiny island that was not on the chart that we did see on the radar. Once we were close to it we could make it out and we went around it and pulled up to the Ropopo Resort that happens to have one mooring for yachties. With all the lights we had on from the resort we could see the outline of the mooring and easily picked it up! We checked in and all that yesterday and we have a huge day ahead of us now since the boss just informed us he is coming in a day early! yay! Im really glad it was so calm the whole way here so we were able to clean the boat and get it ready… we will go buy batteries today and get some fuel and the rest he can do with us.

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