Published: December 19th 2011December 9th 2011
It was a long trip from Papua to Brisbane--nearly two weeks at sea. The trip covered just as much distance as is usually covered in an Atlantic crossing. Our route took us along the north coast of Papua and Papua New Guinea, where we made a brief stop in Madang to refuel. We passed some interesting scenery along the coast, including an active volcano, and the mouth of the Sepik River. We also encountered an incredibly intense storm full of thunder and lightning and extremely heavy rain. I had major concerns that we may be struck by lightning after seeing a large ship, only a few miles away, be struck by two lightning bolts at the same time and become disabled.
Madang itself was an interesting place. I only had about an hour or so to get off the boat and have a look around, but I made the most of it and bought a nice shell necklace for my mother, a crocodile skull, and a really cool Papua New Guinea polo shirt right off the back of some guy that was hanging out at the local market. The vibe of the place seemed very 'African', and definitely not as
The Menam Volcano
This is part of the Ring of Fire, and it covered the boat in ash as we went by.
'Indonesian' as the neighboring country to the West that we had just come from. Papua is a Malay word for 'fuzzy hair', and is quite fitting for an area that easily makes a 1970's Dr. J style afro look like childs play. Everyone that I spoke to spoke English, and generally spoke it well. As strange as it was, this third world country seemed to be so much more civilized and organized than where we had just come from, and was actually briefly refreshing.
After fueling, we continued on along the coast until it opened up, and then began making our way towards the Coral Sea. We headed straight south with a plan to stay offshore to avoid the effects of the current that runs along the coast. The last few days of our trip were quite rough, with current coming from the North, and 25-45kt winds coming from the Southeast, but we made it in one piece. The pictures of the seas will not do it any justice, but believe me, it was rough for a 130' boat. The boat was creaking a lot, things were flying around a bit, anything that wasn't locked up or tied down
Fishing off the volcano
We found another large bait ball with a s@load of tuna attacking it, but yet again, we were unsuccessful in landing one.
was thrown around, and some new cracks showed up around the boat as well. As our captain was once told by the guys that built the boat, 'fiberglass is just as strong as steel......if it's thick enough.' I am not quite sold on that yet though!
It took about 5 hours to get from the entrance of the channel in Brisbane to our dock on the Brisbane River, and we were greeted by a pleasant and bearable temperature that I had not experienced since I was last home in the states, after spending the last 3 months within 3 degrees North or South of the Equator.
There are more photos below