Pacific Ocean

Port-Moresby, Papua New Guinea… A delicate stopover…

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I preferred to stay several dozen miles out at sea to avoid the coastal piracy. We were going along the coasts in "raskol" country, the gangs which make Papua New Guinea one of the most dangerous countries on earth. At night we sailed with all our lights off. And I decided that we would only arrive in Port Moresby during the daytime so that I would have time to evaluate any potential security risks that we might be exposing ourselves to, and to be able to remedy any situation before nightfall. So it was direction Port Moresby, although I certainly harbored a few concerns. I had mentioned a few things to Barbara and the kids, but nothing that might cause any alarm. During our last internet connection on Vanuatu I had taken time to read up on the reports of attacks (some extremely violent) that had been carried out on boats along the Papuan coast. It was very instructive. All had happened close to the main island's coastline and none around the further flung islands. So my plan was to head straight for the capital from the Louisiades and to arrive in daylight. 

I am however convinced that the security situation in this country will improve. The country's economy is growing rapidly and there is considerable foreign investment. Our stopover in this unattractive place was down to my eldest son's journey schedule, as he was leaving for France to carry on his studies. The plan? Head straight for the sanctuary of the protected marina (so we adapted our speed as a consequence) of the Royal Papuan Yacht Club. Apparently it was protected by outside walls topped with barbed wire! It was the only (and apparently quite chic) yacht club that we would frequent in our whole journey. Our first sight of Port Moresby did not make me consider spending my retirement there, but the economic boom created by the exploitation of natural gas reserves is obviously behind the very visible development in this charmless town.

Port-Moresby, a risky stopover…

At around midday on the 22nd June, Jangada arrived at the Basilisk Passage, surrounded by two large coral reefs. In the lagoon, the wind suddenly whipped up to 30 knots. It was the start of a windy episode which had been forecast.  We headed for the back of the bay, zigzagging between anchored vessels, cargo ships, fishing boats and supply ships. The town developed around the port. The Royal Papuan Yacht Club Marina is situated to the north, just after the commercial port in the Konedobu quarter. I called Papa Yankee Charlie, the yacht club code on VHF channel 84. We sailed into the marina under the watchful eye of the armed security guard who had come out of his hut at the end of the jetty. I spotted a camera which monitored the comings and goings from the marina. The security guard signaled for me to take the one remaining mini floating pontoon inside the marina, a few dozen meters from the main pontoons which were full of local boats with not a single space available. We understood later, that the RPYC ...

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