Pacific Ocean

The louisiades, an archipelago at the end of the world… part 1

Create a notification for "Pacific Ocean"

The Coral Sea is the expanse of ocean which is situated at the far west of the Pacific, and which reaches as far Papua New Guinea and its archipelagos in the north, the islands of Micronesia and the Solomons to the north east, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the east, and to the south, the north east coast of Australia. It is the numerous coral reefs in this area which have given the sea its name.   

The Louisiades are a mixture of islands and reefs linked to Papua New Guinea. PNG does not have a great reputation. Never mind the sharks, sea snakes and the salties (sea crocs), there are now pirates and other low life which need to be added to the equation in these far off waters.   Because of this, our stopover in “continental” PNG will unfortunately be of a very reduced nature. From the Louisiades, we will head straight for Port Moresby (and its secure, colonial yacht club), and then head out to sea and the Torres Strait, without hanging around in a town which is at number 5 in the list if the world’s most dangerous places ! There’s no way that I’ll expose my family to the worst of human nature… 

 

Our first night out at sea. The sea is so calm and shiny that the stars reflect in the water all around the boat in a slow magical dance. It’s a beautiful and unique thing to see. It was a rare event that I had never yet experienced out at sea. 

However, a swell suddenly arrived from somewhere to the south, which woke the crew from their slumbers. A black squall had taken residence right above us. The weather started to get worse. There were two reefs in the mainsail and we were battling against strong winds and rain! A few hours later, Jangada found herself in a terrible zone full of squalls. On all sides we were confronted with low banks of cloud, each one darker than the other! Then things got worse. I suddenly spotted a waterspout, forming in the wind of the squall which had just left us a few minutes previously! It was no more than 2 or 3 miles away. We watched the phenomenon for several minutes. The sea was raging to the right of the monstrous spout which climbed up into the sky. And then the spout disappeared. It had lasted 5 or 6 minutes…      For around 15 hours, we weathered torrential rain mixed in with strong gusts of wind, on a dark, uninviting sea. We made constant maneuvers in an attempt to head west, as it seemed that that was where a particularly lively tradewind was picking up. After each maneuver, the dripping wet crew would head under the relative sanctuary of the coachroof, to drink tea, dry off and dream of southern seas. The real ones, that are hot and sunny! Well there’s no doubt that the western Pacific has a few surprises up its sleeve! Over the last few months and over several thousand miles, I had been learning all about its nasty side…   

 

The next day, a southerly wind picked up across our gray sea, usually the sign that the tradewind was returning. The mainsail and the gennaker were quickly put to work. We ...

Log in

Password forgotten ?

Become a member

Become a Multihulls World Community Member for free and get exclusive benefits

Become a member

Share this article