Tag in the WaterWhile we were in Samarai, PNG, the kids had a week off from school, so everybody went to the Dingy docks. The docks were in a bad state of disrepair, so there was lots of stuff to jump off (over razor sharp coral). When you wiped out, you would come up with the sound of good natured laughter in your ears. In this picture we are playing water tag. We had the surfboards out, and all the kids would scramble to join us when the tagger jumped in the water. We would be much faster on the surfboard and it would be hard to tag us.The kids in Samurai had probably never seen a surfboard because they seemed so excited about it. The long board would hold four, while the short board would hold three. The pier in the background was a favorite jumping spot. It looked to be 5 meters (16ish feet) above the water at low tide. Who would expect, that after three days of sailing in the middle of nowhere, you could come to a places where you can have fun with local kids in crystal clear water?
MatesThis is John John, my mate from PNG. He sailed over to Cairns (pronounced Cai-ins) with his great-grandfather, Brian Hull, who is thelocal SSCA (Seven Seas Chruising Association) representative in Port Moresby, PNG. This is right after we wentswimming in a creek. In Cairns, when the average daily temperature in summer is 33 degrees, a cool fresh water creek feels REALLY good. We started at the topmost of the little falls, thenwalked down to a part of the cascade that had a waterfall which could be used as a slide. On the way down there was a place where people would jump of a 15 meter (47ish feet) high cliff. Quite crazy. By a waterfall further down the creek, we found some snorkeling goggles that someone must have forgotten. I looked at the waterfall underwater. The water streaming aroung your head really makes it feel as if you are flying really fast. I would go back anytime.
The View South from the top of Malabar HillYou are looking at Mount Lidgebird (on the left) and Mount Gower (on the right) from Malabar Hill on Lord Howe Island. We actually climbed up Mt. Gower. It was the longest (8 hours) and toughest hike we have ever done. The trail wasn't marked, so you had to go with a guide. This meant they only stopped at certain places. It wasn't the length of the trail that made it exhausting, but a mix of the grade and terrain. One part of the trail was really rocky and steep, we had to stop thrice! In many places they had installed ropes to help you climb and to keep you from falling. One person even opted to stay at a rest point, it was that tiring. After some 3 hours hiking on rough terrain, you get to the peak, and then its another hour of walking to get to the lookout. As the top is often covered in fog, the ground is very slippery. One time I slipped and almost fell 600 meters to my doom. Fortunatly, I was holding on to a branch. If that would had failed...!? I noticed later that my trajectory would have had a tree going between my legs. That would have hurt, but it would have been better than falling. The view from the top was awesome. Add to that mixture the inquisitive Woodhens, and you get a nice place to eat lunch. The hike is very exhausting, but also rewarding. I would do it again if the the hike wasn't guided and you could do it at your own pace.
The First FishIn Baie de Prony, off the town of Prony in New Caledonia, I speared my first fish. It was a Parrot fish of unknown type, and tasted like Barra (Australian for Barramundi). We had just finished snorkeling, and I wanted to take the spear gun out. I had seen a fish that looked fat'n'juicy, and I decided to try and spear it. I took the spear gun from Nikki, loaded the gun (which is no easy feat), said “I'll see you in a bit” and turned the safety off. One twitch of my finger would send a meter of cold steel to end some unlucky fishe's life. Scary. Without going into the details of the hunt, I got the fish, yelled “I goh a hih”, and found out the fish was less than a foot long! The girls decided that they wanted to cray over the fish instead of congratulating me on my catch, and went "awwwwwwwww"! I had no qualms about this, because I myself thought it was a bit sad. Everybody decided that it would be a waste not to eat it, so we heated up the frying pan while I gutted and de-scaled the fish. I have tried a couple times to spear another, but I have had no luck. So far.
The wing-masted wave piercing aluminum eco-catThe wing-masted wave piercing aluminum eco-cat was on the visitors pontoon in Port Moselle, New Caledonia, during our first week there. He had come in from New Zealand. They were caught in a big low about a day off NZ. During the storm, they had some engine problems, so a tanker came to pick up their crew, who (obviously) wanted to get off. The sail was broken during this rescue operation. The owner sailed the rest of the way, determined not to lose his boat, which will happen when you abandon it. The cabin took up 2/3 of the boat, and the other third looked like someone took two aluminum canoes, covered them, and jammed them on the end of the hull under the cabin. These designs are very expensive. Boats like these are a rare sight, and I was glad one of them arrived here so I could admire it.