Tuesday, March 5, 2019

A Little Fun in Kavieng

Feb 19-Mar 4 Kavieng, Papua New Guinea
Google Maps Link to Kavieng

The rudder repair was not the only thing we did during our two weeks in Kavieng.

Dave was really keen to dive some of the World War II wrecks in Kavieng. We had planned to dive with Jase and Jolene who were temporarily running the primary dive operation in Kavieng (Scuba Ventures). We thought we could negotiate a multi-dive group rate as a package deal. Often dive operations will offer a "cruiser rate" as they know most of us are unemployed and on a tight budget. Plus most cruisers are experienced divers and usually have their own gear. It's a no-brainer in our opinion, if the dive boat has space and is already going out, adding another self-sufficient diver is almost "free money".

Dave and Craig in our Local Dive Boat

Jase sympathized but said he was limited in what he could do for us, discount-wise. And a couple of our divers were on a really tight budget. So we contacted Clem from Clem's Place in New Hanover (our previous stop) to see if he knew of a local dive guide in Kavieng. Everyone already had all their own gear, so we just needed a guy who knew where the dive spots were and boat big enough for 4 divers. It turned out that Clem was in Kavieng when we were--waiting on something to come into Kavieng, and he offered to round up a friend with a boat and take us diving.

Dave Checking out a Kate Torpedo Bomber

The first price we got from Clem was amazingly cheap and seemed too good to be true, and it turned out to be not quite a complete price. After we added the price for a few necessities (like a boat, fuel, dive gear for the guide, and tank fills) our cost per diver was about half what Dive Kavieng offered us as their best discount. Sue on Ocelot spent 3 days in fervent text message negotiations with Clem via WhatsApp, and ultimately got things nailed down.

Dave Inspecting an Empty Artillery Shell

So our divers (Dave, Craig from Berzerker, and Jon and Sue from Ocelot) were able to do a few days of discount diving in an open boat and a local dive guide who didn't speak much English. I'm sure our experience would have been MUCH better and easier with Scuba Ventures, but it was OK taking the budget approach, and more importantly met the budget restrictions of our friends. Tip: It's difficult buddy-boating with people who have different interests and budget than you do. We all managed to make it work--4 boats cruising in company for 3 1/2 months, but it was ticklish at times!

Another thing we managed to work out was a day trip down the coast of Kavieng on the Boluminski Highway to see a few sights. We were still waiting for the rudder to finish drying and wanted to see a little more of New Ireland (the PNG island that Kavieng is on). This trip I got to go on, as it didn't involve getting my leg wet, and I was starting to feel better. Liz on Indigo had gotten the number of a tourist van operator. With a little negotiation we managed to hire a nice van (but no aircon) with a driver and "tour guide" for the day that could take all of us. The normal tour cost for the day trip from the hotel was $100 USD per person, but we managed to go direct to the van operator and hire the van for the day for about $35 USD, no frills (ie we bring our own lunch, water, and pay our own admission, if required, to wherever we stopped). $35 USD pp is still a little high for a day trip, but we were to find the Kavieng prices were some of the highest in PNG, because they are so far out on the supply chain.

Our Little Tour Group

One of the big attractions on the Kavieng Day Trip is Cathy's Eel Farm at Lairabina Village. Sadly, Cathy had just passed away a couple of days before, and the village was preparing for the funeral (to be held the next day). Our guide called ahead and managed to get us an opportunity to see Cathy's eels, as our entry fee is what supports the village. We also got to see the women of the village preparing for the feast associated with a rather large funeral gathering.

The eels were really cool. They are in a clear freshwater stream that runs through the village. Tourists come in and buy the Eel Food (canned tuna, I think it was) and then you can feed it to the eels. You are standing in the stream with these 5-6 feet long and 4-5 inches in diameter eels slithering around your feet. With my infected sores, I didn't dare get in the water, so I was left to take pictures from a safe distance. I didn't get a very good picture, as everyone was standing in the way. But someone else got a good shot of the eels that I could share with you.

These Eels are HUGE!

Another stop we made was at the Treehouse Village Resort. Here is what Lonely Planet has to say about the place: "The Treehouse Village Resort has a series of traditional-style, fan-cooled bungalows on stilts overlooking the beach. Two units are perched up a 200-year-old Calophyllum tree, above the dining room." Sounds cool, but a coastal storm a few months ago kind of beat it up, and it wasn't open.

One of the Treehouse Resort Houses in a Tree

The people who lived in the Treehouse Resort Community were very friendly, and we spent quite some time talking (or attempting to talk) to them, and taking pictures all around.

The Friendly People at the Treehouse Resort Village

On the way back to Kavieng, we took a refreshing stop at a local swimming hole. Of course, I had to sit out and take pictures.

The Swimming Hole

We also made a quick stop at a fruit stand to buy Dave bananas. These ladies were very friendly.

A Road-Side Fruit Stand

Of course, on the way back into Kavieng, we had to stop and see what World War II relics there were.

A WWII Shore Gun in Front of the Methodist Church

Dave Examines and Documents For PacificWrecks.com

Checking out the Rifling (and the Trash) Inside the Barrel

And This is Me, Tired and Ready for a Cold Beer
"Just another rusty bit in the jungle..."

On another day, our crews dinghied over to Nusa Island, the island adjacent to (north of) Nusa Island Retreat and hiked to the blow holes and also saw some more World War II relics. There was a small per-person fee that goes to the owners of Nusa island. I was still healing, so did not go, but here are a few pictures from Dave's camera.

The Northern Tip of Nusa Island

A Small Sample of the "Blow" (Better at Some Tides)

One of the Guns Rusting in the Jungle

Another Big Gun

A Coconut Crab Living Inside the Barrel

A Command Center "Pillbox"

The Entrance--Made for Small Men!

For many more pictures of the exciting World War II relics we encountered during our travels in PNG and the Solomon Islands, check out Dave's presentation "Exploring the WWII Relics of Melanesia (New Guinea & Solomons)" on our Presentations Page.

For much more information on cruising in Papua New Guinea, download our free 285-page cruising guide, the Papua New Guinea Compendium, from here: http://svsoggypaws.com/files/#sw-pacific

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