MADANG is often referred to as the most beautiful port in the South Pacific. And that's saying something. Certainly, there can be little argument that it is Papua New Guinea's prettiest port. And while offering scenic attraction next to none it also offers perfect comfort for the visiting boatmen plus enough facilities to make life easy. It is, in a nutshell, one of the finest places imaginable to rest for a month or two to leave the vessel securely moored while a trip home is undertaken.
As the key map opposite shows, Madang itself lies at the bottom of the harbour which stretches up the coast behind islets and reefs for about ten miles to Sek Harbour. At each extreme the anchorages are totally calm while in between the swell easily broaches the the reefs and carries onto the mainland. The entire harbour is thoroughly charted with a large-scale chart being available.
A large-scale map of the lower part of the harbour, which shows Madang Township, plus a large-scale of the anchorage is shown on the next page. This end of the harbour will be described here.
APPROACH from the east towards Madang Harbour is clear of offshore dangers and the only possible confusion could be caused by the similarity and the low profile of the islets protecting the lower section of the harbour. A well plotted and steered course is essential if the amount of last minute search time is to be reduced.
When very close to the harbour the entrance is unmistakable because of the obvious houses along the south coast, but especially because of the tall white lighthouse which doubles as a memorial to the Coast Watchers of World War II. This structure, incidentally, is floodlit at night with regular periods of dark.
Leading beacons, which are also lit at night, hold a vessel in the best water as it passes through Dallman Pass after which a visual course can be steered around the main shipping wharf and into the south-tending spur of the harbour where will be found the best anchorage.
ANCHORAGE can be had anywhere in the spur known as Binnen Harbour, its advantage being that a vessel can swing freely and thus enjoy maximum air flow in what is, remember, a very hot country. Its disadvantage is its distance from town but a good outboard motor will solve this. For those wanting greater security and convenience, the following will be of interest.
LARGE SCALE OF ABOVE
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Marr's Marina As the large scale map shows, this heading describes an area of Madang Harbour where a vessel can put an anchor out and tie stern up to the shoreline and thus enjoy total security and convenience to the township. I have called it 'Marr's Marina' only to perpetuate the name of Brian Marr who manages Rabaul Stevedores in Madang and who has given every consideration to the many cruising yachtsmen who have passed through here over the last ten years. A yachtsman himself, Brian may or may not be in Madang by the time this book is published and indeed if he is there is no guarantee that he will offer his facilities. I simply wish to acknowledge Brian's kindness on behalf of all those who have stayed awhile in Madang.
If it is impractical to leave your dinghy at Brian's premises it can be left on the remains of an old wharf from where a person must pass through the premises of Madang Tyres. Alternatively the premises of Steamships Slipway provide access to the main town road.
FACILITIES in Madang are rather expensive although diesel fuel tends to be well below Port Moresby prices. Most services will be found here including all banks, post office, service stations, restaurants, motels, club, hotels, and shops in their many varieties. There are. also engineering shops, slipways, electrical engineers, refrigeration services and so on.
The local market is second only to Rabaul and it opens six days a week (not Sundays).
Water is always difficult to load owing to the total absence of any wharfside taps (except at the main wharf which is only available to large ships). It is best to beg water whenever and wherever possible and keep the tanks topped up rather than try to completely refill at the last minute. Certainly take advantage of every rainstorm to collect water.
Similarly, fuel is not piped to any jetty but road tankers will deliver to any jetty nominated. The visitor must request permission from either Steamships or Burns Philp shipping or slipway managers who usually permit use of their jetty for a short time.
Those wishing to sight-see some of the country will find Madang well situated. Regular small buses run to Lae, a trip of around six hours, and others go north to Bogia. From the airport it is only a forty minute flight to Goroka where the world famous native show is held yearly. Madang is also serviced regularly by flights to and from Port Moresby.
HISTORY Settled by the German New Guinea Company and originally called Friederichwilhelmshafen, the town was abandoned in 1899 because of the heavy incidence of malaria. The eventual control of malaria and the obviously perfect harbour led to its re-establishment as a main port from which local products are shipped including copra, cocoa, coffee and, latterly, wood chip.
Madang became the main supply town for Highland centres such as Mount Hagen and Goroka and actually had more air traffic than any other airport in the southern hemisphere at one stage of its career. Trade to the highland centres dwindled when the Mount Hagen — Lae road was opened during the 1960's.
Madang today enjoys the distinction of having hydro-electric power from the Ramu River and, as yet, is one of the few large town unaffected by the pressures of suburbanism. The local people remain village-like in their friendliness and an air of peace prevails.
Opposite: Views of Madang Harbour. The top and bottom photographs show the best anchorage close to Steamship's Slipways and referred to in this book as Marr's Marina.
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