NORMANBY ISLAND III!!
NORMANBY ISLAND III!!
Wkife ubula island
No beach around
No beach around o
ANCHORAGE As shown on the large scale detail map, the best anch.orage in Laitana Inlet will be found in 20 metres immediately south west of the jetty or as far towards the narrow neck of the inlet as possible. Beware of sudden shoaling here.
The jetty should not be used without special permission and there are no services here. However, as stated, the anchorage is comfortable in any weather.
PAIPAININ A POINT lies on the north west extreme of Normanby Island and provides absolute millpond conditions regardless of weather. It is, however, tricky to enter during conditions of poor visibility because of difficulty in identifying the fringing reefs.
There is a village on the weather side of the headland and it is entirely possible that a canoeist will appear bearing fruit and vegetables. Prices should be fairly reasonable.
APPROACH Looking at a chart of the area one would expect to anchor in the bay formed by Observation Island. In fact the anchorage described here is further to the east in a shallow bay which is protected by land, reef and an unnamed islet. The approach is therefore not charted by either the British Admiralty or the Australian Navy.
As my map suggests, the best channel is through the fringing reefs off the unnamed islet and Normanby Island where a minimum depth of five metres will be found. Stand a good lookout and approach slowly as the exact position of these fringing reefs is difficult to establish except in ideal conditions.
Once through the entrance, turn slowly to starboard standing off the unnamed islet's fringing reef and come to anchor wherever suitable.
ANCHORAGE The bottom is off-white sand free of any foreign material with depths starting at around three metres near the mouth of the bay and diminishing to about one metre towards the mangroves at the bottom of the bay. There is at least one isolated reef patch in the bay as shown with probable heads of coral elsewhere although a fairly intensive search by the author failed to locate any.
DAWANGIONA JETTY Very close to where the bottom of the sea drops to around 445 fathoms, off the south western tip of Fergusson Island, one would not expect to find anchorage of any description. In fact, there is no anchorage but there is a small wharf which serves Dawangiona Village and the surrounding plantations. When vacant it would seem that the visitor may berth here (I did not establish any ruling on this during my visit).
The jetty is close north of Cape Mourilyan which is the southern gatepost to Moresby Strait — two names which remind us that the Basilisk surveyed the area in 1873. It is situated in a break in the fringing reef with ample water to float any yacht which may visit. Do not be tempted to anchor here. There is not enough room to swing and the approach to the jetty must be kept clear.
Beacons will be seen on the fringing reefs as shown on the map.
GOODENOUGH ISLAND is the smallest of the three major islands under review here (Normanby and Fergusson whose anchorages have been described). It deserves special mention here because within its base limits of 21 miles north and south and 15 miles east and west, it has peaks reaching up 2544 metres — higher than Australia's highest mountain — and covering a large rock in its interior, up in the mountains, are native paintings. Regarded by the natives with veneration and awe, its similarity with a rock painting found in Central Australia poses many questions.
There is a government station at Bodo Boda (also spent Bola Bola) on the eastern coast of Goodenough with an airstrip at Vivigani.
The average boatman will not visit the east coast and therefore anchorages on the west coast only are described next.
GAL AIWA BAY is to the west of Cape Watts, the southern sentinel of Goodenough Island. It offers excellent anchorage tucked in behind the islet as shown on the large scale map where 25 metres will be found between the fringing reefs. The best approach is outside this islet although a deep channel between it and Goodenough does exist.
A medium sized village is situated further into Galaiwa Bay beyond which is a lagoon which is inaccessible to vessels of moderate draft. A very fine native garden will be seen rising up the hill behind the anchorage here suggesting that fresh fruit and vegetables are available for sale or trade.
TALEBA BAY has the appearance on the chart of not providing much of a lee from the south east wind. In fact, a north west tending hook in the headland, behind which lies the bay, gives absolute protection and calm water to the south west corner of the bay.
Unfortunately the water is very deep here, the shallowest being 35 metres, however, a vessel can lie anchor out and stern line ashore close to the remains of an old jetty where there is a break in the fringing reef. Comfort is assured providing the wind does not get into the westerly half of the compass.
TAWANAGUNA BAY lies just south of the western extreme of Good-enough Island (Cape Rawlinson) and is surrounded by the most magnificent mountain scenery. It is also lacking any evidence of human habitation and there are no plantations along this part of the coast.
The actual bay lies between Cape Womabu and Cape Muwa (or Muwa Rock) and terminates in the south east corner in a fresh water creek.
The anchorage is totally calm in even the wildest south east weather, but unfortunately is also very deep offering only a steeply shelving sand-bank off the creek as an area in which to anchor. Because the shelving is too steep for a vessel to swing without either dragging onto or off the shelf, a stern line is best taken ashore. Because of the extent of the sandbank off the creek, this line must be very long.
Approaching the bay from offshore, the most conspicuous mark is the grass face of Cape Varieta which lies one mile south of the bay.
This 47 mile trek can be made after dark if necessary as there are no hazards en route until Veale Reef is encountered nearly ten miles south east of Tufi Harbour in Cape Nelson. Veale Reef and its neighbour is lighted as are two large leading beacons over Tufi which show the best water for final approach to the headland.
The offshore reef beacons are conspicuous white pillars and the Tufi leading beacons are white oblongs on the hill.
TROBRIAND ISLANDS (also called Kiriwina Islands) From Goodenough Island, Fergusson Island or Normanby Island the passage to the Trobriand Islands will in all probability be made by those bent on visiting the 'islands of love', as they have been called.
I did not visit this group because of disenchanted tales from all those who had recently visited the area and who brought back consistently poor reports. It seems that the islands of love have become the islands of dissent, with a sort of low key power struggle going on between the elders, who want to retain the old ways, and the young who couldn't care less.
But the politics of the place did not deter me; it was the advice that the locals had become terribly aggressive in their efforts to sell their carvings. The direct result of this is that a boatman seldom has a moment's peace, being surrounded, if not boarded regularly, by natives who see only dollar signs above your head.
It appears that direct tourist connections between Moresby and the Trobriands has done irreparable damage to the attitude of the locals and I, for one, can do without the heavy sell. Be that as it may, there can be no denying the excellence of the Trobriand Islander's art. They remain the best wood carvers in the country, even if their prices are inflated.
Those seeking trophies of their visit should, under the circumstances, visit the Trobriands, and for those the following sketchy information is provided.
The 50 miles from the north side of Fergusson Island to the Trobriands is littered with shoals. A passage is charted but a careful lookout must be kept to remain on the charted path. Under no circumstance risk being caught out after dark.
The normal boat anchorage, once at the Trobriands, is off the government station at Losuia on the largest island of the group normally called Kiriwina.
A large ex World War II airstrip caters for regular tourist flights from Port Moresby.
Keefs off "Hie Sourt-» and west" coast of
Goodenough Island are accurately own or-» updated charts . but" a looKout should be.
TAWANA GUNA BAY
Approaching the wharf at Tufi.
Cape Nelson is low and featureless from a distance. Here it bears north-west.
CAPE NELSON is like a huge deformed hand with dozens of stubby fingers pointing to the sea between which are the most delightful bays offering the boatman total security, magnificent scenery, and friendly villagers.
The main town, or government stations, is Tufi which is separately described later. It lies on the eastern extreme of the headland inside one of the many inlets.
There are far more potential anchorages around this headland than I can possibly do justice to here. Only three are described, Tufi, Afati and Porlock. Others can be used at the visitor's discretion but I should warn that many of the inlets are so fiordlike in character that the depths are too great for anchoring.
TUFI HARBOUR This is a fiordlike inlet which penetrates the eastern extremity of Cape Nelson. It is not suitable for anchoring because of its great depth but a jetty is available to the visitor when it is not being used commercially.
The government station has most essential services represented with four Europeans being stationed here in 1978, including the overseer of the local fisheries department which has a freezer near the jetty and runs a fleet of cabin dories. Tank water piped to the freezer room might be available during the wet season but this is not a service and should in no way be expected.
Like many of the inlets around Cape Nelson, Tufi Harbour is deep with high hills on each side. The jetty beneath the settlement offers the only security to a visiting boat owing to the tremendous depths which deny anchoring.
Fuel can be purchased from the owner of the local boarding house but the price is high and loading is difficult.
Tufi was the first government station on the north side of what was then just Papua to cater for the goldminers of the period. It was used as a PT Boat base during World War II and it is said that two boats caught fire taking with them much of the wharf and shore installations. Later, in 1971, the installations and much of the town were again destroyed by a freak cyclone which was not only way off course, but was very late, striking the area during May.
The approach to Tufi is through the offshore reefs holding the leading beacons as mentioned earlier. From the north it is a matter of standing off the headland a safe distance until Tufi is identified. Final approach into the harbour is clear of all hazards and for night approach a light has been based on the third headland upstream on the north side of the harbour. It is strictly a steering mark and is not one of two leading beacons (not shown on illustration).
Those wishing to fly into or out of Tufi can catch a small Talair plane which flies to Popondetta every Monday, Wednesday and Friday where regular flights to Moresby and beyond are available.
AFATI BAY Another inlet in Cape Nelson, this magnificent bay is devoid of habitation except for a few garden and fishing huts close to the water and Angorogo Village behind the hill to the east. Steep brown cliffs capped with rolling green hills are conspicuous on the western side and the best anchorage is in 12 to 15 metres to the south east of this headland. Comfort is absolute in any weather and the holding is good in mud.
PORLOCK HARBOUR is one of the only inlets in Cape Nelson which have been properly charted and might be found on the chart in a large scale inset. My soundings here are taken from the chart.
The foreshores of Porlock Harbour are lined with mangroves making access difficult for those wanting to stretch their legs ashore, and those wanting privacy will not appreciate Aku Village. However, depending on the mood at the time, the bay will be found peaceful and calm with fresh water available where shown for those willing to crash through the mangroves and strike upstream.
120 miles of coast from Cape Nelson to Morobe Harbour is monumentally uninteresting, the mountains recede into the background where they readily disappear under cloud leaving only densely wooded flat, low shoreline.
A number of rivers enter the sea along here but none are suitable for navigation and all turn the sea brown with silt at their mouths. Anchorages are few and far between with none offering comfort as long as a swell is running. It is a stretch of coast which must either be sailed non stop or taken in fairly long hops with only poor anchorages at the end of each run. These anchorages, which are described later are, Port Harvey and Oro Bay, Cape Ward Hunt and Mambare Bay then Morobe Harbour which more than compensates for the miseries of reaching it by its absolute all weather comfort.
Being rather featureless, the coast does not offer many opportunities of fixing a position so great care with course plotting and steering must be taken. There are also many shoals along the route but apparently none are of a depth which would concern the small boat skipper. Caution should nevertheless be exercised.
CAPE NELSON HEADLAND
CAPE NELSON BEACONS
PORT HARVEY About 35 miles west from Porlock Harbour across Dyke Acland Bay the land, which all but disappears into mangrove swamps, rises again into a group of hills at the base of which are two distinct bays. One is called Port Harvey, the other Oro Bay. Neither reward the boatman with much comfort but such is the nature of the coast from here up to Morobe Harbour that any anchorage might be preferred to day-and-night sailing.
Port Harvey is a forked bay, the southern most inlet proving the best anchorage. The holding is excellent and a coral beach close by permits shore access and the chance of a swim, but a persistent swell invades the bay causing considerable discomfort.
ORO BAY is, if anything, worse than Port Harvey in terms of comfort, the swell losing little as it rolls into the bay. However, those wishing to fly out of the country or to other centres will find a sealed road running from the settlement here up to Popondetta where regular flights connect with Port Moresby.
Oro Bay has been developed as an international port for the shipping of palm oil, there being a large solid concrete wharf on the southern bank with tanks and sheds behind.
CAPE WARD HUNT ANCHORAGES As shown on the bottom of the map page, containing Port Harvey and Oro Bay, Cape Ward Hunt provides two anchorages, neither of which are very exciting. Douglas Harbour is an uninhabited inlet to the south of the cape where the holding is good but the swell can be miserable, and Iu Bay, around the corner, also suffers from the easterly swell but tends to be slightly more comfortable and certainly less exposed if the trade wind is blowing hard.
Iu Bay should be approached with caution, using the depth sounder and lookout to find the best water within the break in the fringing reef. If it is decided to abandon the anchorage, another is available further to the west in Mambare Bay as described next.
Cape Ward Hunt is beach-fronted behind which is a large village which is conspicuous from the north around to the east. Mitre Rock, lying offshore less than one mile distant to the north east is spectacular in that it is higher than its width. The light, now situated on the cape itself, was once established on Mitre Rock.
Mitre Rock lies close offshore from Cape Ward Hunt.
Cape Ward Hunt bears north. Mitre Rock arrowed.
MAMBARE BAY lies to the west of Cape Ward Hunt and because it lacks the character of a proper bay, does not eliminate the swell. As a result, comfort will not be enjoyed here unless an anchor is taken out astern to hold the vessel fore and aft to the swell. It does, however, promise good holding in mud or black sand.
The best anchorage is between Ambush Point and Dead Mangrove Point towards a group of fishing huts behind a dark sand beach where four metres depth will be found. Vessels drawing no more than 1.5 metres and whose skipper is anxious to remain awhile in total calm can be taken into a sort of lagoon hard in behind the sand spit to the west of Ambush Point where the vessel must be held fore and aft. This is shown in the inset on the Mambare Bay map.
MOROBE HARBOUR is a totally enclosed inlet 36 miles north west of Cape Ward Hunt. It is surrounded by steep, densely wooded hills broken only by native gardens here and there. The small settlement of Morobe stands on the headland immediately inside the harbour where a jetty will be seen. There are no facilities here beyond a government representative who may assist the visitor anxious to send mail or contact the outside world.
Two streams, the Moa River and Hideout Creek enter the harbour from the west and two lagoons, Mou and Eware feed from the harbour through a narrow, fast running entrance in the south east corner. These three features are described separately.
APPROACH From the south east is a matter of common sense, there being shoals extending off Cape Waria and Manila Reef to avoid. Both these areas are rather forgiving because of the general depth of water over them but are best avoided nevertheless.
From the north the Luard Islands, a low profile palm and scrub covered group, extend offshore forming a barrier across the path. The inshore island, Tosapeit, is
Above: Hideout Creek is navigatable for a couple of miles upstream by the average yacht. It enters Morobe Harbour from the south-west. Below: The jettv at Morobe. The settlement is basic with no Europeans.
The entrance to Mou and Eware Lagoons from Morobe Harbour is deep and narrow with strong tides which cause a 'downhill' effect. The lagoons are well worth a visit by outboard dinghy.
Eware Village lies on a narrow neck of land between ocean and lagoon. This is the lagoon side.
the easiest to identify from a distance and it can be held fairly close to the west after which a dogleg in the course is necessary to clear on the inside, a reef lying to its south east. This reef does not support a sand cay as is advertised by some of the older charts.
Once within the harbour proper there are no dangers beyond the fringing reef which spurs out here and there and is often difficult to see because of the density of the water.
ANCHORAGE can be brought up immediately off the entrance to Mou Lagoon in 20 metres as shown. It is comfortable in all weather, there being no swell.
Mou Lagoon is entered through a narrow channel connecting it with Morobe Harbour. While I suspect a fairly large vessel could actually be taken into the lagoon, the timing would have to be perfect because the tide runs in and out of the lagoon at up to six knots. Owing to the vast quantity of water which must daily enter and escape the lagoon, there is actually a difference in level between the harbour and the lagoon by as much as 0.3 metres. A dinghy runs downhill for about 100 metres and to fight back uphill must be capable of a speed of at least six knots.
From Mou Lagoon a dinghy can be taken into Eware Lagoon where Eware Village will be seen sitting on the narrow neck of land separating the lagoon from the sea. It is an idyllic spot and the locals are very friendly.
Hideout Creek can be entered by vessels drawing no more than 1.8 metres at high tide and greater depth will be found inside. Except for exploratory purposes there is little sense in the manoeuvre owing to the security of the harbour proper. Also the mosquitoes might prove overwhelming.
MORT HARBOUR If Papua New Guinea had cyclones, and I had a choice of anchorages under such a threat I would choose Mort Harbour without question. It is absolutely landlocked with a narrow entrance which guarantees the elimination of any swell.
The harbour consists of two spurs, each offering equal security, but the south eastern one will in most cases be chosen because of its proximity to the entrance and consequent convenience to a passing craft.
There are no inhabitants around the harbour foreshores which are steep and rugged with heavy foliage denying a landing in most places. The only truly suitable place to go ashore, and perhaps enjoy a swim, is on the beach immediately outside the harbour along the isthmus which forms the south eastern headland.
During my visit to Mort Harbour in 1978 there was evidence of scrub clearing with heavy equipment on the headland where shown on the map. A workmen's camp was also established opposite. Although the impression was of a timber getting party, it has been said that mineral sands are being taken from a river in the vicinity and that the work in Mort Harbour might be part of that enterprise.
THE COAST, MORT HARBOUR TO LAE is backed by impressive, high, densely wooded mountains which fall sheer into the sea at many places. A number of well defined bays and harbours are created but none provide convenient anchorage owing to the great depths. Not having anchored in any of them I cannot advise precisely and the visitor with nothing to do might enjoy poking into the many bays searching for shoal water and its relative security.
The Longuerue Islands are the only group along this short stretch of coast and they, like the nearby mainland, do not offer good anchorage owing to the depth
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