The town of Madang offers all basic facilities to the boatman but remains a quiet, pleasant backwater despite its strategic importance to the Highlands and the north coast.
SEK ISLAND (shown on small scale map) is the northern-most island of the group guarding the seaward edge of Madang and Sek Harbours. It provides good anchorage, where shown, under the hook of the northern end on the western side where will be seen a small village. I understand that animals were once commercially slaughtered here with the offal being dumped into the harbour. The rumour was that sharks were prolific as a result. There was no evidence of this in 1978 and we swam and scrubbed off regardless. There is a Japanese plane lying on its back in about thirty feet of water just to the north of Sek Island.
SEK HARBOUR (Alexishafen) is literally the northern end of what everyone thinks of as Madang Harbour. It is secure and comfortable for those boatmen wishing to visit Alexishafen where will be found a huge Catholic Mission.
Alexishafen Mission is actually the depot for the many missions around north Papua New Guinea and as a result is has a large maintenance engineering and woodworking shop, slipway and bulk store. There is also a hospital and school, and fresh bread baked regularly. The huge concrete wharf, although bent from earthquake damage, is an ideal berth providing permission is granted. As shown
on the large scale map, water is piped to the western, inner edge of the wharf although being only bore water it should not be consumed without boiling. With the huge open area of wharf and the close proximity of fresh water, this would have to be the greatest place anywhere for laying out sails for washing and repair. But once again permission must be sought.
Alexishafen Mission was started by the Germans in 1907. During World War II the European Priests, Nuns and mission workers were shipped by the Japanese to (then) Hollandia in West Irian. Half were killed during an American attack. Later the Allies rescued them from Hollandia and took them to Australia where, at Moorebank, N.S.W. a Seminary was started, some students from which are now stationed back at Alexishafen.
Diesel fuel and petrol are available here at a slightly higher price than in Madang.
BOSTREM BAY on the northern extreme of Sek Harbour is a deep completely protected bay offering perfect haven for any vessel. Around the foreshores will be seen extensions to Alexishafen Mission in the form of schools, a seminary, and jetties. The bottom is very sticky mud making Bostrem Bay an ideal storm anchorage.
KAR KAR ISLAND Lying about thirty miles north (magnetic) of Madang, Kar Kar Island is a high, densely wooded single mass with an active volcano which periodically demands human evacuation. Because of the heat which rises from the crater, Kar Kar is often under cloud and is rarely seen in complete outline.
The island is circled by about 50 kilometres of road and there are many villages around the perimeter with Europeans working as plantation managers, school teachers and mission workers.
Two anchorages on Kar Kar Island will be described next.
KURUM is a Lutheran Mission station having a hospital, plantations and trade stores. It is not a calm anchorage because the swell easily survives the offshore reefs. The bottom is sand and coral patches with swinging room off the wharf in seven to ten metres. Those wishing to remain at Kurum may lay alongside the small jetty (with permission). Like most Papua New Guinea jetties, it leaves much to be desired in terms of mooring bitts and fender piles.
BISON BAY is approximately halfway along the west coast of Kar Kar Island where anchorage is confined to a shoaling area close to a fresh water creek where will be seen a bridge. To maintain position here it is necessary to take a stern line ashore, which will also act to reduce the effect of the swell.
ULINGAN HARBOUR (Ettel Friedrich Harbour), on the mainland, to the west of Kar Kar Island, is not what it seems. Appearing for the world like a weather-proof cul de sac, it is in fact attacked by the ocean swell to such a degree that a vessel must anchor fore and aft if she is not to roll heavily. Once the bow is up-swell it is quite comfortable.
The dirt road from Lae-Madang to Bogia brushes Ulingan Harbour and a small bus runs daily both ways. The trade store on the roadside sells basics and fuel while about seven kilometres along the road to the north there is a medical aid centre.
~ Bison bolj
~ Bison bolj
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