New Guinea Boats
The main shipping wharf in Kieta Harbour, Bougainville Island.

ARAWA is a brand new town built on the site of Arawa Plantation which was purchased outright by the copper mine. The present Customs House at Arawa is the original plantation house.

The township consists of post office, banks, boutiques, fast food shops, travel agents, a large hospital and a supermarket which would do the largest Sydney suburb proud. Incidentally, the supermarket proved to be the best place for buying tobacoo in the entire country. In short, Arawa tries to satisfy most needs and will certainly prove a better place than Kieta for stocking the galley.

ANEWA BAY has been developed for the use of ore ships only. It is not to be used by small ships.

PANGUNA is a large township in the mountain behind Kieta and Arawa and is owned and developed by Bougainville Copper Limited primarily for its employees. It is an interesting place to visit and worth the hiring of a car for the day.

ROROWANA BAY lies just around the corner to the west of Kieta and scarcely deserves a visit by the yachtsman making a passage. However, it provides fair haven in rather deep water off a pretty fringing coral reef. The villagers here will almost certainly pay you a visit.

MABIRI CAPE is approximately 18 miles north west of Kieta Peninsula and is protected from seaward by Mabiri Reef on which will be seen a small cargo vessel sitting high and dry.


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Above: Kobuan Bay is the best anchorage in Kieta area and is unusual for its shelving bottom. Below: A big hole in the ground where a mountain used to be is Panguna, the Bougainville Copper Mine near Kieta.

Old Pictures Arawa Town

Above: Arawa is a brand new town a few miles north of Kieta. It is built on an old plantation with the Customs Department situated in the old house. Below: The town of Kieta, on the waterfront, offers most conveniences to visiting boatmen.

Old Pictures Arawa Town

Mabiri Cape, to the north of Kieta, has this old shed and wharf against its eastern side. Immediately offshore from here will be seen a conspicuous wreck on the barrier reef.

From the east of Mabiri Cape a derelict wharf projects into the sea with a conspicuous shed behind it. Under the lee of the cape there is a large, rather untidy looking village consisting mostly of iron shacks. Anchorage can be had here in 20 to 30 metres.

NUMA NUMA HARBOUR provides perfectly calm conditions for an extended stay behind a maze of offshore reefs. Numa Numa Plantation occupies the whole land area here employing some 500 natives and a few Europeans. The manager is Mr Stewart Campbell whose permission must be gained if a berth alongside the company jetty is required.

APPROACH is possible through the maze of small reefs extending south east from Numa Numa. However the visitor is strongly advised to stand outside the obvious main reef which extends from the mainland in a north east direction. The western most tip of this reef protrudes into the large scale map accompanying this description.

Having cleared this reef, follow its obvious edge around until plain, white triangular leading beacons are brought into sight at which time stakes protruding from the reef will be seen.

ANCHORAGE is over sand at about 18 metres with the jetty bearing approximately east south east. As stated earlier, the jetty itself can be used with the permission of the plantation manager.

FACILITIES are limited and expensive here, being primarily installed for the plantation and not visiting boats. However, both distillate and petrol can be purchased from bowsers ashore at a very high price and a small trade store close to the jetty offers a very basic variety of commodities.

Perhaps the most unique feature of Numa Numa's facilities is the availability of power on the jetty with a 24 hour power source from the plantation's own generators.

HISTORY Of all the Bougainville natives, the Numa Numa villagers were amongst -the least trustworthy, the traders of last century never being sure whether they would leave with their heads or not. As an example, the coastal steamer Ripple under the command of Captain Ferguson was attacked here and many of the crew murdered. The skipper and a few of the crew managed to



escape and report the incident to the chief of the Shortland Islands, Gorai, who was very friendly with the Europeans. Gorai dispatched a number of war canoes to Numa Numa where a month long battle eventually wiped out every villager, whether they participated in the murder or not.

Numa Numa suffered during World War II from heavy bombing. It is interesting that in many of the plantations along this coast there will be seen shrapnel wounds in the older coconut palms. Some have complete holes right through the trunk.

INUS POINT ANCHORAGE lies behind a large fringing reef stretching to the east and north of Inus Point. It is exactly eight miles north west from Numa Numa and is also a plantation. It is managed by John and Patricia Channing-Pearce.

Although troubled slightly by swell, fair overnight anchorage can be enjoyed where shown on the large scale map immediately off the beach in 10 metres. A house will be seen from here in the bush.

TEOP HARBOUR is a deep and commodious bay to the immediate south of Cape L'Averdy and is protected from the south east trade wind by Teop Islet and its fringing reef which also embraces diminutive Heron Islet. The swell carries right inside Teop Harbour making the only calm anchorage

Raua Harbour is completely enclosed except for its narrow entrance and is very deep. There is a large village and a plantation here.


Sketch Hydraulic Ram Pump





that is shown on the map. It is to the immediate west of Teop Island close to where the fringing reef connects to the mainland. A beacon will be seen marking the channel into this anchorage which should be passed to port.

COAST TEOP TO BUKA PASSAGE The character of the land changes here from one of beach front to low steep limestone cliffs topped with dense jungle. There are numerous caves with a scattering of beaches and here and there houses will be seen with a substantial looking church about five miles south east of Buka.

Only Tinputs and Raua Harbours are suitable for small boat protection with Raua being the better of the two by far. These are described next.

TINPUTS HARBOUR is a major government station with post office, police station and mission with a new jetty and barge ramp to facilitate the loading of a variety of craft which regularly visit the harbour. The swell readily finds its way into Tinputs and the depths are extreme making anchorage here all but impossible. A visit should be limited to a mail pickup or similar with the jetty being used temporarily.

RAUA HARBOUR is a superb little landlocked basin seven miles to the west of Tinputs and surrounded by coconut palms belonging to an old and well established plantation. The manager's house is close to the workers' compound and the assistant manager's house on the top of the eastern headland. This position was occupied by John and Lin Hildebrandt in 1978 and the visitor is made to feel at home. John is a keen photographer and a capable man with diesel engines.

The harbour is very deep leaving the visitor no choice other than to anchor towards the beach where the ground quickly shoals from 50 to one metre. The bottom is sand and it may be necessary to lay two anchors to prevent the vessel dragging off, or onto, the shelf.

BUKA PASSAGE The favourite story around Buka is that the stream runs through this gap between Bougainville Island and Buka Island at up to twelve knots. This is absurd. However, strong currents must be expected and it is entirely possible to find a strength of seven knots with more likely speeds being five to six.

The making tide runs south west while the ebb tide runs north east. This is indicated by the arrows on the large scale map.

Bonis Plantation lies on the Bougainville side where will be seen a jetty which might be used as a temporary berth if permission is gained from the manager whose house is close to the wharf. Otherwise, a vessel must continue through the passage to find anchorage amongst the reef to the south of Sohana Island or where indicated by an anchor close to Cape Lalahan using Madehas Island as a lee from the south easterly wind. Neither anchorage is particularly exciting and the visitor might find it an advantage to arrange his passage so that an anchorage in Queen Carola Harbour can be reached before dark. If determined to remain in the area, for which a comfortable anchorage will be required, there is little alternative other than to enter the bay to the north of Madehas Island where comfort is assured but the scenery and shore access is rather poor. Beware of isolated reefs in here.

When entering or leaving Buka Passage through the western end, a number of beacons will be seen showing the reefs between Minan Island and Nasogo Island.

Madehas Island

Top: Buka Passage entrance (arrowed) bears north-west. Bottom: The western end of Buka Passage from inside. The passage is deep and all reefs are beaconed but the fast tide can cause some distress to underpowered craft.

Bonis Plantation, on Bougainville Island at the eastern end of Buka Passage, has a jetty (under the shed) to where visitors may tie with permission from the management and a willingness to regularly move for local traffic.

These hold no secrets and are easily identified but it must be remembered that if a favourable tide is being used they are approached and passed very quickly keeping the navigator on his toes to keep up with them. The beacons are not shown on the maps accompanying this description and the large scale chart should be carried.

There are Chinese owned trade stores along the Buka Island side of the passage and a government station is situated on Sohana Island. Jetties will be seen at both these centres.

QUEEN CAROLA HARBOUR is a reef and island protected part of the western coast of Buka Island. Plantations line the banks with a major plantation being situated on Cape Dunganon. A number of villages will also be seen on the islands and on Buka itself.

The harbour is generally shallow enough to permit easy anchorage anywhere and it is a matter for the visitor to locate the best anchorage to suit his needs and the weather.

PASSAGE BUKA TO NEW IRELAND This 110 mile open ocean passage across the north east Solomon Sea is assisted by a considerable westerly current which is the end of the South Equatorial Current. It can give as much as two knots lift making the passage fast indeed if a south easterly is also at strength.

New Ireland is best brought up at Cape St. George where is situated a major light visible for 20 miles and behind which are two or three excellent anchorages. In clear conditions, New Ireland is easily visible for 60 miles, being extremely high and rugged.

Top: Approaching the southern extremity of New Ireland after passage from Bougainville. Bottom: A close-up of Cape St George showing the lighthouse (arrowed).


English and Irish Coves on the south-west coast of New Ireland are amongst the prettiest in the entire country with towering mountains in the near background and security for the boatman in all but westerly weather. They were the site of an early attempt at colonising which failed miserably.

ENGLISH AND IRISH COVE The scenery around these two anchorages at the bottom of New Ireland is breathtakingly beautiful with English Cove presenting the more comfortable anchorage of the two. Fresh water runs into English Cove at its head and the bottom is good holding sand and coral patches with some weed at six metres. Irish Cove has clear sand with no coral patches.

These two anchorages have rather a romantic history as they were the chosen site for the Utopea of the Marquis de Rays who, in the 1870's, distributed prospectuses throughout Western Europe advertising it as an already settled and established land of promise. He induced three thousand shareholders to part with 300,000 pounds sterling, many of who sold their properties, presuming their share to be protected by title deeds to land in and around English and Irish Cove. A rather remarkable reaction when it is remembered that the Marquis de Ray's total knowledge of New Ireland came from his reading of ships' journals.

In September 1879 one hundred and fifty people sailed from Holland aboard the ship Chandernagore to be dumped ashore at their Utopia where only the scenery fulfilled their impossible dreams. There was nothing else.

Needless to say the venture failed after a misery of starvation and disease although a start was made in building jetties and houses. None of these tragic reminders of the Marquis de Ray's confidence trick remain today. He, by the way, spent six years in jail for his part in the fraud.

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How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.

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  • david holt
    Who was the owner of the Numa Numa plantation in Bougainville?
    3 years ago

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