PS Papua New Guinea to Indonesia

Best time:

May to September

Tropical storms:

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Pilots:

The difficulties associated with the passage through the Torres Strait and the long detour to Port Moresby, persuades some people to reach Indonesia by sailing along the north coast of New Guinea. This northern route is used mostly by boats that have spent the cyclone season in the eastern part of Papua New Guinea or have been cruising in that area and are therefore better poised for this route. It also gives the opportunity to visit the Hermit and Ninigo Islands before clearing out of Papua New Guinea at Vanimo (2°41'S, 141 °18'E).

This is a passage that can be done only during the SE trade wind season, as during the NW monsoon, from November to March, both winds and current are contrary. The transitional period is difficult to define, as in some years the NW monsoon comes early, while in others the SE trade winds do not establish themselves until May. Normally this passage should not be attempted after the middle of

November or before the middle of April. Although the weather along this route is governed by the two monsoons, the winds are rarely steady in either direction or strength and there are many days when they are light or nonexistent. Calms are particularly frequent during the transitional period. The most constant SE winds usually occur in July and August when there is also a very strong NW setting current, with rates that can exceed 2 knots.

Jayapura, the capital of the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya (Western Irian), is the official port of entry (2°32'S, 140°43'E). The town has changed its name to Sukarnapura, while in the colonial past it used to be known as Hollandia. Yachts without a cruising permit should enquire at the Indonesian Embassy in Port Moresby whether they would be allowed to make a emergency stop in Jayapura before committing themselves to this route.

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