Thursday, November 15, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Engineer Mike takes advantage of some downtime while
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
It is here in the Hauraki Gulf that Island Passage calls home. She is outfitted for soft expedition cruising and carries a maximum of 24 guests and a crew of 8. Measuring 138 ft. in length with a beam of 40 ft., she is quite large for that number of passengers. There is a roomy salon and dining room area as well as a large aft deck for relaxing. The ship is serviced by 3 tenders so passengers can be split up to pursue different interests such as fishing, hiking and visiting historical sites. On board this cruise are mostly fisherman as Island Escape Cruises has advertised this particular cruise as a Snapper fishing event. Island Passage also carries kayaks and mountain bikes, and has wireless internet service. Last night we made our way to a sheltered cove near Kawau Island. Kawau is best known for the lavish gardens on the estate of Governor Sir George Grey originally constructed in the mid 1800’s. Later today we will move to Great Barrier Island where some of the best fishing occurs. A typical day aboard Island passage has her cruising for 3 or 4 hours in the morning and then mooring in a quiet spot for an afternoon of exploration and an overnight stay.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
We board some shuttle buses for a tour of the area which takes us to a site with the rusty remains of some WW II American landing barges. Later we move to a lookout point and then to a tiny village where we are welcomed with some fresh fruit and a tour of the houses. We see the inside of a cook house for the first time. Cooking is done in a separate house as wood fires are used. In the afternoon we take a guided walking tour around the town that takes us to a memorial of the Battle of Milne Bay and to the local market. This is our last day in Papua New Guinea and we are already getting a little nostalgic and sad. This is Halloween and the dining room is decorated with many carved pumpkins which the crew members have carved as part of a contest. The waiters are in costume. Later we were treated to a performance by our multi-talented crew ranging from singing and dancing to magic. Today is a day at sea on our return to Cairns and we are given tours of the galley and bridge. Lectures are held on mammal life in the Pacific and an overview of WWII in the Pacific. Last night there was also a presentation on JFK and PT 109. The seas are a little rough on our crossing today and some passengers are feeling a little queasy.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Some guests joined an hour long uphill walk to the village to see the famous Trobriand yam houses.
Next we went by Zodiac to the adjacent small island of Nuratu for a beach barbeque and snorkeling. It rained a very little but for the most part our weather has been fantastic for this entire trip, albeit a little warm. In the afternoon we began our cruise to the next destination, Nivani, which is part of Deboyne Lagoon in the Louisiade Archipelago. At Panapompom, an adjacent island, we visit a small village of just about 20 or so people and we get a glimpse of what the simple life is like in Papua New Guinea. There is a garden consisting of mostly yams and taro. For food they grow their own and fish. For cash to send the kids to school and receive medical care, they collect and dry copra (dried coconut to make coconut oil) and fish for sea cucumbers to sell to the Asian market. When we arrive Robin Tauck gives all the children knapsacks. The usual aid supplies are also given.
Later we swim and snorkel. There is a intact sunken Japanese Zero in only 6-10 ft. of water.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
In the afternoon we headed for the beach for some swimming and snorkeling.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Today was spent at sea. We were very busy however, attending a series of lectures and talks. First was an orientation to snorkeling and the fitting of gear. This was followed by a slide show lecture on Indo Pacific coral reef biology. After a buffet lunch, Robin Tauck presented a preview of 2008 and 2009 Tauck programs throughout the world. Following was a presentation on Papua New Guinea history and culture, one on Douglas McArthur’s campaigns in Papua and New Guinea, and finally a briefing on tomorrow’s activities and a short talk on the Bird of Paradise. Some of the guests commented that it felt like being back in school, going to so many classes in one day.