The breeze freshened after breakfast and by 9am was blowing a constant 20knts, you guessed it, exactly from where I wanted to go. A localised weather system it seems and certainly unexpected after the previous days calm airs. I reefed the sails and bore away and sailed towards my first Papua New Guinea islands. After so many weeks of blue, upon seeing these densely forested islands, what struck me first was simply the amount of green I was able to take in. So many shades of this beautiful colour in these densely forested remote islands. So full of mystery and intrigue.
It reminded me of my early days in Cambodia, almost 15 years ago when we would explore the islands and beaches. So many beaches. Naming each one (some of which have lasted and entered common use) and having the entire place to ourselves. Such a special, magical time.
I pass an island called Lihir Island, where I can see a large open cut mine. It seems like a fairly significant operation with some delightful looking housing on a cliff overlooking the water. I wonder who lives there?
This is my first time seeing a human settlement in a month so I decide to sail up close so I could feel as connected as possible to these people, whoever they are. I learn later that it’s a gold mine which has a somewhat controversial back story including a piece on ABC’s foreign correspondent, which I look forward to watching when I get home.
Looking through my binoculars, I was eager to soak in all I could see of the human activity in front of me and I imagined what sort of people worked here, what their lives were like and how often they went home to see their families. My sense was my imaginings were far more romantic and interesting than the reality, but hey, when you’re on your own in the middle of the ocean, your imagination is an important ally so no need to curb its enthusiasm. At least not until I get back to terra firma.
There was even mobile phone coverage on the island, though thankfully I had my global roaming turned off for this very real possibility. Whatever is waiting for me online can wait another 10-14 days. If it’s important information it’ll work out how to find me, the rest is simply not welcome on this journey of mine and would defeat its entire purpose.
In the stronger winds my gooseneck repairs aren’t holding very well, and I need to head to the mast and hammer the pin back in. I work out plans to fabricate a steal plate to go under the connection to stop the pin from dropping but before I can get to work on this, I stub my toe on the way back to the cockpit. It’s the second smallest toe on my left foot so certainly not an important one, but it’s still painful, nonetheless.
A few hours later, once the wind settles down a little and I can take stock, I look down and see my toe is a mottled purple and blue. When I take a good look at it I realise its actually quite sore and is either broken or very badly bruised. I break out one of my ice packs (which don’t need refrigeration) and follow the RICE principle: Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.
I tape the toe to his larger buddy next door and lay down in the cockpit with my foot elevated and accept that I’ve done some decent damage and that it really needs some rest. I guess the gooseneck repairs will just need to wait to tomorrow, though I’m worried about that pin falling out.
It’s certainly never a dull moment out here.
I take some Panadol and Neurofen and spend the afternoon reading. The ice and the elevation take much of the pain away, though I can tell I’ve done some harm.
I watch Forest Gump under the stars and sleep on deck so I can keep a constant eye out for fishing vessels and to ensure I stay on course and away from any islands/reefs, though I don’t get much rest as I’m constantly worried about the risks of land. I just hope I can get some better rest tomorrow.
Many thanks Henrik!
Thanks Steve! We’ll just have to go for a Surf Ski when you’re in Sydney next.
@Athol & Liz
Hi Uncle Athol,
So wonderful that you and Liz are enjoying the journey and the blog and that I’m able to be a part of the “ladies that golf” lunchtime conversation.
Hope you’re both well.
Enjoying it very much thanks Rakes!
Maybe you should jump on the roof one night with Gems. I’m sure you’d be able see a few stars…