Monthly Archives: September 2014

Doini Island

Well we are coming to the end of our second last day at sea, having left Doini Island yesterday and headed off into the Coral Sea on the return trip to Brisbane. There is much anticipation for tomorrow night. Roosters versus the Cowboys. It should be a close game. Don (Cowboys) and Stuart (Roosters) are both quietly confident. But only one can win. We just have to wait and see I suppose. I just hope the Cowboys don’t get any crook decisions. In previous years they have been hard done by and are due a change of luck in regards to the refs.

Doini Island is a private resort  island owned by some Australians. We set off for a walk around the island. First climbing to a lookout, what a great view. Following this little climb and the walk out to the point Leanne pulled the plug and returned to the pier area.


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Russell continued the walk in his thongs. It was a bit up and down. Took a short diversion to the local airport and then continued along to Skull Cave. Quite an interesting place. The locals in traditional times buried their dead upright with their  heads out of the ground. A clay pot was put on top for dignity. After a while the head separated from the neck. At this time the skull (most of the skin and flesh had been cleaned up by bugs) if you were a village elder/leader type was removed and placed in the cave as a mark of respect. There were about 25 skulls in this cave.


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Departure lounge at the Airport.

Departure lounge at the Airport.




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From here  I moved on to Love Beach. This is actually a surf beach on what I think is the northern side of the island. Just looked magnificent. Onwards I trekked and after about 3 and a bit hours strode into the village as fresh as a daisy, a South Pacific lager went down well. Leanne had been patiently waiting and wining, not whining! She was relieved to see me safely back and for some reason more or less immediately went back to the ship. I went off to do some last minute snorkelling. What a day! Exhausted I was.



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It seems other members of the team had lolled around snorkelling or taking short walks around looking at the markets and a caged Cuscus (the possum sort of animal) not to be confused with Couscous (the food thing) and a smallish crocodile. They had a good time and hadn’t ended up with sore feet. The team was pretty sharp tonight at ‘cruise along trivia’ tonight and we pulled back 3 points (I think) to take us into clear third place ahead of the final night tomorrow.

Bed was extremely welcome………..


Underwater gardens

We are now headed for home having left Doini Island yesterday. We have two days at sea before arriving back in Brisbane.

One of the highlights of the trip so far has been snorkelling around on our island visits.  ‘Cruise along trivia’ is not far behind, more of those dramas latter, the competition is getting to the pointy end. Laree from LA not bad either. Sailaway sangrias also pretty good!

Here are some snaps from the underwater gardens…………as well as more of the locals.  Wanted to keep my goggles after I let them have a look through them! Too cute to be rascals in training!


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Kiriwina Island



Arriving at Kiriwina island

Arriving at Kiriwina island




The locals travel between islands on board these canoes

The locals travel between islands on board these canoes


I’m a bit late with this post. Late to bed last night after a long day on the Island walking around and doing some snorkelling.  Got a touch of the sun on the back of the head and back whilst drifting around looking at the coral and fish. Not sore at all but expect the he scalp to start peeling a bit in a few days as the skin dries out. Not quite as bleached though as these DEAD HUMAN BONES we found. It was 10K to see them and hear the story of their origin, seems to have been a famine a few years back and the locals crawled under this ledge and didn’t come out. There was another pile of bones nearby that were attributed to a Japanese grenade in 1942. Not sure about all this. Maybe belongs in a Ripley’s ‘Believe it or Not’ on the Gold Coast! Then again you never know so I shouldn’t be suspicious.


Interesting spot this! I looked around for some Live Human Bones.

Interesting spot this! I looked around for some Live Human Bones.


The Human Bones

The Human Bones


While waiting in the queues to go ashore in in the ship’s tenders we were surrounded by canoes with their sails up. It was a welcoming ceremony with much blowing of conch shells and excitable shouting and spear waving. Very colourful event.


The Pacific Dawn was 'surrounded' by these canoes with the locals blowing conch shells and making threatening noises.

The Pacific Dawn was ‘surrounded’ by these canoes with the locals blowing conch shells and making threatening noises.


Yesterday was PNG Independence Day and there was much celebration on the Island, including a visit from the Deputy Prime Minister. So there was a bit of security floating around the celebrations. We are getting used to the usual line up of locals selling shells, wood carvings and the like. Much dancing around too in traditional gear. All seem to be having a good time of it. BBQs on the beach and lolling around under the shady trees. Looked a bit like Bondi Beach on Australia day. Although there are not many trees there!


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Back on board the ship we enjoyed some more ‘Sailaway Sangrias’ and prepared for a big effort in ‘cruise along trivia’. So did a few others as we again just maintained our position in a group behind the leaders who are now about 6 points up. We will need a big win now to claw back. Some comments were made amongst the team about Cheryle making late changes to answers and some small slip ups here and there. AMEN is all I can say to that.


Well our next stop is Doini Island. Until then…….


What might have been

Weather remains good if a bit cloudy. As noted yesterday we did not get to Rabaul today. This was a disappointment. Lets move on though. This is why we did not go there. The volcano erupted about 3 weeks ago and threw up a whole lot of ash. Its covered everything apparently and the authorities have deemed it unsafe to enter Rabaul. So we did not going there. Instead we drifted around in the Solomon Sea for the day and tomorrow we will reach  Kiriwina Island in the morning.

The Rabaul volcano blowing its top  about 3 weeks ago. Ash everywhere the authorities say. Who is to doubt the authorities?

The Rabaul volcano blowing its top about 3 weeks ago. Ash everywhere the authorities say. Who is to doubt the authorities?

So we hit the food instead of the day trips! Breakfast, lunch and dinner have been devoured with gusto. There was also a couple of ice cream eaters amongst the team. As the day wore on the bar called and we prepared ourselves for the next round of ‘cruise along’ trivia. It seems we gained a point or two on the leaders , but still behind. It will continue tomorrow.

This was allthego the night before enjoying a 'Sail away Sangria'. It was tempting to have two of these!

This was allthego the night before enjoying a ‘Sail away Sangria’. It was tempting to have two of these!



Maree eagerly awaiting the 'cruise along' trivia. Great chairs Maree!

Maree eagerly awaiting the ‘cruise along’ trivia. Great chairs Maree!

Ship board life continued unabated through the afternoon and into the night. Ship board life is essentially eating, drinking and sleeping. After dinner Laree from LA dulled our senses again in the Orient bar with piano memories from the 50,60 and 70s. Others enjoyed the night show.

Tomorrow we will be back on song and will land at Kiriwina Island for more of the same!

Just can’t wait! It should be great!




We have arrived at Kitava which is a small island off the main island of Kiriwini in the Trobiand group. It is about 300 km north of Alotau in the Solomon Sea. There is a little island about 300 metres offshore Kitava, more about this later.

To get ashore here we had to depart on the ship’s tenders as there is no port facility. These tenders seem to hold about 100 souls and are somewhat superior to the life boats on the Titanic. The process of getting away leaves a little to be desired and it takes most of the morning to get everyone ashore, things are also slowed down by people coming back from the island. Patience is required and of course we Australians all have plenty of that.


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Once on the island its very pleasant.  Great big trees on the shoreline providing shade. Some good snorkelling. The indigenous people are very friendly and like at Alotau all queued up on the beach wanting to sell carvings, shells, coconuts etc to us unsuspecting tourists.


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Allthego was keen to get to the little island across the channel. This was achieved by taking a canoe ride. Quite an experience getting across through the fast flowing current in the channel. The canoes start off at one end of the channel and are rapidly swept down to the other end as the locals row furiously to get across. It’s 5K each way. We paid for a return trip 10K. But in coming back we didn’t use the same canoe and were stung another 5K (each). All up though even at 15K each way (this is about $8A) its pretty reasonable. Work place Health and Safety rules on these canoes were not overly obvious, but then there were no inspectors ashore to worry about.




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Don and Sandra wandered off into the village to have a look-see at the local village life style. Don reported someone was startled and almost eaten by a large pig tethered to a post on a chain along one of the pathways. Housing is interspersed between vegetable gardens. Small domestic animals wander around.  On this 20 square kilometre island about 3000 people live life much the same as their ancestors did.




We returned aboard the Pacific Dawn and sailed away at about 4pm headed for nowhere! This was because our stopover at Rabaul had been cancelled due to health concerns. The volcanic ash from the eruption 2 or 3 weeks ago had not yet dispersed and the bureaucrats were concerned for our and the ship’s company’s health. There was quite a bit of disappointment. So be it. I suppose someone has to look after our health. We settled back on the Oasis deck (at the back of the ship) enjoying a Sailaway Sangria, lining our stomachs ahead of dinner. Got to look after our health!

The team continued to back up for ‘cruise away’ trivia in anticipation of pulling in the lead our fellow cruisers held. Stayed pretty much the same after this round though. But we are within touch of the leaders and live to fight another day.


A day at sea awaits the dawn.


We are now all at sea having left Alotau and are  headed for Kitava tomorrow morning. Alotau is the capital of the Milne Bay Province.  After a big formal dinner last night and having earlier slumped to second place in the ‘cruise along’ trivia we arrived in Milne Bay around 8am.  At dinner Russell had  the opportunity to expose his new formal outfit, a marvellous accompaniment to Marie’s little black number. It was  a great dinner in the Waterfront restaurant.

Milne Bay

Milne Bay


What a grand pair! At the formal night!

What a grand pair! At the formal night!


After arrival,  the morning was spent at a cultural ‘exchange’,  a mini Kenu and Kundu festival. It was just for us! “Kenu and Kundu’ is code for “Canoe and Drum’  festival! I get the Kenu bit but not the Kundu! This event would seem to be a pale imitation of the real thing that happens a bit later in the year when there are many more participants.  Anyway, there is much dancing and prancing (almost an indigenous Macarena or Nutbush dance, occasionally with spears and clubs) and canoes being paddled around. It is very interesting and colourful.



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Back to the ship for lunch and a little later we returned ashore for a tour around some of the WWII sites. Milne Bay had seen a fairly spirited resistance by the allies against the Japanese onslaught. Before leaving for this shore tour Russell had pulled out his walking shoes only to  find two left ones, it seems events had conspired to leave the two right ones at home in Brisbane! A small complication! There was some confusion as to who was responsible for this confusion in packing. Leanne cleared this up fairly quickly and we headed off.


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‘Cruise along trivia’ tonight  saw us falling at little bit further behind on points. Hope still remains for the final run home in a few days time. We just have to stay close to the leaders and try to simplify the questions. Need some dinner.

Until we meet again………..

PNG here we come on the Pacific Dawn


We are now well into the second day on board Pacific Dawn cruising up the Queensland coast to PNG. Our first stop is to be at Alotau on Milne Bay. The weather has been good so far and the seas very calm, no rocking or rolling.


The team of happy cruisers to PNG

The team of happy cruisers to PNG

The team are currently equal top of the ‘cruise along’  trivia quiz competition, heading into tonight’s round. The team comprises the 4 Hayes kids and their respective husbands and wives who are off on a family get together on the high seas. Led by the matriarch Cheryle (husband Peter) ably supported by Sandra (Don), Leanne (Russell) and the youngster Stuart (Marie) we are a confident lot, having been big trivia winners in the past. Leanne is boasting her ” P & O Winners canvas bag”  from our last trip. Sandra is the scribe and faces enormous challenges in recording the correct answers which are whispered, followed by nudges and wink winks. There is much noise and commotion as the game progresses. Lip reading is a required skill. It will be a challenge to stay on top, there is stiff competition afloat this time around.



Going under the Gateway Bridge, plenty of room to spare.

Going under the Gateway Bridge, plenty of room to spare.

Away we go down the Brisbane River

Away we go down the Brisbane River




Looking towards the Gateway Bridge

Looking towards the Gateway Bridge

Pretty quiet on board this ship, no rowdy elements except us! Have had an interesting film and lecture today on PNG society and adaptation to the modern world. More instalments to come of this over the coming days. Very big attendances at this. Not! It seems there are other attractions.

It was a good trip down the Brisbane River and then up the coast with the sun setting on the Glasshouse Mountains.


Sunset at the Glasshouse Mountains

Sunset at the Glasshouse Mountains



It was sea all around us, on both sides of the ship!

It was sea all around us, on both sides of the ship!







Food has also been good and we are looking forward to dinner tonight, following breakfast and lunch interspersed with morning and afternoon tea. It has been a  constant effort to stay away from the food and moderate one’s intake.

That’s all for today. I need to keep these short.