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.
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.
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.
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.