Back to Duke of York Islands

Lars Alfredson
Mon 6 Jul 2015 09:50
pos 4:13.74S 152:27.37E
Mioko Island
Monday 6th of July.



2015-07-06 A day like any other. After a visit to Customs to clear out, a last minute dash around the market for some veggies as well as  Rabul’s supermarkets for wine, eggs and other necessities it was back to the yacht and prepare to depart to the Duke of York islands.


Anchor up and away we go. A quick salute to the American hospital ship, a great white whale that dominates the harbour both visually and, with the roar of helicopters buzzing back and forth plus some keen bugler sounding revalie, audibly as well.


Entering the open seas the wind picked up and unfurling the jib we’re soon doing a healthy 8 knots in a short sea. I assume my rightful place on the “Throne” at the bow and take the rays in a fresh breeze.


My peace is disturbed when I notice the Jib being furled and we are now back tracking from whence we came! What is amiss I enquire?  Man or rather boathook overboard I am informed and hastily despatched to lookout duties at the bow.


Surprising, I spot it and am now despatched under the dinghy onto the stern “sugarscoop” adopting the prone position hanging onto a lifeline with one hand with the other outstretched to receive the errant pole that Lars is valiantly trying to manoeuvre the yacht stern first onto a converging path. Consequently I am subject to an onslaught of waves trying their best to wash me off, but I am of sterner stuff and glued to my post, eventually boat, my hand and the pole join and rescue is affected. In recognition of my valiant efforts “Beer o’clock” is declared.



Entering the channel between the islands Lars spots what looks like a dugout with two people clinging to it. I grab the binoculars for a second opinion and sure enough there is a child frantically baling and an adult waving to us.


We now have the bit between the teeth on this rescue lark and no sooner can you say “Lifeboat” than I’m back on the sugarscoope with my trusty line and have them and the dugout aboard.


We drop anchor in the bay of the little island of Mioko the home of  the famous “Queen Emma” and 19th century German entrepreneur who set up a trading post in the islands.


It isn’t long before a young boy paddles out in a dugout wanting to trade his oranges for “Food”. He leaves a happy chappie clutching a bag of rice for his mum, a lollipop and packet of orange biscuits.


He is followed by a young girl who is similarly rewarded for her efforts with a lollipop and some biscuits.


Antionette is no shrinking “Violet” and has now paddled out a further three times gaining more confidence and goodies with each trip, who’s the suckers


As I sit and scribe the local elder has swum out to invite us ashore. He’s desperately trying convince us to do the various sights of  his island, at a price, and we say we’ll see him ashore later.


Come 4ish we weaken and go ashore. Once around the villages, greeted by all and hundreds of kids, then the school which has some 300 pupils we are informed. Shan gets into deep and meaningful discussion with one of the teachers who joins our tour until we finally hit the beach and back to our dinghy.


The Chief suggest a small contribution to the school would be in order and duty done we are on our way back the yacht, a dinghy full of sand testimony to a good time had by the kids in our absence !


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