Sat 20 Aug 2016 06:49
Ebuma Island against the mountains of mainland PNG.
Felix has had a busy week: another yacht arrived to check in - that makes three this year! Bernie and Francesco on Saansebar arrived from the Solomons. We had been planning to move on so we would have missed them but the forecast had predicted strong winds and torrential rain for our arrival in Woodlark. We thought it better to stay put for a few more days and were simply forced to scout out a snorkelling spot.
Just to the North East of Samarai is a the little Island of Ebuma. The Saansebars had been told that one could land on the far side so both boats took their dinghies to go and explore. What a gem we found. The Island had previously been a quarantine, then a VD clinic and was now uninhabited except for a single family who acted as caretakers. They were happy for us to visit so we did what had to be done: sat on the beach chatting and reading, explored the island (that took all of 15 minutes) and cooled off periodically by snorkelling.
The reef on the other side of the island.
There turned out to be some really lovely snorkelling, many different kinds of beautiful multicoloured coral and hundreds of fish - some of which were new to us. In particular we saw a large fish, over a foot long, who seemed to be imitating a lump of coral with lots of lobes and warts on him. Phil thinks he was a stone fish. There were plenty of anemone fish, some whose bands were more blue than white, and others who were mostly black with almost red on their faces and fins - Tomato Anemone Fish we later found out. It was so good to back in the undersea world, recognising old friends and making new acquaintances.
Talking of new friends, we found the island wasn’t actually occupied by just one family. There was also a dog and a large number of pigs, along with piglets ranging from tiny tiny squealers chasing after mum to medium size teenagers hanging out with their mates. They came down onto the beach and Jon made conversation with them a while until his piggy pronunciation went wrong and they took offence at something he’d said.
Ladies bringing goods to the market.
Back on Samarai it was the big market day so we went ashore to provision before we move on. We got watercress, cherry tomatoes, guavas, starfruit, banana, passion fruit, plantain, pumpkin leaves and oranges. All were very cheap, for example the passion fruit were about 5p each. We then stopped by the local store to stock up on a new discovery we’d made: Navy Biscuits, excellent with soup.
It says “Big fella and strong fella” - just what we need on board a sailing yacht!