Archive | January, 2013


Making friends in Jayapura

Jayapura was supposed to be all about clearing the official hurdles, then getting west- but we had a great time making new friends. Totem anchored in deep water right off the city center in a spot recommended by Anui, who stopped here last year. The police dock adjacent to a small neighborhood makes for a […]


Jayapura’s sharp contrast to PNG

Jayapura is just a few hours sail (or motor) from Vanimo, PNG, but it’s a world apart.  We are clearly in a new country, a new culture- and although the delineation seems arbitrary, a new continent as well. Oh tempeh. it’s been a while, and I’ve missed you. There’s infrastructure. From no utilities of any […]


Welcome to Indonesia – big bureaucracy and big brother

Looking down- way, way down- at Totem. Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia We arrive in Jayapura at midday (is 12 pm on 12/12/12 auspicious?) and go through the motions of checking in with immigration, customs, and quarantine. This eventually takes two days, but considering the amount of bureaucracy involved this ends up feeling fairly efficient (typical of […]


Vanimo, part 2: So you’re from the yacht!

“Oh, you’re from the yacht!” It’s not a question, but a statement I hear from almost everyone with whom I have more than a simple transactional interaction. From the woman who helps point me to the consulate, walking home from church. We’d only just arrived- how did she know? And yet she did, because she […]


Vanimo, part 1: just a quick stopover, right?

It was with some trepidation that we pulled into the PNG border town of Vanimo early one morning. Papua New Guinea has earned a reputation as a dangerous destination for cruising sailors. It is certainly justified by the reports of attacks and theft that boats have experienced. Our research prior to coming to PNG helped […]


Pit stop at Wuvulu’s spectacular reef

The route from Ninigo to Vanimo, our next port of call, is a slightly awkward distance that can be stretched a few different ways for passage timing. We decided to build in a stopover at Wuvulu Island. Roughly halfway to Vanimo, we don’t have a lot of information about the island except that it was […]


Ninigo: photographs and memories

Hopefully, a few photos and anecdotes can help communicate the good memories we have of our time in Ninigo. Our children were a little shy at first, but there’s nothing like getting to hold a shy, docile pet cuscus (tree kangaroo) to help them loosen up. We’re told these are food for islanders, but “Boiman” was doted […]


Citizens of Ninigo

“You must change your citizenship,” Thomas tells us. “You are from Ninigo now!” Ninigo sailing canoe: these islanders are famous for their navigators Thomas is our host, the elder on shore from our anchorage at Mal Island in Ninigo atoll. After nearly a week on Ninigo, this sums up how we feel: a member of […]


Making friends in the Louisiades: learning Misima dialect

Connecting with people in the places we visit, learning about our similarities and differences, is something I truly enjoy. Demonstrating interest by knowing some of their language is a great way to start. This is complicated by the vast number of languages we faced, first in Papua New Guinea and now here in Indonesia. Tok […]


Papua New Guinea: kids and knives

It’s daunting the first time you see a grown man walking down a path with a large machete swinging at his side. In PNG, one quickly becomes inured to this sight. Sharp knives as common an accessory as the mobile phone at home. Everyone- and I mean, everyone- carries a knife. How else to you […]

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