Cruise to PNG

February 2019
To celebrate our retirements we are taking a quick cruise from Brisbane to Papua New Guinea and back with Princess . We felt that 16 months was too long a period without going away and we needed to feed our travel bug before our trip to Africa.
  • Day8

    Conflict Islands

    February 10 in Papua New Guinea ⋅ 🌧 30 °C

    Final entry on this cruise was to Conflict Islands. Unfortunately, once again, our scheduled stop to Kitiva Island was abandoned due to unsuitable conditions for tendering. It was a pity because the locals rely on the tourist dollar and as we could not land they had nobody to sell there wares to.

    Anyway, the Conflict Islands turned out to be my favourite stop. The island was not large and could be walked around in an hour and a half, but the water was crystal clear and that beautiful blue that you associate with tropical islands. The water was really salty which made you really buoyant - floating was a breeze.

    Walking around the island there was lots of coral washed up on the shore and we saw several sea turtles very close to the shore... the island is a turtle conservation area. There is even an "ahem" international airport complete with a soccer field at the end of it.

    We had some PNG Kina (money) that we needed to get rid of and bought a nice timber sculpture. I had also bought a couple of other timber items (scary mask, carved dish inlaid with mother of pearl) . These all had to be declared at customs in Brisbane but they passed through without any issues.

    We had a second day on the island mainly because we had missed out on a couple of stops and we enjoyed another couple of swims and walked around again.

    The cruise back to Brisbane was spent watching movies, going to trivia or going to special interest lectures (actually Brad went to these as they were generally to do with WWII battles. ) I did play a couple of games of Bingo and almost won the Jackpot (about $4200). Just needed number 90 to come out... but it didn't ☹. Oh well, never mind - would have been a nice end to the cruise.
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  • Day6

    Rabaul

    February 8 in Papua New Guinea ⋅ 🌧 28 °C

    Unfortunately our scheduled port at Kiriwina Island had to be aborted because it was a tender port (ship anchored and tender boats taken to shore) and the sea conditions were considered too rough to safely transport the passengers to shore. Safety first is the captain's priority.

    Our stop at Rabaul was quite interesting. It was formally the capital of this region of PNG... that is until 2 volcanos erupted simultaneously in 1994 and buried the town in metres of volcanic ash etc. The tour we elected to do was to the volcanic observatory, via a factory that manufactures coconut oil (we got free samples). After the observatory, where we were relieved to discover that the volcanos were not going to erupt today, we travelled back through the town, past the airport which is now hidden somewhere under the ash, and out to the hot spring where the water is still bubbling as it trickles into the sea. We also visited a local Catholic school and a plane wreckage site at the area that was once an airport. At nearly every stop there were locals (mostly children), singing to us and the song of choice was "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain". Of course there were always little market stalls selling their wares.

    Rabaul only gets about 10 cruise ships per year and it is a great source of income to them so there is great excitement when a ship comes in with kids often getting the day off school just to see the ship.
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  • Day4

    Alotau - Battle of MIlne Bay

    February 6 in Papua New Guinea ⋅ 🌧 29 °C

    Brad attended the Battle of Milne Bay tour which looked at various locations where events took place during WWII. They visited the Corporal John French Memorial, travelled to the Hiwehiwe Lookout to get a birds eye view of the Battle route as well as some other areas of historical significance. He also went to the place where the Japanese advance was first stopped on land by Australian soldiers.Read more

  • Day4

    Alotau - Cultural festival

    February 6 in Papua New Guinea ⋅ 🌧 31 °C

    Arrived in the picturesque port of Alotau - Milne Bay. We both had different tours booked so while Brad went to the Battle of Milne Bay tour, I attended the Alotau Festival where locals in traditional dress performed dances and singing. There were also plenty of arts and crafts on offer, some rather nice wooden carvings and bowls. There was also a display of boat/ canoe racing which was interesting to look at.Read more

  • Day3

    2 Sea days before PNG

    February 5, Coral Sea ⋅ 🌧 28 °C

    Spent the night at Mitchell's and May's and they were able to drop us off at the port without any hassles. Embarkation went smoothly on the Sea Princess. Our cabin is on the 10th level, quite close to the front of the ship, 3 floors below the buffet and 4 floors (and the length of the ship) above the main dining room. We are attempting to use the stairs rather than the elevators as much as possible... We shall see how that goes. 😁

    First sea day it took me a little while to get my sea legs so light breakfast only but my appetite returned by lunchtime . We spent the morning attending an information session about 2 of the ports and also a film about Captain Cook. Lazy afternoon after lunch watching a couple of movies before going to see a comedian, dress up for formal dinner and then another stage show to complete the day. Sleep and repeat again.

    Second sea day much the same as the first. Went to the info sessions and also walked around the deck 6 times ( 3 laps equals a mile). Have been using the stairs instead of the lifts for the most part and according to the fitbit we have climbed 50+ steps per day. Dragged Brad along to trivia and we managed to get a perfect score, winning the enviable prize of 2 Princess bottle stoppers. (I guess the training has paid off - hey Playdoh😁 - took a photo, your challenge is to guess the question)
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