Started Oct 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP Hen3ry Forum Pro • Posts: 18,218
boats for you 2009

The boats are "plastic", called "banana boats" -- see the yellow stripe along the curved gunwale. Most of the ones in the first two pix are 21 footers, normally powered by 40 or 60 hp Yamaha engines.

The bottom boat is a 26-28 footer, with twin Yamaha 60s on the back.

The boats have a wooden slat deck over about half their length. A tarpaulin is laid on that, the cargo is piled on, the tarp is pulled over it, and the passengers sit on the deck for and aft of the cargo, leaning back on it! If it rains, the passengers pull another tarp over themselves! One thing about rain here, though, it might be torrential from time to time, but it rarely persists for more than 20 minutes or so -- and, of course, it is warm opr at least not cold! As is spray which might splash in.

The run across to New Ireland is 2 hours, roughly. I prefer to travel on the first run in the morning, starting about 7am -- the sea tends to be smoother then.

I learned two lessons in the run when I took the third pic -- don't sit up the front and don't go on the last run of the day in the afternoon! I really got smashed on that one. John told me it was going to be a rough one and to sit down the back but I wanted to take pictures. Yeah, right, I spent most of the trip hanging on for dear life!

There have been a couple of tragic sinkings -- now when it is anything other than glassy smooth, the boats travel in convoy. On my last trip two weeks ago, four boats traveled together including one that was just cargo so in the event of a mishap, it could ditch the cargo and be the rescue boat.

Many of the boats have names (as do the buses) which are pretty random. There is one I see on the beach, from the Duke of York Islands, named "Sinker"! Yes, the owner knows what it means -- he just likes to have a joke!

FrankS009 wrote:

Very nice. As a certified boat nut, I found myself looking at all the small boats pulled up on the shore and wishing that you take a photo of them sometime.

Kokopo boat harbor

Loading the boats at Kokopo before heading for New Ireland. The one in the foreground is filling up with cargo consigned from a wholesaler in Kokopo to a retailer in Namatanai, New Ireland. Panny FT4.

John Tze, with his wife, Nalita, the owner of the Solwara Meri (= sea woman = mermaid) line having a joke with me as we leave New Ireland. It was a pretty rough trip, that one. Panny FT4.

At the end of the run, the passengers, odd onlookers, and in this case, the woman "boss meri" of the Firefly line, all help to haul the boat on to the beach using a single foam roller. (We all help to launch the boat off the beach too.) Not too hazy that day. You can just see the outline of New Ireland in the background. I wonder what lens that is? Probably the 9-18 at 18 -- a focal length I rarely use but which can be effective.

Cheers, geoff

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Geoffrey Heard
Down and out in Rabaul in the South Pacific

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