The grind is on... Round one from Solomons to PNG took eight days. Next will be the Torress strait with a straight shot to Darwin, unless I get bushed. In Darwin I will reconsider my cruising plans - that is, the transequatorial passage through the Indian Ocean or going through South East Asia. I am starting to waver about which way to go.
I am currently anchored infront of the Royal Papua Yacht Club in Port Moresby. This place has the harder core third world feel. This means it is actually more expensive to visit than the first world as it is too dangerous to go native. If you are white, you've got to ride in a taxi, you can't stay, eat or hang out in non tourist areas as you will just be harassed endlessly. It isn't all as bad as the other cruisers warned me but it is far worse than most places I've been. The Yacht Club itself is a high end establishment that looks like how I might imagine segregated America of the fifties. Only whites drinking at the bar with a huge staff of uniformed blacks. The staff all say "sir" when addressing me, even though I break the club's dress code and wear flip flops and a shirt with a "ring collar."
#1 is in the Florida Group, Solomon Islands of a local trying to sell me a "genuine" WWII artifact. After I didn't buy it, nor give him any thing he asked for (cigarettes, etc.), I finally gave in and towed him out of the estuary as he confessed to having exhausted himself trying to catch up with me paddling in his canoe.
#2 American WWII wreck, Florida Group, Solomons.
#3 Flies in Gizo anchorage.
#4 Coming into Port Moresby.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Most people spend all day here doing nothing but sitting in the shade and swatting flies off the betel nuts they are selling. Many don't have anything to sell and just sit in the shade. The locals that I talked to about their predicament seemed pretty aware that their life was being spent this way. I openly confessed to many that it seemed like a terrible fate. Some agreed, some laughed... I left in a hurry.