Ninigo Islands, Papua New Guinea

Longen & Amik Islands

 


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Longen Island

sits in the northwestern part of the Ninigo lagoon. It is surrounded by reef.

Our First

anchorage corresponded with a waypoint given to us. This site was a bit too exposed.

We Moved

actually twice until we were nestled in a pool in the reef; just a few meters away from coral...but snug and secure.

Our First

lunch ashore was with Campbell and Nellie, Eileen and her two little children, Jamileen and Benard Petese. Jamileen was likely suffering from recurrent malaria and we got involved in corresponding with a physician about her condition and later providing malaria meds.

Longen

is a garden island and many families from around the lagoon have gardens here. These are snake beans.

Longan

is home to a "primary" school which is like an upper level elementary school in the USA. Thus many families relocate here so their children can attend school. The lower level "elementary" school is on Amik Island.

This is

the new classroom at the "Amik" Primary School located on Longan Island.

Eileen

teaches in this classroom.

These Students

are students of Mr. Kolpi and Mr. Maron...and we had a fun visit with them but could hardly get them to talk!

Babies

are a common sight on all of the Ninigo Islands. You rarely hear a baby crying.

Francesca

was hoping to ask us for some pain medication for her back and offered us some shells. She also brought a lovely dish of rice, pumpkin and coconut to our second lunch ashore this day. We declined the shells but gave her some NSAIDs for her chronic pain.

Keren

Belynda Oscar, Oscar's wife, is showing us a coconut oil lamp that is the only source of light in their home.

One of Ocar's

young sons preparing cassava for the meal. Children are an active part of food gathering and preparation. They're good kids.

Children

do have a little free time and they like to do kid things. This funny little pool table was popular with the wee boys. Two of these boys just had their periodic head lice shave...

Again

the kids are great and help with chores and with babysitting. No one grumbles. Families are close.

Cats

play an important role in keeping rats at bay. Justin Kolpi, a local teacher, told us that in their home they have rats that will actually nibble on their feet at night. Justin now has a similar cat named Rusty.

Katharsis

was named for a large yacht that recently visited Longen. Campbell loved the name. In front of Campbell is magnificent Leiti, wife of Solomon who we met first at Mal. Solomon and Leiti also treated us to a lovely lunch ashore, as did Dennis and Caroline.

On Longan's West

shore there is a bay defined by fringing coral. On shore here, live Rellen and Elizabeth and their many children. Rellen was building a canoe and visited Carina asking for help.

When

Rellen and Elizabeth visited we gave their son an activity coloring book. We found him actively using it when we came ashore the following day.

Rellen

was trying to finish his long canoe with the help of his brothers - Michael is in white - and his friends. Some of his lumber was compromised and he asked us for help with epoxy resin and fiberglass to repair some areas.

Philip

and Rellen checked the canoe carefullly and decided what needed doing.

Ninigo

canoes are assymetric.

Ribs

are the only part of a canoe hull that is fastened with metal fasteners. These are the copper nails that are so highly prized.

A Copper

nail from the outside with a copper foil washer.

Construction

is purely with hand tools.

Hand Made

plugs are made from wood called ha in the Seimat language. The plug is a hunahun when installed.

Wood

for canoes is salvaged so there is often a bit of creative scarfing involved in canoe construction. The plugs in the side holding the hunahun plugs are called hasa.

Even

plugs are made by hand with an ax.

Philip

prepares epoxy resin for repairs to wood.

Rellen

prepares a knot hole anticipating Philip's epoxy resin.

The Bow

and stern of Ninigo canoes are interchangeable and both are covered in a thick deck held down solely by hunahun or plugs.

A Precise

fit is helpful.

Once

plugged the deck is planed smooth.

Elizabeth

kept a pair of birds captured when they were babies. These beauties were well fed and loved to snuggle the family.

We Asked

Oscar and Keren how we might get to Pihon to visit with a little blind boy named Jamie and Oscar quickly offered to take us in his new canoe Sea Mate.

We Left

after breakfast one day. Keren is tiny but she is surey strong. Oscar was preparing the rig at the time.

Ninigo Canoes

have rectangular sails. Oscar's sail cloth was from a yacht's spinnaker. We did a few small repairs to it before the trip and more afterwards.

We Were

well stocked with food and cameras...as the weather became a wee bit iffy.

Oscar

decided to put into Amik to wait out the weather...

Approaching

Amik takes care even in a canoe.

Amik

is densely populated. It is the main island for the Catholic islanders.

This Kitchen

was spacious.

John's

canoe shed was very neat. His canoe under construction was a magnificent.

Again,

hulls are assymetric. The base is a single piece of carved wood that defines the lines of the canoe. Designs are family secrets.

Out-rigger

design is also an art.

Tools

are simple and sharp!

John

is an artist with wood.

This Massive

old growth tree floated up from some far off land...Malaysia or Indonesia or Thailand and was treasured by the Amik islanders.

Masts

are made from the wood of this tree. Trees in the bush according to Oscar that are larger and have straighter, longer branches.

These Little

boats are left over from an Asian fishing company that was in the lagoon in years past. Over-fishing and low prices soured the relationship. The fishing company sold many of the small boats to islanders before they left.

Keren

was enjoying our walk on Amik.

The Squall

cleared and off we went towards Pihon.

We Had

to make one tack around a shallow reef in the middle of the lagoon.

Even

Leslie was called upon occasionally to be ballast out on the outrigger.

The

seat hangs out to the leaward side and makes a comfortable deck. No canoe travels the lagoon without a fishing line trailing.

Detail

of Oscar's hand constructed sail.

The Clearing

storm gave way to intense sun.

When We

finally turned back west from our visit to Pihon, the sun we in our eyes.

Back

at Longen, we settled into projects as we watched the weather.

We Had

a few curious visitors.

A Trip

up the mast was required to inspect our wind indicator that seemed to be bent. It afforded us a rig inspection too.

In Preparation

for departure, we needed to clean Carina's undersides. Justin and Oscar agreed to help.

Beatte

and her friend decided to come and investigate.

And then

it was time to say goodbye.

Which Was

very difficult.

For

all of us.

Masel

and his family heading home to Pellehuhn sailed past on departure day and gave us a final goodbye.

And We

put to sea through the narrow pass in the reef.

Into

an intertropical convergence of stormy weather and variable winds. Oh, and contrary current.

The Squalls

and fronts brought us amazing cloud formations.

And Magnificent

sunsets.

And Some

very odd stuff.

And

challenges. Twenty one days at sea brought us to Pohnpei's wonderful harbor at Kolonia.