The Quest for Wakonai! continues......click here for next episode!!
Sunday, 12th October.
As the sun rises we are following the coast of Fergusson Island.
And when we pass the southwestern tip of Fergusson, Goodenough Island appears with its permanent crown of clouds.
We continue to sail along the coast of Fergusson.
At 8.28 am we stop to deposit goods in a village.
From there the whole of Goodenough is visible.
Throughout the trip the sailors trail a fishing line. Our first catch. The sailors cook the fish with rice and share it with all the passengers.
10.27am. Another stop. It's now more than 12 hours since we left Alotau, so we should have arrived!!
12.25pm. Another stop going up the north coast of Fergusson.
1.20pm. Another stop, then due west towards Goodenough.
3.37pm. Stop at Wagifa, a small island near Goodenough.
4.05pm. First stop on Goodenough. The captain says that due to an error in the cargo loading order we will make deliveries to the south & west coasts of Goodenough before going to the east coast.
We pass the only outrigger sailing canoe that I have seen.
Then we arrive at the village where the captain was born.
The captain suggests the passengers should disembark. They will be looked after by his family who will bring them back afterwards.
I chose to stay on the boat. The crew went ashore and returned half drunk.
At nightfall (6.30pm) we leave for the west. The sea becomes rough. A short circuit in the electrical cabinet destroys the boats lighting.
Some men at the bow monitor the distance to the coast and the depth of the bottom with a flashlight - a special, extremely powerful torch that lights up a square. I'm with the captain in the wheelhouse. At one point he turned off his GPS. I ask him why and he says it could happen we find ourselves without GPS and without light and so you have to practice. He made the rest of the route without GPS.
As I was recording the trace on my smartphone I could compare his night route with his day one. His night journey always kept an extra margin of safety. Very good.
At 8.20pm we make a stop in Kiliak, then two others around 10pm. Finally, we anchor in a cove at 11pm and go to sleep.
Wakonai is about 5km inland near Vivigani on Goodenough Island.
Monday, 13th October.
At daybreak we find ourselves in an idyllic cove.
Sunrise over MV Goodenough II
My feet on the soil of Goodenough.
One small step for a man.....
At 7.30 am we weighed anchor.
Dolphins playing at the bow of the boat. See short video here.
The passengers go back on board and the journey continues. We navigate and trade along the entire coast to the east.
Eight stopovers between midday and 6pm!                                     Two more fish were caught.
When we pass the strait between Fergusson and Goodenough, the east coast of the island is revealed.
At 6.30pm, the anchor is dropped at Bolubolu. I do a quick tour of the village but couldn't find a beer - we have them in the hold and only unload tomorrow.
I do not feel like walking from Bolubolu to Wakonai, so I go back to sleep on the boat. Tomorrow it goes to Vivigani and the path to Wakonai will be shorter.
Scale: Goodenough Island is approximately 35km across
Click on any photo to enlarge!
The Quest for Wakonai!
part 16 of Sylvain's adventures in Papua New Guinea
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Tuesday, 14th October.

Unloading some goods, then at 10.30am we sail.
I get off the boat here. The track for Vivigani is some kilometers further on, but the dinghy which unloads the house will put me down there.
I say farewell to the Goodenough II.
At 11.13am we unload a complete house in the form of planks.
Unloading on the beach.

And we leave again for a few more kilometers.  We see a dugong. No time to get out the camera. As big as a cow, reddish brown with a dolphin-like tail. Since leaving Alotau I have seen several flights of flying fish, dolphins and now a dugong!
View of the mountains.
They put me down at the start of the track to Vivigani airfield.

It is 1pm. Three days and three nights on the boat for a trip that was supposed to last 12 hours !!!
I'm finally on this island that has to be the highlight of the trip.
The runways at Vivigani were built in 1943 by Australian forces which used Goodenough Island as a base to drive the Japanese out of the south Pacific Islands.
A weekly flight from Alotau was in operation until 2006, but the single runway was not maintained and the airlines refused to continue to use it.
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