Saturday 28 May 2016

Our Dreamtime is on her way to the Louisiade Archipelago

May 28, 2016
The Louisiades Archipelago is a group of tropical islands situated approximately 200km from the eastern tip of mainland Papua New Guinea. Most of the islands lay in a lagoon protected by a barrier reef.

This Google earth image shows the protected lagoon containing the majority of the islands we will visit.
We decided on making this area our first offshore destination on Our Dreamtime after speaking with a number of cruisers who have been there before us. They all describe it as totally unspoiled, incredibly beautiful and a fantastic cruising ground with good winds and calm seas inside the protection of the reefs. The area is comprised of sand cays, lagoon reefs, limestone outcrops  and continental islands with many safe anchorages.  There is snorkelling, diving and fishing galore.
Our fellow cruisers also couldn’t speak highly enough of the happy, friendly nature of the local islanders who live a very simple lifestyle there. They are exceptionally welcoming to yachts and will paddle out to welcome boats and, of course, trade.
The majority of these people live a subsistence lifestyle growing crops and fishing to survive. Some used to generate some currency income by gathering beche-de-mer or sea cucumber for export to Asian markets but years of over fishing has forced the PNG Government to institute a total closure in the hope of allowing the species to recover.
 A gold mine existed on the main island of Misima but it closed in the early 2000s taking its employment opportunities with it. The island still has an airstrip with some limited services to Port Moresby and there are a couple of shops. Villagers travel to Misima from outlying islands by sailing canoe to buy, sell and swap produce at the open market.
There was an annual yacht rally that went to the archipelago from Cairns for a number of years but this ended in 2013 and we are told that now less than thirty yachts visit the island group each year.  This means that the locals have a lot less opportunity to trade and benefit from the visiting yachtsmen.

Looks like paradise to us
Our decision to cruise the Louisiades was based on numerous recommendations that it is a fantastic place to sail. We then also decided that if we were going there we should do what we can to help the people whose home we are visiting.
Through the generous assistance of a great number of people we have loaded our boat with items that these people require in their everyday life. Many were gathered from items unused in people’s households while others were bought and donated. They are not extravagant or overly costly but will hopefully make a significant difference to some people’s lives.
They include a large amount of children’s and adult’s clothing in good condition and some even brand new. Cloth nappies, footwear, sanitary supplies, first aid supplies, educational material, torches, batteries, builders hand tools, nails and even old sails suitable for re-cutting to suit sailing canoes. The boat  has never sat so low in the water.

Hygiene and first aid supplies donated by generous fellow cruisers

We were able to by a lot of line cheap at an auction which should be good for use on sailing canoes.

Brand new nappies donated and soon to be wrapped around babies bottoms.

A fraction of the fishing gear we have loaded on board.

In a charity shop we found these brand new white children's polo shirts, perfect for going to church.

Educational materials donated by a friend

Some of the sewing gear on board.

Potentially lifesaving first aid supplies donated by a family member.

More sewing gear

Insect repellent provided by a generous company along with the rechargeable LED torches below

These torches have a handle on the side to wind a dynamo which recharges them. No flat batteries here.

A knitting group donated these new best friends for some Louisades children

Flash footwear for the kids.

Every locker on Our Dreamtime looks like this.

Our Dreamtime embarked on her  trip to the Louisiades from Brisbane in late May. After a stop in Bundaberg for a quick haul out to touch up our anti-foul we plan to enjoy a leisurely cruise through the Great Barrier Reef islands before departing from Townsville in August to sail across to the Louisiades. Please follow along with us via this blog and our Facebook page.

We plan on a similar route from Townsville as taken by the Catamaran Nimrod in 2014
We would like to thank all the generous donors who have supported this trip and the sailors and cruisers who have given us information and guidance about the Louisiades including Sailing Totem, Gail Grant, Brett Hodder from Seawind of Change, Hans from Louisiades Solar Light Project and the many others along our planning way .... Thank you.

We love to receive comments on our blog from readers. If you do leave a comment and you also have a blog, please leave a link as well. We'd like to click over for a visit and leave you a comment too.

To stay right up to date with what we’re up to  and see lots more photos check out and 'like' our Dreamtime Sail Facebook page at DreamtimeSail

If you have only recently discovered our blog and would like to read how it all started, or work through our previous adventures, click the link to go back to our first blog entry. Stuff it. Let's just go sailing anyway.

We hope you enjoy reading the previous posts to catch up on our story.


  1. Hope to do this in a couple of years. Following with interest. Good on ya! Missed you in Mooloolaba, didn't realise you were there. Toni, Cruising Kitty

    1. Thanks Tony, so glad to have you following along. We were only in Mooloolaba overnight so there wasn't much time unfortunately. Cheers!

  2. You are well supplied, and I am sure it will all be put to good use, as visitor numbers will have dropped since the last rally. Vanuatu's islands outside of the 2 major centres are in similar need, especially after the cyclone. Unfortunately not much diving there, but a wonderful culture.

    1. Thanks Catherine. There's so much more we'd love to take but I fear we'd sink under the weight. We have a number of friends headed to Vanuatu via New Cal who are also well loaded. Cheers!

  3. Hi Karen! So happy to hear you've started the journey to the Louisiades already. I'm jealous sitting here at home in Sydney .. and it's 13 degrees outside! Have a wonderful journey. I've put your blog address in our favourites and will be following along. Glad you and Brett spent some time together. The Louisiades are so wonderful and all the gear you have will make the people there very happy. Take care. We'll be reading!!

    1. Thanks so much for all your help and putting us in touch with Brett. It's been awesome and boosted our confidence. We're delighted to have you sailing along with us on our virtual crew. Cheers!!!


We love to read your comments regarding our blog, what you enjoyed and what you might like to see more of. Please leave us your thoughts.