Louisiades revisited
Yachting Monthly|October 2021
John Marley returns to the Louisiades, Papua New Guinea, for a second aid project – with 300 pairs of glasses and copies of YM
John Marley
'Overfalls occur where the outgoing tidal stream passes into deeper water and meets the sea generated by the south-east trade wind. The overfalls are hazardous to small craft,’ said the Admiralty Sailing Directions for Hydrographers Passage.

This did not sound appealing as we were planning on using this passage to take our Oceanis 37, Essex Girl, through the Great Barrier Reef from Queensland, Australia to the Louisiades Archipelago of Papua New Guinea for our second aid project.

How many of the lessons learned from our first trip (YM, Learning Curve, May 2018) had we taken on board?

We left at the beginning of August 2019, from Mackay, as the 025º track to the Louisiades, 711 miles away, gave the best angle to the south-easterly trade winds, but this meant using Hydrographers Passage, discovered in 1981 by Captain James Bond. Fortunately, we had advice from one of the bulk carrier passage pilots who told us how to avoid the worst of the overfalls.

Outbound we were loaded with donations and six people, so Essex Girl was well down on her marks, but there were always two on watch and the four below could hot-bunk.

EFFICIENT STOWAGE

Lessons learned last time about maximising every inch of storage space and leaving all packaging behind were valuable again. The islands have no rubbish, and no rubbish disposal, so not leaving packaging there was important.

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