Lost at Sea?

The golden Madang sun broke through the surface of the water and started to rise quickly into the lightening sky. This day was proving to be a beauty already.


Our coffee was finished, and we were all ready for some adventures. Only that day, we didn’t know we’d be in for more of an adventure than we had planned.


We were ready for the ocean by the time we had packed up all our snorkelling gear, lunch, and loads of water. We were off to Pig Island (no, we still don’t know why it’s named that). Pig Island was about a 30 min speed boat ride from the main Madang town.

After parking our car, we walked up to the boat stop were about 20 speed boats floated in the cool, turquoise water. We saw all kinds of passengers from pigs, to chickens, and of course their owners loading up to return back to their island after the morning’s purchases.


NOT my picture, but this is Madang from the air

We were happy to see our previous skipper who had taken us to Pig Island only two days before. He was a large PNG man with a just as large smile. His boss crew (helper) was a 7 year old kid that could walk along the rim of the small speed boat while it was moving. I almost believed this kid could breath water, because the water was more a part of his life than the land!


We had been pretty careful about choosing our boat, preferring the middle-aged man that was less boisterous and seemed more mature to some of the other crews we saw. Happily, we hopped aboard his bobbing vessel and set off for Pig Island.

The ocean was beautiful as the sun glistened on the waves and blue waters. We sped along, happily ignorant of the problem fast approaching. Pig island came into view and JUST as we are getting ready to cross Pig channel…it happened!


Our boat stopped. Yep that’s right, no amount of cursing, hitting, or glaring could prompt it back to life. We were plain out of fuel.

“I am very sorry, I’ll just call one of my friends.” Our skipper got out his tiny cell phone and dialed his friend. After yelling ‘hello’ over and over again until they both seemed to be able to hear each other the message that “we needed gas” apparently got through.

The skipper asked his friend to come out in his boat with some extra fuel. And his friend was willing to bail us out. While we waited the waves continued harmlessly to roll beneath our boat. Or the only harm they did was make ALL of  us seasick.

For about 20 minutes we floated around in sight of our destination, but frustratingly not within reach. Then another speed boat was spotted, after waving our hands and some shirts at it … it STILL ignored us. Finally, Dad brought out his whistle and started screeching away. The boat seemed to notice us then, maybe it just wanted to shut Dad up, just like all the rest of us. Anyhow, they decided to come over a check us out,

Their skipper looked at ours with an expression like “ now why should I help you?” After exchanged a few words like they decided they would tow us the island and our skipper could wait for his friend there for extra fuel.


After 10 minutes of bumping along behind the other boat they untied us in the protected cove part of the island.

Our 7-year-old cabin crew jumped in the water and towed us the rest of the way to the beach where we unload our picnic and gear.

The salt water washed away all our worries and we arranged with our skipper that he should come and pick us up around 3. After another 30 an hour his friend finally showed up with his fuel. I am so glad we didn’t have to stay out in the ocean that long, because we would have all been puking off the sides of the boat.

The fish and coral once again entertained and amazed us for hours as we spent an amazing day all by ourselves on an island covered in coconut palms, tropical plants, white sand, and surround by bright turquoise waters full of color and life. It honestly was like a landscape straight out of movie like Robinson Crusoe or NEMO!



We bathed in the ocean and got burnt by the sun. We built sand castles, teased lion fish, watched a sea snake and collected as many beautiful sea shells as we could.



Our skipper came back for us right on time. We sadly packed our now sandy gear back up and flung ourselves into his rocking boat.


And we were off again. Confident that twice in one day for running out of fuel is just TOO much, we leaned back and enjoyed out ride.


But all too soon our peace was interrupted by the dying of the motor right at the beginning of Kranket Island.

WHY!! We wanted to throw up our hands.


After trying several houses along the shore asking for fuel, another boat came up and agreed to tow us to one side of Kranket Island. Once again, our skipper got on the phone and asked his friend to bring fuel to him this time at Kranket island.


We got off the boat on shore and the 7 year started a long run/walk to the other side of the island to pick up fuel from his friend. We sat under the shade of a mango tree and traded stories with our skipper and one of his friends, who joined us shortly.


It felt like another 40 minutes before our little cabin crew came into view huffing and puffing, carrying 5 litres of fuel. We boarded the boat for the last time and rode back to the boat stop.

What can you expect in the land of the unexpected but adventure?

We trooped back to our car and started talking about the next adventure we had planned for the next day. Only more surprises awaited us and the land of the unexpected once more taught us to expect nothing but JUST that…the unexpected.

Stay tuned for more adventures…




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