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Aequus in the Louisiades

A blow-by-blow account of SY Aequus' adventures from Cairns to the Louisiades during the 2009 Louisiades Rally.

Having been cruising full time since we left Sydney in May, we arrived at Yorkey's expecting to simply spend a few quiet days getting to know the other crews and provisioning to ensure everyone was well rested prior to departure.

So much for that plan!

On arrival at Yorkey's we were directed to our pre-booked berth, only to find it already occupied by another boat which the office knew nothing about. A new berth was soon allocated, although as I hung the shore power lead over it the entire utility pillar fell over! A quick check confirmed that the power and water were working OK, and with a little re-arrangement of the power lead the pillar regained its balance, so I ignored it and focused on the more pressing issues: provisioning and tracking down the new life raft and our passports! I never for a moment considered that a few days later an obnoxious and self-righteous marina manager would be blatantly accusing me of damaging his marina and demanding payment for the damage!

A visit to the office revealed a letter from the PNG High Commission to let us know visa prices were now higher than those listed on the website - giving us just a couple of days to send additional payment and have our visas returned from Brisbane.

Later the same day a phone call from the courier company confirmed that our new life raft was in Cairns, but had been delivered to the wrong marina. Not to worry, another driver would bring it over to Yorkey's in a day or two...

Finally, the apprehension of our first blue water passage and spending the next month more than 500 miles from the nearest ship's chandler induced a rather expensive compulsion to make many last minute purchases of additional spares and safety equipment just in case...

And so our five days in Yorkey's Knob dissolved into a blur of provisioning, tracking down passports and rafts, briefints, last minute trips to Whitworths and Geopickers, more briefings, and getting to know our fellow rally participants over a few cool drinks of an evening.

Tips for Cruisers

  • On arrival at a marina, inspect for and report any damage at the berth immediately! Arguments with marina managers and bills for damage done by others can ruin your week.
  • Count on catching fish a couple of times a week in the Louisiades. Absolutely anyone can catch themselves a decent mackerel or tuna on passage between islands!
  • Unless you have sufficient cold storage, only expect your fresh greens and tomatoes to last a couple of weeks at most - even in "green bags". You can trade for local salad greens and tomatoes at some islands.
  • Apples and oranges can last much longer, especially if you keep them dry and well ventilated.
  • Cryovac'd and blast frozen steak and mince will keep frozen for a month in the bottom of your fridge provided the fridge temperature remains

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