We are now on Buka Island, well and in good health. It has been a risky, challenging and adventurous trip so far after completing almost 300 nautical miles (600 kilometres) from Manus to Buka before we leave home ground (water!) and head into international waters for the first time on this voyage.
New Crew Member
We left Lihir with an extra crew member – Bobo from Kavieng, whose parents are from Manus and Kavieng and who joined us for the Lihir to Buka leg of our journey. Sadly, he will be leaving us shortly to fly back to Lihir but wished to take up the challenge and travel with us on this adventurous voyage across the Pacific. You will find many of our photographs and videos were taken by Bobo.
Bobo joined the Climate Challenger from Lihir to Buka, Bougainville to experience the challenge of ocean voyaging life. Photo: Manuai Matawai, taken at Lif Island of the Tanga Islands group
Young Bobo getting some hands-on experience taking video. Photo: Manuai Matawai
Anir Island (Babase Island)
The journey to Anir (Babase) Island was rough, and we lost a box full of supplies containing axes and all cooking equipment overboard.
Molean Polin preparing sago for breakfast, a meal for a long journey to give us energy before setting sail from Tanga to Anir island. Photo by Manuai Matawai (taken before we lost all cooking equipment)
Climate Challenger crew enjoying our traditional Manus staples – sago and fish, for breakfast. Photo Manuai Matawai
We spent 2 nights at Anir (Babase) Island, and during that time, we played climate change awareness films, shared Mbuke Island’s climate change adaptation experience and of course performed our Manus dancing. Over 100 people came to watch and listen and villagers told us they have observed climate change impacts in their gardens.
The community of Babase had never seen a canoe as large as the Climate Challenger before, and several people wanted to buy it. Manuai has promised to return at some stage after the trip and help them build their own one.
The young Anirians welcoming us to Anir (Babase) Island. The ocean looks deceivingly calm, but a day before it wasn’t so calm and we lost a box of supplies overboard in the rough sea. Photo: Bobo
Entertaining on Anir showing the Manus Way. Photo: Bobo
Matsungan Island, Buka Island, Bougainville
We arrived Matsungan island on Buka Island at 9 am on Tuesday. The team was greeted by the chief of Matsungan and welcomed to the island with the traditional practice of feet washing. Culturally, the washing of feet is supposed to bring luck to first time visitors to the island (and maybe wash away bad luck!). We had a short program in the evening where we gave awareness on climate change and showed off the Manus garamut dance.
Chief Tokome of Matsungan Island leads Climate Challenger crew to shore
A Matsungan woman washes the Climate Challenger crew’s feet as part of welcome initiation. Photo: Manuai Matawai
Crew welcomed by the Matsungan community. Photo: Manuai Matawai
Buka Town, Bougainville
We arrived Buka town at 11 am yesterday with a rousing welcome by the Manus community and Bougainvilleans. A refreshment was hosted by the Manus Community followed by a dinner hosted by Mrs. Josephine Manuai Nakin and family, a Manus long time business woman on Buka Island.
Young Bobo on Climate Challenger. Manus/Buka boat escorts Challenger to port. Background; vandalised Starship vessels. Photo: Manuai Matawai
Crew welcomed at Leta village, Buka Passage. Photo: Manuai Matawai
Bobo and Joseph testing out Buka’s giant sized betel nut. Photo: Manuai Matawai
We have been filming all of our adventures and encounters. It is really amazing to see the crew having no fear. Every day we strategise, reach consensus and act… The journey so far has made us more resilient, adaptive and innovative. It is a great experience for us. Sometimes, we give up hope when our prayers are not answered and we encounter rough seas, but then we have come to realise that it is all about testing our faith.
The challenge ahead is, ‘are we able to complete the voyage????’ Only the WIND will tell.