Dim Dim Magic – Panasia Island

Panasia is a spectacular island of towering limestone cliffs, surrounded by reefs with a pass on the eastern side.  Our electronic charts are way off, so we eyeball the entrance and use waypoints from previous cruisers. In the end it’s a pretty straightforward entrance into an impossibly blue lagoon dotted with the inevitable coral bommies. There’s an idlyllic sandy beach with palm trees just to the right of where we anchor.

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Trading Places – Bagaman Island

Traditionally, the islanders of the Louisiades are traders – in the early 1900’s the famous anthropologist, Bronislaw Malinowski, studied the indigenous people of the Trobriand Islands just north of here and described a complex and sophisticated trading circle known as the “Kula Ring” between many of the PNG islands, including the Louisiades. Islanders would travel many miles in their traditional sailing canoes, exchanging the valued “Bagi” shell necklaces and shell armbands as part of a ceremonial system, but there was also a practical purpose, allowing the people to trade their own specialities for things they might lack such as pigs, yams or fruit. 

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Across The Coral Sea

Clearing out of Australia is a pretty straightforward process, unless like us you’re going to be gone for more than 12 months, in which case apparently you need an official “Export Declaration Number” for the boat. We’re told that trying to organise this yourself is akin to being dumped blindfolded in the wilderness without a compass.  So we take the advice from customs and hire the services of a local agent, Damien, from Alpha Cargo Solutions who does the paperwork for us in a blink of an eye.  Then it’s off to Marlin Marina to await the arrival of Border Force for our clearance.  Apparently they need three officers to ensure we leave the country, but it takes all of five minutes and we’re done.

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