Riviera rallies to PNG

Riviera rallies to PNG

The elder statesman of long-range cruising and loyal Riviera owner, Ian Reynolds has returned from another incredible voyage, a month-long sojourn aboard Investigator V

in Papua New Guinea.

Together with Bill Feutrill and Keith Hanson, who heads up R Marine Coomera, Ian took his Riviera 56 Enclosed Flybridge to PNG and back — a total of 1380nm (2555km) — for the 2nd annual Louisiades Rally.

At 81, Ian found the trip “a walk in the park”, blessed with good weather, superb company and the delight of discovery in idyllic cruising waters few powerboat owners experience.

Ian’s was the first powerboat to take part in the event, organised by EcoSustainAbility with the aim of exploring some of the hundreds of tropical islands and engaging with the local people, their customs and culture.

“PNG has always been the preserve of the yachtie,” he observes. “We were one of only a handful the local people had seen. At Misima Island we were the first recreational powerboat ever.”

While the 28 other Rally participants initially viewed Investigator V with a degree of derision, this gradually turned to envy for the Riviera’s mod cons — the espresso machine for lattes and the air-conditioning in the sweltering tropical heat.

The local people and many of the yachties were grateful for Investigator V’s desalination capacity, since freshwater is in short supply. “It’s really a case of ‘water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink,” quipped Ian, quoting Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner. “The locals drink mostly coconut milk so they were lining up to fill anything and everything with freshwater.”

Ian’s interest in PNG had been piqued during his circumnavigation of Australia in 2008.

“When we passed through the Torres Strait, I thought I would like to go back and explore that area,” he explained. “We were expecting tropical islands and azure waters, but the reality was even better. We enjoyed the feasts and dancing, fishing and trading with the natives. It’s was trip we will never forget.”

Next on the agenda for the fit octogenarian is the circumnavigation of Tasmania, the West Coast of which he says is “just as wild as anywhere on this planet”.

For more information, click on www.riviera.com.au

Photos: Rally participants enjoyed feasts and dancing with the locals; A more familiar sight on the waters of the Louisiades; Everywhere they travelled, the crew of Investigator V attracted kids, eager for toys and lollies; Ian led several fishing expeditions with local people; Ian Reynolds, veteran of circumnavigating Australia and other long-range cruising; Investigator V, the only powerboat for miles and miles and miles…