Many of us dream of life at sea – chucking in the day job and sailing over the horizon in search of adventure and tropical bliss. Making that dream a reality is not cheap or easy, and life on the high seas is not always blissful. But, as Hans Clemmensen has found, it can be immensely fulfilling and rewarding. Hans migrated to Australia from Denmark 40 years ago, and found his way to far north Queensland, where he worked at the legendary Rusty’s market in Cairns. Hans got into boats, bought himself a yacht and has been sailing out of Cairns, across the Coral Sea for the past 17 years. He’s been making regular voyages aboard the SV Seagoon (named for Neddie Seagoon of The Goon Show) to the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
Hans makes regular visits to island communities in the Milne Bay region, at the eastern end of main-land Papua New Guinea. “It’s a very beautiful part of PNG, lots of islands, people who are friendly, no crime to talk about,” says Hans. But this is a remote part of the country, with little in the way of industry or infrrastructure. The main source of income has been bech-de-mer fishing, but conservation measures have closed that industry and people have turned to hunting for shark fin to make a living. There’s very little money around, basic goods are hard to get, and very costly. There’s no electricity, and Hans has a project going to introduce sustainable solar powered lighting, and he’s hoping you might be able to help.
He’s looking for solar panels, batteries and the other bits and pieces needed to set up a sustainable lighting system. “So far, I have been very lucky to get sponsored with 20 solar panels and some batteries from the recycle shop and I bought a lot of wire to be used in running power to LED lights in the houses,” says Hans. He hopes to sail back to Milne Bay in May with enough gear on board to get the sustainable lighting project running, and he’s looking for crew to make the journey with him.
Can you help Hans with his project? Visit his website http://yachtseagoon.bravehost.com/index.htm or call Hans on 0417 454 187.
Listen to Hans tell the story of his years at sea, and explain his Milne Bay lights project.
Pictures by Hans Clemmensen