WORLD  DISCOVERER  -  " Sinking"

                                                                                               April  30,  2000



We were on enroute from Fiji to The Islands of New Guinea...and then on to Guam.  Stops in the Solomon Islands....including Guadalcanal ... were anticipated.  As we came in sight of Guadalcanal  , we received word from the State Dept. to stay away.  The islanders were having a minor war with one of the neighboring islands.....and arriving at the dock would put the WD in the crossfire.  Zodiac landings elsewhere on Guadalcanal were also a "no-no" because of the native unrest.
Sooooo....   since flexibility  is the name of the game on an expedition trip.....we went to visit another island for a bit.   Now while on that island, we spied a distant volcano smoking.   So we decided  to investigate....and were fortunate enough to see it blow.  The Captain then suggested that we wander over to "Iron Bottom Sound"...where all those ships were sunk during the War in the Pacific.  We were part way there.... when the ship hit an uncharted reef...which ripped several big gashes in her bottom.  Just for your info....uncharted areas of the Pacific are not that unusual.


















Text Box: Just for reference......
We thought you might like to see what the old girl looked like.....
prior to the accident











                                                                           Okay.....Here Goes.



Text Box: Location:    Sandfly Passage...near the island of Ngela.
The ship hit the reef about 3 PM.
This is my view from the zodiac .....enroute to the the pouring rain......about 4 PM.
Because of the coral reefs...the life boats couldn't make it all the way to the beach.  So there was a mid-water transfer of passengers, from the life boats to the zodiacs

Text Box: There was no "going back to the cabin to get valuables, etc".
We were taking on water too fast, and the lower levels were rapidly filling with water
Text Box:  # 2.       The last life boat leaves the ship.... carrying crew members






Text Box: By the way...see the name of the ship ?
Now notice the 3 sets of double portholes...directly to the left of the name.
The center set belonged to our suite


















Text Box: # 3.   "To The Woods...To The Woods".....
After the passengers were safely off....the Captain "stepped on the gas" and ran the ship into the keep her from sinking all the way to the bottom  ( and thereby giving the crew and divers a chance to at least salvage medical supplies). 
You should have heard the sounds of the trees cracking as the ship hit them.













Text Box: # 4.  Repositioning the ship, to be parallel with the ease limited salvage of the items in any unflooded cabins



Text Box: # 5.    New deck a result of  "forest bonding"









Text Box: # 6.  The ship hit with such force that the pool water emptied...and the zodiacs on the top level were rearranged  ( making it almost impossible to maneuver them into the water.
I think they were actually only able to get about 2 zodiacs into the sea.





Text Box: This shot was taken 2 hours after the accident......listing 20 degrees.
Before morning...the list was 45 degrees







Text Box: # 7.  There's  "himself"....standing in front of a sign...erected by 1 of the last 6 ships  "killed" since the uncharted reef here.











Text Box: # 8.  Our cabin










Text Box: # 9.   Some of the "friendly" natives.
But after it got dark......if what little you had, wasn't attached to your dissappeared.
That includes life jackets and fuel cans for the zodiacs








Text Box: # 10.   "Okay....Been There....Done That  now." What's next ?











Text Box: # 11.  Night Vigil....Waiting For Rescue.
A rescue "passenger ferry" finally got to us..around midnight.









Text Box: 12.  A very sad ending.  It was like saying "good-bye" forever, to a dear old friend.












Text Box: P.S. ........Sooooooo....guess  what was the nearest island that could engage in any type of rescue operation.....and where the passenger ferry took us ?     GUADALCANAL.       They got us into port around 4:30 in the morning...and we were met by the Peace Corps.
They took care of us very nicely......but they really wanted us to "get out of Dodge".  So they arranged for a charter flight to take us to Brisbane.
It took us 3 days travel to finally arrive  back home .
About 2 hours after we walked in the front door...we turned on the hear that the situation in Guadalcanal had escalated...the embassies had been shut down....and all embassy personal and any non-natives had been evacuated from the island.





Text Box: Hey.....when we take an "Adventure Trip"....we REALLY take an Adventure Trip  !!!
Want to join us on our NEXT One ???




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