Ninigo Islands

Updated April 22, 2018


Race dates for August 2018 have just been announced!   

Photo Galleries from Carina's 2016 visit can be viewed by clicking links below.

Mal Island and Sailing Canoe Races

Pihon Island and Sailing Canoe Races

Longen Island and Canoe Construction


The Great Ninigo Islands Canoe Race in Papua New Guinea

By Philip DiNuovo & Leslie Linkkila, SV Carina for the Seven Sea Cruising Association

With Susie Plume, Yacht Adina, and John Stokes, Filmmaker and child of Ninigo

The Ninigo Islands compose a group of thirty-one islands lying 140 miles north-east of Vanimo and fifty nautical miles northwest of the Hermit Islands.  Mal Island has a school, small clinic and even an airstrip but this is very rarely used.   Longan Island is also a popular spot.

The island group has no source of income with the coconut and fishing trade having dried up and so they are now self-reliant with some support from subsidies from the government. The nearest town for supplies is Lorengau on the island of Manus, a trip of 200 nautical miles across open and often rough seas which islanders undertake in banana boats using little more than a compass.

Many cruisers have described a stop here as one of their highlights of sailing across the Pacific Ocean. The people are warm, kind and welcoming, but they have very little, and so yachts can make a great difference by visiting, bringing supplies and expertise.  Popular items include clothes, rice, sugar, flour, soap, washing powder, rope, tools, fish hooks, epoxy, and tarpaulin and used sails.

For fifty-one weeks of the year the islanders of Ninigo Atoll use their outrigger canoes to fish and commute between the islands. For a few days in August they race, skilled sailors battling it out for the honor of their island. In 2015 ninety-six canoes raced in six classes over five days. This is an event not to be missed!  

‘The Great Ninigo Islands Canoe Race’ Facebook page created by John Stokes who spent time in the Ninigo Islands as a child and is a supporter of keeping these great traditional races going.

Enter through the pass at approximately 01-20.176 S /  144-09.977 E. Anchor by Mal Island at the main village anchorage  at 01-23.53 S /144-10.82 E or by Puhipi village 01-23.6 5S / 144-11.64 E.