Kate was going to an event to kick off a Mangrove Planting program down the highway at the SolwaraSchool. This is a facility run by Aslan Awareness a local NGO organization that she does a lot of work with.
They are about 5 miles down the coast. I decided I would try to paddle down to attend if I could find them and then either cartop or paddle back.
I had to run the market that morning because I had made an arrangement with a woman to purchase some rose bushes. It was the day before Easter, which iis a huge holiday here, a 4 day weekend, so she naturally didn’t show up, but I still bought a bunch of food and got a late start.
I had no idea if I could find their place because I have only been there a few times, and only by land. Fortunately I found a couple of kids swimming right about when I thought I might be close and they gave me vague directions (around the next point).
I then called Kate and guessed she and I were looking at the same point. I paddled for another 15 minutes, and thought I saw it, but it looked too small so I went further than called again.
Kate couldn’t see me, but other people on the beach told her I had already passed by, so I turned around and went in.
The whole thing was delayed so even though I got there at 11:00 it didn’t start till later.
The program was kicked-off by Miss PNG, Rachel James.
She is from New Ireland and is a Marine Bilologist. She has been an Ambassador for environmentalism and conservation, and has been in the news often promoting it.
Here is a picture of her and Kate. I just missed the embrace…
I wimped out and took a car ride home, since I had been cooked pretty well by the time I got there. The sunscreen washes off and I had much more sun on my hands and dark bands of intense tan.
I didn’t even realize it was Earth Day! It was actually Earth Day in the US, it was the day after Earth Day here.
There have been great and really full moons this week, that make it almost light when I ride to work in the dark in the mornings. This picture is about an hour before sunrise taken to the West out of NusaIsland.Really pretty and nice.
For Easter we went out to a local island, Uissen, with the staff from a restaurant in town “Bamboo” They had a great meal and all the kids had fun on an egg hunt. Unfortunately we got dumped on by intense rain and had to spend about 90 minutes huddled in the local’s huts, under trees, and even in the water trying to stay dry and warm. The food was great.
I never get over what litterbugs people are here. We should take them all to the US to see some of the beaches around NYC. The owner was trying to get them to keep things clean, but the minute she turned her back they would throw things in the ocean.
The beach and island was just stunning and beautiful, and they had chucked a huge bag of trash that we had picked-up, along with an assortment of beer cans, plates and foil. I picked it all up and brought it back to the boat, but noticed it wasn’t with us when we left. The people who lived there offered to “take care of it” hopefully this didn’t mean tossing it back in the ocean!
Tax day in the USA, a good day to go paddling in PNG…
I went for an afternoon paddle and then met Kate at Nusa resort on an island for drinks. Kate was swimming over from her office about ¾ of a mile, and I paddled from our house. I found her out in the harbor on her way there.
We passed this boat on way. It had a canoe in the middle of it, but they had offloaded the canoe by the time I took this picture. People have great names for boats. Our favorite is "Ey No Wrong yet" (nothing is wrong yet). Presumably this is a very negative way of saying "Smooth Sailing". It sort of sums up the attitude of the language and the culture.
We hung out with some of the other local ex-pats and had a nice dinner. It was a great night to paddle since the moon was full. Kate took a boat back to her truck, and I paddled back.
I was more than a bit nervous about the surf landing through the reef in the dark. Although I could see enough to paddle I could not see the swell and judge the landing well.
On the way out I was rejected once, and capsized. The tide was low on this return trip, so it was just dumping surf on rock. Very dangerous, but only for 30 or 40 feet since the full force of the wave is expended almost instantly when it breaks.
Our neighbors were sitting around a campfire down where I usually go through the surf, and they say my light. 3 or 4 kids were jumping up and down with burning log torches to make it more dramatic.
Eventually I just said what the hell and gave it a try. I made it in a bit, but then got nailed by a huge wave. It slammed the boat down into the reef, but I managed to brace into it, so I didn’t get rolled. It did make a really impressive noise.
When I got back over to our house I couldn’t lift the boat, the front seemed heavy. I had taken all Kate’s snorkel gear, but when I tried to unload it I realized the entire front hatch was flooded.I had torn a huge hole in the seem along the bow. A spot that had already leaked slightly and been patched several times.
Kate was Francis, a guy at her office, do some work on her boat, so I had him fix my boat as well. He did a great job for only K40 about $25. Her is a picture of him next to the boat.
I guess I have to limit night paddling, or find a better place to land.
Earlier in the afternoon I came home and found Jesus on my doorstep under a beer bottle. It took a while, but I realized somebody had stopped by to invite us to a religious gathering, and since they didn’t want the note to blow away they put it under a beer bottle. That was very “PNG”. …
Also checkout this funny picture from the newspaper. Some villagers caught a crocodile and were going to eat it, For some reason the paper wanted two pictures, but the inset picture is exactly the same as the main picture just smaller and oval. Not sure what the intent was.
Another funny newspaper picture. A story about 2 tourists in a double kayak getting swept out to sea and rescued by a fishing boat, accompanied by a picture of a person rolling a kayak. Not sure what the message is. Must have been the only kayak picture they had in inventory.
Here is a picture of Kate giving Stinky his Sunday breakfast of cognac infused French Toast with whipped cream. Stinky is VERY interested in it, so he has stood-up to take a whiff. He is a bit of snob, but this was good cognac so he ate it happily.
I have to keep a constant monitor on Kate so she doesn’t scoop up another puppy. Here she is with the neighbors dog, "Jealous", a very cute puppy, but becoming an annoying dog quickly.
My first time out paddling since I got back over 1 week ago. Just too busy and too much stuff going on, also the weather had been bad.
It had rained all day, and I thought it was finally over, but of course as soon as I got out in the water it started to dump on me again.It is so warm here, that it wasn’t a problem. I had a light jacket on, and got dumped on 2 times and still it wasn’t cold, quite a feat for a “chilly willy” like me. I didn’t get around to releasing a message, and I didn’t stay out very long because I didn’t want to have to go through the surf in the dark. I made it back to PNG successfully.
The airport was still closed when I arrived. There was a dispute between the local people and the government about a lot of money that the Government owed the traditional landowners when the town was built. This dispute went on for years and years, so the locals put a “Gor-Gor” on the airport. Basically they shut it down and post some branches from a special plant and nobody will dare cross it. Sort of like a curse. This is a very powerful mechanism, and the airport, which wasn’t even on disputed land was closed for 10 days. A big problem since there is only one airport on the island. This means no mail, no newspapers, 100 reservations a day canceled, if you run tourist business no customers, if you are on vacation no way home, etc etc…
I had arranged to get a lift with some friends who run a surf charter business. PNG Surfaris from the next island over.I flew in Rabaul in New Britian where they were picking up some of theirclients the next day.
There was an assortment of other lost souls goingto Kavieng. A pilot who lives in town, a dive tourist going to a resort,and some local guys coming back from a surf contest on the mainland of PNG.It was very luxurious, compared to the other option: an open crossing in a "banana boat", a trip through the hills, and then down the coast in a public mini bus.That would have been hot, dangerous, and exhausting.
I saw this big ship on my way back home. It is run by a company called “Nautilis” they are doing deep sea mining. Everyone in the conservation community is worried about the impact it will have when it brings tons of silt up from the bottom. God knows what will happen deep down below 1,000 feet or more where they are sucking up all the dirt. Currently they are just doing testing. The ship doesn’t anchor it just hovers with a computer controlled positioning system using thrusters and GPS.I passed it on the way back to Kavieng.
I didn't enjoy the cruise much because I was still getting over my cold,was jetlagged, and just wanted to be back home. We were delayed oneadditional day by a cancelled flight of their paying customers, butfinally left on Monday morning, and arrived in Kavieng the next morning. I think that makes a new record for a NYC->PNG leg of about 100 hours.
The drought broke when I was away, and it rained quite a bit. Soeverything is green again, and our water tank is full to overflowing.
The surf has died down, so it is not so noisy at our house, and it issafe to get out by kayak or swim out to the ocean. There were a numberof weeks where it was too dangerous to get out from ourbeach.
As we get toward the end of our stay I feel I need to do more outdoorfun stuff because I know I will miss it when we go back home.