A Travellerspoint blog

Monday 18/7/2011

Weather: Sunny, Overcast Place: The Islands

sunny 28 °C

Woke at 7.20am. Had breakfast, cereal and fruit. Packed my pack and waited to get picked up by Patty's Tours. We were planning to tour the islands by boat. They were meant to pick up at 9am but it ended up being 10am as their minibus had broken down. Charles (one of the other Australian guests at the lodge) joined us for the tour. Finally Greta drove us to a resort called Driftwood where we were meeting the boat. There was only Charles, Dad, the boat driver, crewman and I. I sat on the edge of the gunwale the whole time because I got the spray. It was quiet hot.

After about 2 hours we came to Samarai Island (the boats engine played up a few times on the way out). Had some sandwiches on the boat and then went for a walk around the island. It was a ghost town! Saw an old hospital. The people had left without taking anything, even the medicine. Walked around the wharves which were all falling down and saw an old church. Most of the people left on the island work for a pearl company run by an Australian. Samarai Island was the old provincial capital for Milne Bay but it was moved to Alotau in 1976. Since then it has fallen into disrepair.

Got back on the boat and went out to Gonbaribari Island where were supposed to snorkle with Manta Rays. The tide was not right and they were not there which was a bit of a pity. Maybe if we had left on time and not had engine problem we would have been there at the right time! Next went to Dabi Dabi Island. A beautiful deserted' little island with white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. Went snorkling for about an hour. Saw lots of fish and a lobster. Beautiful coral. The had some more sandwiches and explored parts of the island. Found a giant Clam shell. Got back into the boat and drove home. I got drenched by the waves on the way back. Started raining again just as we reached Driftwood Resort. Had a nice hot shower and then had dinner, rice and chicken stir-fry. Played cards with Dad and chatted to the Americans.

Posted by avoca 17:00 Archived in Papua New Guinea Comments (0)

Tuesday 19/7/2011

Weather: Overcast Place: Milne Bay

overcast 26 °C

Woke 7.30am and packed our day pack. Then had breakfast, pancakes with cinnamon. YUM!! Played with the cat. Waited for the tour people to pick us up. We were planning to do a World War II tour. The people picked us up at 9.20am, 2 men, 1 driver and 1 guide. They were very nice.

Drove through Alotau (capital of Milne Bay province) toward East Cape to see some old American Landing Craft (Dad said there called Higgins Boats). They were 1km inland and there were 6 altogether. According to the locals they were dragged there during the war so the Japs did not know the Americans had arrived. 1 still had its engines!!

Next we stopped beside the water in a bay where the Japs had landed. The place was Ahioma. We were doing the tour the way the battle was fought. Then we drove to KB Mission after seeing where Corporal French one his VC. It was a battle where the Japs pushed the Aussie's back toward the airfields and was not far from the lodge. Dad had not realised that Alotau is actually in the middle of the battle field.

Next we went drove to where the old Aussie wharf was and where a Australian ship had been sunk. It was also the main Australian supply base after the battle. We saw lots of horses on the side of the road. The guide said they were for the cowboys who worked on the cattle farm further up the valley. We had morning tea on what remains of the wharfs footings. It is now a small boat building yard where they build 20m wooden luggers. The guide said we could buy one for 50,000 Kina.

Next we drove on to Strip 3 (allied airfield). It was the site of a battle where the Aussie's stopped the Japs who had landed at Ahioma. Many Japanese soldiers were killed here. It is also the southern most point the Japanese army ever got to! There is a memorial to those who died and also to Squadron Commander Turnbull, who was killed whilst strafing the Japs on a ridge south of Ahioma.

Lastly we drove through lots of palm oil plantations to Guerny Airport, which had been the main airstrip during the war. This is where we flew into from Port Moresby. Had a look at some old AA guns (a Bofors) and a memorial the Pilot Guerny who was also killed during the battle. He was Qantas' first pilot before the war.

That was the tour and they took us back to Alotau as we wanted to see if we could find some more gifts for my school friends. There was only gift shop they new of in Alotau but is was very small and expensive! Went to their office and then back to the lodge.

Had lunch, we ordered a club sandwich, but got a steak sandwich, then ordered a fruit juice and ended up with a fruit platter!! It was still nice though. Relaxed in our room. Then went for a walk around town. Rained a lot. Saw the market and went into all the trading stores. They are a bit like our K-mart variety shops. Bought some ice creams... very nice!! Got weird looks from everyone as we were the only dim dims (translates to white fella but is not derogatory) in the shops!!

Arrived back at the lodge a little wet. Relaxed in our room again. Went up for tortillas, YUM!! Talked to Jenny, Jordan and Charles. This was our last night with them so we said our goodbyes in case we did not see them before we left. Julius and Greta turned up and said goodbye also. They had just picked up a couple of English volunteer medico's who were going to be staying for a month in Alotau working in the hospital.

Posted by avoca 17:00 Archived in Papua New Guinea Comments (0)

Wednesday 20/7/2011

Weather: Overcast, Rainy Place: Milne Bay to Home

overcast 26 °C

Woke 7.15am. Repacked our packs. Had a shower then went up for breakfast. Had a full English breakfast each as dad said meals would be a bit erratic today. Jenny and Jordan came up for breakfast so we talked and said goodbye again. Patted the cat.

Starting to get worried about our flight as it is raining heavily and has not stopped all night! Drove to the airport at 9am, our flight is 10.25am. Waited ages before we could check in. Lots of flies but the weather cleared up a little, at least it stopped raining enough for our plane to land. Finally boarded our plane for the 1 hour flight to Port Moresby. Talked and annoyed Dad!

Arrived at Port Moresby OK. Checked in for our next flight. Bought some things at the airport duty free shop. Boarded our next flight to Brisbane. Everything was fine so far. 3 hours later arrived at Brisbane. Very boring but got a meal, beef and rice. Looked disgusting but was actually quite nice!! Finally arrived at Brisbane Airport. Got our bags and had to declare our boots and my carved stick. Got both through fine. Had to catch a train to Domestic Terminal.

Boarded our last flight to Sydney (after a long time waiting). The plane actually had TV screens even though it was domestic. Finally arrived in Sydney. Met Mum and Jemma. I was very happy!!! Drove home which took another 2 hours, longer than flying from Brisbane. Finally got HOME. Home at last!!! Though I already missed our group of trekkers and the track itself!! Both Dad and I wished we could have kept going for longer.

THE END

Posted by avoca 17:00 Archived in Papua New Guinea Comments (0)

My Notes

  • The reason that the natives' lips are usually bright red is because they chew Betle Nut, which is a type of mild drug. It is the seed of a palm tree called Areca Palm.
  • Out of all the horses used on the track for carrying supplies during the war, only one one was killed and its name was 'Lucky'
  • The villagers have very small and skinny dogs that ofter look like dingoes. They teach them to help the hunters hunt wild pig.
  • Animals - Tree Kangaroos, Cus-Cus, Cassowary's, Wild Pig and Birds of Paradise. Really see on track now because of the number of people.
  • Avocados are called 'Butter Fruit'
  • Mountain Bread Recipe (or Brigade Hill Bread as this is where the porter's made it for us - very yummy eaten with honey)

1/2kg SR Flour
1/2kg Plain Flour
2 eggs, fresh (carried very carefully by your porter!)
250gm Milk Powder
50gm Sugar
Sultanas, handful
250ml Warm Water, or as required

Make a fire pit and oil pot. Mix ingredients to make a dough. Bake in fire pit with coals on lid for 30 minutes or until dough comes away from the side of pot.

  • 'Long Drop' is a toilet. Well actually just a hole in the ground inside a bush hut, with or without a door. Seats are optional extras as is hygiene!!!

Posted by avoca 04:08 Comments (0)

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