Port Moresby | Kieta, Bougainville Island | Samari Island
We’re approaching Port Moresby, mid-morning on a beautiful August day. I’m on deck, gazing into the distance as we get closer. We originally planned to take a tour into the mountains on this island, but decided instead to depart on a self-guided tour, touching on some key historical points. Many people had advised us not to venture around here without a guide, so we hired a taxi and promoted the driver “Chief Tour Guide” for the day.
On our way to the Parliament building, we passed through a rough part of town, known as the “Stilt City” due to the fact that homes are perched on rickety stilts, stretching well into the water.
Downtown Port Moresby.
At 7:00 am, we arrived at Bougainville and docked in Kieta. It was nothing more than a cement slab and a warehouse for a port. Today we headed up to the mountains to visit with a local tribe and immerse ourselves in the way they experience life.
These islands are littered with reminders of WWII and the battle of Guadalcanal, which was centered in the nearby Solomon Islands, my next stop on this South Pacific journey.
The trek into the mountains takes more than an hour of slogging through lush jungle. The vines are taking over the palms which are taking over the bamboo…everything comes down to the survival of the fittest in this remote region of the world. In fact, 70 years ago, the tribe we are about to visit was considered a “head hunting” tribe and avoided at all costs. Although that is all in the past, I can’t help but squirm, picturing my head as a grisly souvenir.
Locals hanging out on the main road outside the village.
Some of the local food: roasted mangoes baked in coconut milk.
Approaching Samari Island:
After departing Kieta, we passed through the China Straights in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea between Samarai Island and Sariba Island. We are headed to a former WWII British military airbase for sea planes on Samarai Island.
Exploring Samari Island, which once was used as an airbase during WWII.
From here we headed to the Solomon Islands for some amazing diving in warm, clear waters.