Tag: South Pacific

Papua New Guinea

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.
David Loughlin

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.


Navigating the China Strait in Papua New Guinea, headed for Samurai Island, which once served as a WWII British airbase for seaplanes.
David Loughlin

Bougainville Island

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.
David Loughlin

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.

Here’s a WWII tank, decomposing from extreme exposure in this warm, moist climate.
David Loughlin

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. 
David Loughlin

Before we head into the mountains, we pass through Arawa, a small town populated with local workers.  Needless to say, we stand out!
David Loughlin

Heading into the mountains now. I didn’t think the jungle could get even greener and more dense, yet it does.
David Loughlin

High in the mountains, we arrive at a small village just before Panguna.  There’s a beautiful view of the ocean from up here.
David Loughlin

Locals hanging out on the main road outside the village.


David Loughlin


David Loughlin

I’m totally on tonight’s menu!
David Loughlin


David Loughlin


David Loughlin

This shy guy hides behind his stick.
David Loughlin

However, these two aren’t shy! They’re hamming it up for the camera.
David Loughlin

This group didn’t like to be photographed.
David Loughlin

They tried pretending to be tough, but they couldn’t help but smile.
David Loughlin

The local schoolhouse.
David Loughlin


David Loughlin

Some of the local food: roasted mangoes baked in coconut milk.

One of the villagers showed me how he gathers food from the trees above.  It starts with the rope…
David Loughlin

A rope and some altitude make it possible to reach ripe fruit above.
David Loughlin

 


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.
David Loughlin


David Loughlin

Exploring Samari Island, which once was used as an airbase during WWII.

David Loughlin

David Loughlin

David Loughlin

David Loughlin

David Loughlin

David Loughlin

David Loughlin

David Loughlin

From here we headed to the Solomon Islands for some amazing diving in warm, clear waters.