Monday, June 05, 2006

What a weekend!

I know that all we seem to write about are our weekend adventures, but some of them really are worth writing about…

Cam’s been hard at work sourcing all the dive possibilities in town, and on Saturday we went out with Hiro, a Japanese dive instructor who runs the local dive shop. It was our first real dive in PNG (I say real, because we went diving off the shore of my work, but it was short, uncomfortable, and not terribly worth mentioning), and the fact that Cam had to wait that long is indeed a terrible thing.

Saturday morning was a grey and rainy day, we got ready and the taxi didn’t come to pick us up. It is my belief that all the bad things happened to make way for all the good things that followed. We got on the boat for the one hour trip to the dive site, Sullivan’s Patches, which was just sitting in a patch of sun when we got there. We got geared up as Hiro told us we would see “plenty fish and lots of pretty coral”, and then got into the water which was (as promised) absolutely teaming with underwater life. I got myself ready to be in ‘spotter’ mode which was just as well seeing as the first thing I did was look up and spot a Whale shark.

That’s right, a Whale shark. It wasn’t a very old one seeing as it was only 4 - 4.5 metres long, but it was impressive enough. Cam and Lyn both got very excited and started taking pictures until Cam realized that the professional underwater photographer hadn’t seen it yet. Very soon there were about 6 of us swimming as fast as we could to keep up with this amazing creature, and Lyn was close enough that she actually patted it. The rest of the dive was spectacular, but I don’t know if anyone noticed it after the Whale shark encounter. We surfaced and I checked to make sure that it was indeed a Whale shark ( as it wasn’t quite as big as a bus like Cam had previously explained them to be {which is of course full adult size: Cam}) amid the general elation of the dive crew. Cam and Lyn tell me I don’t know how lucky I am – this dive was only number 15 for me (sorry Rowan).

Anyway, we had a second dive for the day in which we actually noticed the multitude of fish and very pretty coral – I’ve never seen anything like it (considering my lack of dives this isn’t much of a surprise, but Cam hasn’t seen anything like it either)! There were reef sharks, fish of every shape, size and colour (parrot fish, mackerel, sweetlips [I especially like the spotty ones],antheas, barracuda), nudibranchs…the list would go further if I actually knew more of the names. Except for the danger of running out of gas I could’ve stayed down there for hours. Anyway we eventually got back on the boat and had a sleepy and satisfied trip back to Alotau, where more excitement awaited us.

That night we went to a dinner that Maxine (my counterpart) had planned. When I say dinner, I actually mean feast as she doesn’t really do anything by halves (feast photos soon from Cam). There was food everywhere – all traditional dishes, or variations on traditional dishes – and that’s where I found out that I was the reason for all the food. The feast was so that I could experience the traditional dishes of PNG – and oh was it lovely!

But on to the rest of the weekend…on Sunday we had planned to go with our friend Jeanie and her kids to a place called Waga Waga. It’s in the same bay that Alotau is, but it is approx. an hours drive around the bay. The drive was lovely – through bits of forest and villages, and also included speed humps (some logs covered with dirt lying across the road)!

Waga Waga has a picnic spot and also a wreck of an old ship the Muscoota (which although it was a coal ship when it sank was originally a 4 masted steel hulled clipper ship launched by Queen Victoria), part of which sticks up out of the water. We got to the picnic spot and went for a swim with Jeanie and her kids, then headed off to snorkel at the wreck (unfortunately without the camera). It was a great snorkeling spot, and we can’t wait to go back and dive it when we have the chance! The wreck was covered with coral and fish, and goes quite deep, so a snorkel just whets the appetite. We even saw our first PNG cuttlefish!

We also got to snorkel around the bow which would have been where Queenie broke the champagne bottle... cool huh.

So, anyway. I’m exhausted just thinking about it all! The moral of this post – the underwater stuff here is pretty damn amazing. And this can be an advertisement for any of you who might be thinking about coming! But we do other things apart from snorkel at great places and I promise we’ll write about those soon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a life - Diving with whale sharks!

And now you've got your very own underwater camera, so you don't need a sunfish photographer anymore ;-) Pasc and I will still have to come and visit.


1:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just looking at how much food Cam on his plate....that diet of lettuce and rice is going well. What a that you cam in the Whale shark photos?

Is that whale shark being served at the party?

Jacko inb Byron.

1:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those yams are freaky-looking.


10:23 am  

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