Thursday, October 26, 2006

Three Little Pigs

So, I’m in PNG, and I’m feeling a little extra bit of pig love. I usually like pigs anyway, but I don’t usually have the opportunity of seeing them as much in Sydney as I do here (somehow they don’t seem to be wandering around peoples yards as often). This may or may not have started another collection/obsession of mine. Carved pigs. So far there are only three (one from Port Moresby, one from Kavieng, and one from Milne Bay), but I can’t promise there won’t be more…

Sadly, many Papua New Guineans don’t seem to understand how I could think these animals are so cute. Except the carver. He knows I think they’re cute, and this may cause some problems in the future.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

New Arrivals

I know, we’ve been slack, but there’s been a lot going on. Mostly to do with new arrivals. This week we have four of them in one sense or another. Last Sunday, the ‘doctors’ moved in. Rebecca and Scott are medical students spending 2 months in Alotau on their elective – the last thing they have to do before they officially do become doctors. Due to the exorbitant rent of the last place they were staying they have decided to spend the next 5 weeks with us. And in the meantime they will keep us entertained with the strange and the bizarre – stories from the hospital. It’s already become a nightly event.

Today a new volunteer, James, arrived. He will be working out at Fergusson and Normanby Islands (where we first visited all those months ago) as a carpenter. Sounds like an awesome assignment. Someone we will definitely have to visit sometime in the next 6 months.

On Friday there will also be another volunteer, Evonne, arriving. So we certainly will have a full house, but also lots of company. Which is rather nice. And we can’t forget that Cam will be coming back tomorrow as well! Yay!

In other news there are rumours of a phone line being installed in the next couple of weeks. Of course I’m not holding my breath, but it would be fantastic if it were true!

Photo below: Evonne, Rebecca and Scott - our lovely new housemates!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Farewell to the Hippies

So many of you will probably have heard of our housemates Lyn and Stan – affectionately known as the hippies due to their Environmental Law degrees, and general hippie nature. They have been our housemates, friends, support system and fellow adventurers for the last 6 months, and today they departed Milne Bay.

Just to put you a bit more in the picture…on our first weekend in Milne Bay Lyn and Stan arranged for us to accompany them on a trip to Fergusson, Normanby and Dobu islands. We walked up a (dormant) volcano with them, visited some hot springs, snorkeled a lot, and shared a rather hairy boat trip with them. This adventure was a great start to our life in PNG, and they taught us much in the space of a few days.

Since then we have been hanging out with them a lot, sharing everything from delicious meals (thanks to Stan and Cam!), to problems and worries, to diving and village experiences. Without them our time (so far) would have been much more difficult, to say the least. They will be sorely missed by us, and the many friends they have made here (and helped us to make here).

I think it worth mentioning that one thing they will be remembered for is their passion for climbing big mountains and the like. Here is an example of a mountain they climbed...

...and how they looked afterwards (not too bad actually).

They will also be remembered by all here for their sense of fun, generosity, hard work and determination.

So thanks guys for all of the good times – and we look forward to more when we catch up with you back in Australia. Sunny Milne Bay sends it’s love!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Our Friends Visit...

Yes, that’s right, we had some visitors last week and it was lovely. Meet Alix and Jace.

They made their way all the way to the wilds of PNG just to see us (and get in some dives too I suppose), so we decided we had to try and make it worthwhile for them. And they weren’t too “PNGed” in that things went surprisingly smoothly while they were here.

The first place we took them was to visit our friend Serina’s village, Porotona (see past blog entry). This is where they were introduced to (and Jace developed a slight obsession with) prawning and kulaus (young coconuts which you drink from).

As usual Serina and her kids Desmond and Garube (pitured) looked after us very well, as of course did the extended family. We watched her netball team make it to through the semi-finals, and went on a walk where we saw snakes, waterfalls and lovely views.

There was also a funny moment when we were having a water fight in the river and Alix’s contact slipped. There aren’t really the words in tok ples (local language) or tok pisin to explain a contact lens. So they all excitedly told Serina later that Alix’s eye had fallen out.

On Monday, Wednesday and Thursday we organized some diving. Monday was a truly glorious day (sun shining on white sandy beaches), and a perfect diving day. We went out to the Manta Cleaning Station at Guna Bara Bara, and actually saw a manta ray, and many other fish, including a lion fish family, and an awesome cuttle fish. We also ate lunch on Samarai island (the old provincial capital and now resembling a bit of a ghost town), then went for a dive off one of the wharves there.

All of these photos are curtesy of Hiro from the dive shop (that is why they are so GOOD! thankyou Hiro)

These ones which are obviously not so good are from us... we hope you still like them.

Thursday was pretty much the opposite to Monday weather wise, and was one of the most painful boat trips I’ve had yet (both in terms of the sea-sickness, and in the amount of water I had consumed before getting on the boat). But we did see both dolphins and mantas jumping out of the water – truly spectacular. Unfortunately we couldn’t find the plane wreck we were looking for as the water was too choppy, and the visibility not quite good enough, but we still ended up going on two lovely dives. We even happened to stumble across a landing barge from the second world war that we think is previously undiscovered in a diving sense. Very exciting.

Weather & Swell YUCK!

This is Jane swimming through the front door or landing ramp of the barge.

Oh yeah and of course there were Anemone fish how do you like this shot?

Many thanks to Hiro, Vinz, Dangerous Dave, Eddie, Diane, and the rest of you at the Alotau dive shop for the great days of diving, and looking after us all so well.

Unfortunately the time Alix and Jace were here passed by too quickly. But they also managed to fit in a Milne Bay war history tour (which was apparently quite good), and we went to one of our favourite places: Waga Waga. Here we met Ane (pronounced Annee) the fruit bat – who quickly made friends with Alix. Considering how much the animals, reptiles and insects around Milne Bay seemed to like Alix, I’m fairly sure she will always be welcome here as our resident wild-life expert! : )

I’m sure we’ve missed out on some things, but we’d like to thank Alix and Jace for coming to see us – and for the cooking, gifts (and the gifts others sent via them), company, laughter and general good times. It was great!