Adventures in Paradise Yacht Charters sail out to remote islands in the Bismarck Archipelago from Kavieng. Visit villages or uninhabited islands, and discover this beautiful and untouched area of the world.
I had an experience of a small dinghy sinking about 2 kilometers off shore in pitch darkness with 26 people aboard and three kids. About 15 couldn't swim. Needless to say a harrowing and unforgettable experience and a very long swim, felt like Grant Hackett. Mind yourself in overcrowded dinghys, particularly if the sea is a bit rough, and don't trust that the driver knows what they're doing. If you have no option, you have no option but if you do - make two trips and save yourself the thought of being picked off by a small croc while swimming to shore.
I'm afraid of height so this was a bit of a challenge....imagine a rope and bamboo bridge with the width that equals the length of your foot; then imagine that there is a running river underneath you as you swing and totter along from one side to the other...
Let the fun begin!
(If you spend a day exploring the Highlands, you'll come across one or more such bridges, used extensively by the native tribes)
The locals like to cook their food underground using hot rocks to heat the food - called a 'mumu'. In the photo, chicken, bananas and sweet potatoes are wrapped in banana leaves for the the cooking process. We were invited to attend this typical 'cook-up' by some of the local people that we had met.
The PERFECT BEACH GETAWAY.
The guest house sleeps something like 18 people, but I have been there a good half-dozen times and never encountered another party staying there. It's rustic -- bush materials houses and furniture, kerosene lamps and stove, no shower -- but it definitely has its charms. The beds have foam mattresses on them and fresh sheets and towels are made available every day. Every bed has a mosquito net. It's in its own little bay that features a perfect white sand beach and turquiose water at one end -- complete with overhanging tree for shaded swimming -- and a pristine reef on the other. You wade out literally 6 feet from the shore, look down and you're in one of those under-water marine biology documentaries. You can rent a snorkel, mask and flippers there. There's always someone around with coconut milk to sell. Fresh water is piped in from a spring.
TO GET THERE: Find the post office in Wewak. Right across the street is a beach in a little bay area where you'll always see boats. Go a day or two before you plan to go to Mushu and ask someone if George from Mushu (MOO shoo) is around. Tell them you want to go to the guest house at Sup (soup). They may point you to someone named Matthew. Matthew is fine too -- he's George's brother. Make arrangements with either of them for a pickup day/time.
FOOD: George and family can make you supper, but it's a good idea to get some of your own groceries before you leave Wewak. Be prepared for a one-burner kerosene stove and a fire. No refrigeration.
TRANSPORT: 30-45 minutes in an open boat (small boat with outboard). The crossing can be quite rough and there are no life jackets.
BATHROOM: The only major draw back, as of July 1998. It's an outhouse which at that point was infested with ants. Not a biting kind of ant, but taking a long crap on a dark night is just not too gratifying when they're crawling all over you anyway.
We stopped in Lae to visit a couple that was working with a local group, the Village Development Trust, to develop a small meeting centre in Lababia. It is a 2 hour boat ride from Lae. They also built small cabins, right on the beach. Built with local materials, employing local people in its care, service and upkeep, unique in design - and right on the beach for an ABSOLUTELY remote and peaceful experience. Listen to the water lapping up on shore every night - failing appropriate words, it is beautiful. You feel so far from the rest of the world.
While we were there, they were developing a nature trail in the rainforest behind the meeting centre. It might be finished by now.
For more info, check http://www.global.net.pg/vdt/
Mumeri Village, we came across many villages in the Sepik River region, to find them hospitable, helpful and a joy to to be with . I suggest you can get your tour operator or Hotel to organise a visit to these villages.
ANGORAM, on the SEPIK RIVER: Angoram is not so much a place to see, but a place to experience. It's a tiny dust-bowl of a town, but it's an important station town on the lower Sepik – a hub for getting up to the villages or getting from the village to Wewak town. It's about 4 hours by public transit from Wewak (under US$10), and the scenery and experience of the travel alone makes it a worthwhile trip. If you take public transport (recommended) you'll be traveling in the covered back of a truck called a PMV, along a fairly rough dirt track cut out of the forest. The PMV takes you sharply up into the cloud-forest mountains behind Wewak (lush, dense forest with some incredible views down over Wewak and the coast); over grassland plains; and then down through more forest and rubber plantations into the Sepik basin. You pass numerous villages along the way. The PMV stops at a couple points along the way so you can get out, pee, buy some fruit and stretch your legs. As you enter Angoram, the PMV winds its way down through town toward the river. They say the Sepik puts a spell on anyone who has drunk its water, and it seems to be true. As soon as the the view opens up to the mile-wide brown water of the Sepik, the mood in the PMV changes – people around you start chatting more excitedly, laughing more easily, shouting and waving to catch the attention of people they know, and generally acting giddy. When you get off the PMV, the Sepik is right in front of you. The riverbank buzzes with activity, with the excitement of young people from the village finally hitting the big town, and with the anticipation of people returning to the village after a long journey. Dugout canoes of all sizes line the riverbank, and come and go in all directions filled with people and cargo. There are often people spear-fishing along the shore, and you'll see all kinds of people carrying all kinds of things up and down the river – you can easily pass an afternoon just sitting by the riverside watching people (and often have to while you wait for the canoe that was supposed to meet your PMV to take you up the Sepik).
There's a market just down the river bank that's pretty cool (unless the water level is really high). The locals call it 'Ai gris (eye-grease) maket' because it's filled with things that arouse your senses by how good they look (it doesn't all look so good to me, but I had some smoked crocodile meat there once that was unbelievable). It's also called eye grease because it's where the young people gather to check each other out – to 'ai gris' each other.
Ideally, you should plan it so that you experience Angoram on your way up the river, but if you're in Wewak but can't get up the river, it's worth it to jump in a PMV and make the trip just to go and hang out on the bank of the Sepik for a while.
GETTING THERE: It's a safe, cheap and relatively short trip on public transport. It's a 3-6 hour trip (depending on the roads and how well the PMV is running), but always plan for longer. Go to the Wewak market, look for the PMVs, ask any of the drivers (or anyone else standing around) which ones go to Angoram, climb on board the best-looking one (if you have any choice). Resist taking the front passenger seat, unless you don't mind looking like a total wuss. Get in the back with everyone else, and try and get into the scene. People will respect you if you cram yourself into the back like everyone else, and that will pay off in terms of your security while in Angoram. Think hot and dirty when selecting a wardrobe for the trip. TIP: get to the PMV and establish your spot early (i.e., 6:30-7:30 a.m.). The PMVs fill up quickly. However, be prepared to wait there or drive around and around Wewak town for several hours before departing. NOTE: there are no PMVs for the return trip until the next morning, so prepare to stay there over night. ACCOMODATION: limited. Try to arrange something while in Wewak -- whoever you stay with in Wewak should have some ideas. There's at least one hotel in Angoram, but I've never had to stay in it so I have no idea what it's like (Angoram Sepik Hotel, P.O. Box 35 Angoram Papua New Guinea Tel: +675 8583011 12 Rooms Price: $US 13 to $US 23). SAFETY: Angoram's a small town but it's got a rough frontier edge to it -- be careful, treat people respectfully, don't flaunt your wealth, and don't wander around at night.
Absolutely the best place to stay in the Eastern Highlands is Ukarumpa S.I.L. center, near the city of Kainantu. It's a mission center and thus it is good to have the right attitude. The people are friendly and they have unbeliveable amount of tips and information about the country. They have a nice store with all the western goodies too.
If you are interrested about linguistics or cultures (also other countries) you should go to Ukarumpa. There are missionaries from 16 different countries around the World.
Milne Bay has 43 local languages. Of these, 33 are Austronesian languages, which dominate the islands and coast. Eight related Dagan languages (non-Austronesian) are spoken in the mountains of the Rabaraba district. Gwedena is the largest (2100 speakers). Woodcarving is important in Milne Bay. Trobriand islanders use abstract designs related to birds, nautilus shells, and clouds. Carvers on other islands and the mainland use more natural human and animal figures. Many islanders decorate their houses. Most of their societies are matrilineal. Family lines and rights are based on a person's mother. The Trobriands have hereditary chiefs. They marry many women and help integrate the community by redistributing harvest gifts given to the women. The next chief is the son of one of the chief's sisters. The Trobriands people live in large settlements built in rings around yam storage houses, Most other islands people live in small clusters of houses or in individual houses close to such a hamlet.
The Trobriands, Misima, and Goodenough islands are experiencing over-population problems. Other areas, including the Conflict island group and some inland areas of the Rabaraba district, have lost population.
at Wuvulu Island , 200 km north of Wewak ,if you need to use the toilet you have to walk the gangplank . What a view + any fish that the locals have eaten are recycled into fish food!