Housing in parts of Daru was of more traditional design. Here, I came across a few villager huts using the standard stilt construction. However, these were made of readily available local construction materials such as Pandanus Palm wood for floors and thatched palm leaves for siding and roof material. Simple, effective and nice-looking too!
Daru was centered around it's main wharf, because of the importance of the fishing industry. During my time in PNG, Daru had the only fish processing plant in Western and Gulf Provinces. As a result the commercial fisheries used it for landing and processing their catch of lobsters, prawns and other 'trash fish' that had been caught in their trawls.
Daru's airport was also used as a staging post for expeditions to the vast and watery mainland interior along the coast. This area had a Wildlife Lodge where heards of Rusa deer and various exotic species of birds could be observed.
In this photo, the tide is out, so the canoes will just have to wait awhile.
The food selection was fairly simple in hotels like this. There were no really fancy dishes, but you could get the standard 'western' fare including bacon & egg breakfasts. The big verandah-like seating area had the standard bar, serving up ice-cold San Miguel or Pacific beers. Those always went down well after a day sweating away in the Power Station!
Note the buildings raised up on stilts. This was common practise in PNG to prevent them getting water-logged during the heavy rain season. Fencing placed around the stilts allowed this space to be used for livestock if necessary.
This photo of a street market in Daru shows some products from one of the most important trees in the South Pacific area. The Sago Palm tree grows wild, but because of it's importance, it has been transplanted to many areas and even grown commercially.
Because it is fast-growing and can tolerate high salinity levels and well as acidic and wet soils the Sago Palm has thrived. It's main use is as a primary source of starch for many indigenous people. By splitting its trunk open to extract the pith that contains the starch, as much as 250-lb (110-kg) of starch can be produced by crushing, washing, straining and drying the fibres. A secondary use is making thatching material from it's leaves.
Here, a roll of thatch suitable for use as a mat or in house construction is in the foreground while the bundles in the background with wooden sticks around them are lumps of starch for sale.
I managed to catch one photo of an out-rigger canoe heading out to see what he can find. Barramundi was a very popular fish in Papua New Guinea - it was my favourite meal on Friday nights in Port Moresby when we went to the Returned Services League Club for an evening meal with the children (it was also the only place that had a TV for them to watch videos once per week with their friends).
Barramundi is a giant freshwater Perch which could be caught in the nearby rivers and estuaries, as well as at sea during their migration phases. These fish can grow to be 6 feet (1.8 m) in length and weigh up to 130 lb (60 kg). They are one of the premier sport and table fish in Australia and PNG - one of the best fish I have ever tasted!
Things in PNG tended to be simple, yet rugged. And so it was with these large dug-out canoes along the harbourfront as they waited for the tide to come in. Some of the main types of fish that the locals would go after were barramundi, black bass, tarpon and saratoga. These were also processed and filleted at the local fish plant.
The electrical load in Daru was not very heavy, so the local power station was on the small side. I seem to recall that one of the Automatic Voltage Regulators had broken on one of the diesel generators, so I had to bring in a replacement AVR and install it.
While I was on my rounds in these various out of the way power stations, I would also take notes on the technical details and manufacturers of the various diesel engines and their attached electric generators so I would know exactly what I was dealing with when an emergency call came into Port Moresby. There was such a hodge-podge of equipment installed over the years that you had to have good records to survive!
A few water tanks are on stilts outside the building and the white decoration in the foreground in the remains of a small diesel engine block that has had its final gasp.
Favorite thing: Daru is located in the southwest corner of Papua New Guinea, not too far from the border with Indonesia's province of West Irian, which occupies the other half of the island of New Guinea. To the south, Australian territory stretches almost to the shores of PNG, where the small red line passes just south of Daru and goes through 'Bramble Cay'.