Friday, December 15, 2006

A really bad PNG update

I really want to talk about my trip to PNG, but the problem is, I don't really know where to start. It was a two month trip, and I feel weird blogging about things that happened two months ago... Well, here's what an average day was like:

5:30 or 6:00 am--Awake to the sound of a neighbour's rooster crowing. Lay in bed, dozing until the generator kicked on. Put in contacts, make coffee for Andy, have toast or oats for breakfast (with lots of bananas).

7:30 am--Walk to the dive shed, load up the boat with our gear, grab air tanks from the end of the jetty, and ride off to the reef, Matane Walindi (sometimes it was Hanging Gardens or Luba Luba, but most days were on MW). The boat ride to the reef took about 5 minutes. Then our boat driver would put our gear together while we got into wetsuits, masks, fins, etc. In the water by 8 am, for two dives. We saw all kinds of cool things underwater, especially early in the morning because they hadn't been scared off yet.

9:00 am--Batty Coda shows up. He was a pinnate spadefish or batfish, who came around every single day that we were diving at MW. At the start, he hung around in the distance, but as he got more used to us he would get closer and closer. At the end of the trip, he was close enough that I could touch him without really stretching my arms much.

11:30 am--Out of the water, back to land for lunch. At the house, we would smash two or three sandwiches, inhale a few bananas, and re-apply suncream.

1:00 pm--Back on the boat at MW for two more dives.

3:00 pm--Fish start to spawn at the reef top. All the fish were out trying to impress each other, then partaking in some afternoon delight.

4:30 pm--Done for the day. Rinse gear, pack it back into the shed, then go home and fight over the first shower. Eat some crackers with peanut butter and jam. Enter the day's data into the computer.

6:00 pm--Make some dinner. We ate a lot of rice, greens, and kau kau (sweet potato). Every night we had to take our doxycyclene, to prevent malaria. Sometimes other people who lived at the conservation centre would come visit, sometimes we'd be alone. After dinner, we washed up, read a bit or did some crossword puzzles, and lazed around.

8:30 pm--Bed. It seems ridiculously early, but 6 hours underwater tires you out like you wouldn't believe. Sometimes before bed we made oatmeal for breakfast the next morning, so we just had to heat it up and eat. Every night we fell asleep to the sounds of geckos, bugs, and flying foxes.

This was our life 6 days a week. On Fridays we went to town to go shopping for food. First the markets to buy all kinds of crazy leaves (pumpkin, mustard, pepper, celery leaves, and god knows what else), kau kau, bananas, coconuts, eggplants, pumpkins, pawpaws, and whatever else struck our fancy. Then we went to Papindo and K-Mart, the grocery shops, to buy things like bread, pasta, vegemite, and soy sauce.

I'm boring, but I can't think still. I've put my photos up online; they are far more interesting than my stories anyways. Be warned: I haven't really sorted through the photos yet, so there are probably some really, really bad ones up there. They are organized by reef name.

Tomorrow I'll try to write more about our adventures--the mumu, the hot river, the sharks, and whatever else I can think of.

Monday, December 11, 2006


I'm back from PNG, tired but tan and happy. I miss it already, even though we've been back for maybe 15 hours. I'll post pictures and stories over the next few days, because I am knackered right now, and trying to unpack and get things settled.