Tony has now been in Papua New Guinea for roughly 16 days. After crossing into PNG from Indonesia, he spent two nights in Vanimo then took a banana boat to Aitape along the north coast. Sitting in the hot sun getting soaked by constant waves of seawater he didn’t realise he was getting sunburnt until it was too late. Three hours later the boat arrived in Aitape beach. Because the last bus to Wewak was full, Tony was invited to spend the weekend with the boat captain’s family. On the 8th March, a Sunday. Tony’s new friends, including a Seventh-Day Adventist pastor travelled with Tony to Wewak. Unfortunately the road was very rough and on the way, the vehicle became stuck in deep mud. Some three hours later, the vehicle was pulled clear and the journey was continued.
Tony arrived at Gala Lodge on the outskirts of Wewak at 3 am. Tony stayed four nights, hoping the weather would become settled enough to take a local boat to Kairuru Island, unfortunately, the wind remained strong and the ocean rough. On the morning of 12th March the owner of Gala Lodge took Tony to Mission Hill, a site of fierce fighting between Australian and Japanese solders during the last days of World War II. Tony learnt how two individual Australian officers on separate occasions took on Japanese machine guns single handed. They both received the Victoria Cross for their gallant efforts. From the hill, Tony was driven to Cape Wom, where more fighting occurred. It is also the site where the Japanese surrendered to the Australian army in September 1945.
Once back in Wewak, Tony jumped on a PMV and headed to Angoram, a town on the lower Sipek River, about a 3-5 hour drive from Wewak. Angoram was once an important station on the river but is now largely run down. On arrival in Angoram, Tony was taken to Wavi Guesthouse and looked after by two lovely ladies and an interesting local gentleman named Dony. Because the guesthouse is spread out over a large field, Tony was given a bucket toilet to pee in with the water being changed the following morning. Due to the proximity to the Sipek River, all rooms have mosquito nets. Tony was fed rice and fish – local food. The following morning he along with Dony took a local boat to visit a couple of nearby villages. First visited was Shundo, which had a Haus Tambaran, meeting house. Sadly, termites had eaten away most of the wood and only a few posts remained with local carvings. Tony received a description of the villagers making Sago, the local flour, which the people of the Sipek use as their staple food. Sago is a plant, the leaves and tree are used to make the houses. It takes two days to break down and wash the sago to make it into flour to sell at market. Sago can be fried or boiled. The boiled variety is slightly sweeter.
Next Tony and the crew continued along the river and into a lake to head to Kambaramba. Here people live on the lake on houses built with stilts. Tony met some locals and more photos were taken.
More to follow…