Friday, August 31, 2007

Sunset from housing development

This place is the sunset capital of the world. Every afternoon from my verandah, as I look across the water, there is a sunset I could post the next morning. But the other afternoon on our walk, I thought – Wow this is something special! But I didn’t have the camera – Murphy’s Law again!!! So I raced home and grabbed it.

Usually my sunset photos are of the sky and the water but this is the first series I have taken the other way. They have cleared a whole new residential area behind us which has opened up the view to the west now - perfect for sunset photos!

In each photo I took over a period of five minutes, the sky was a different colour. This is the pink/blue version and it is exactly how it came out of the camera – no cropping, no enhancement, no colour adjustments, zilch! The next one is even better but that can be for another day.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Kanda House

The walls of this house are made from kanda (cane). The trunks are split and beaten then dried and woven into panels.

The outside of the trunk dries darker than the inside, so patterns can be made when it is woven together. As you can see, this house has then been painted as well. It is a mixture of old and new with glass louvres and flyscreens.

This type of paneling in its natural state can be varnished, and is often used in modern hotels, bungalows and offices. It is very attractive.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tolai Briefcases

These bilums (bags) are sold at the market and are made from palm fronds.

They are used by the local Tolai men more than the women, so I affectionately call them Tolai Briefcases.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Anyone seen my car?

It looks like someone had a bad day at golf, too many bias at the Ralum Country Club and misjudged the car park exit.

Any other ideas??

Monday, August 27, 2007

Want to come too?

What more do you need for a perfect day? Is there anything else you want me to bring???

Sunday, August 26, 2007

St Michael 's at Nanuk

You’ll see many people, dressed in their Sunday best, walking to church today. On the winding road that takes you up to Kerevat, you will find this simple church - St Michael’s Catholic Church, Nanuk.

When Neva was showing us her beautiful church in Inverness it reminded me of this church and how massive the contrast was between the two structures. So I thought I’d show it to you today.

My old Sunday School teacher (she was probably only 42 at the time) used to tell us that a church was the people not the building; so maybe these parishioners aren’t missing out on as much as first appears.

Beside the church is this small, quiet cemetery.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Emma, Queen of the South Seas

Emma Coe, born in Samoa in 1850 of mixed American/Samoan parentage, was educated in Australia and the States before returning, against her father’s will to Samoa. In 1878, after the death of her first husband at sea, she and Thomas Farrel began a trading business in Mioko on the Duke of York Islands just off the coast here. She became the first real planter in PNG when she established a plantation on the site at Ralum including where the golf course now stands.

She was an exceptionally smart business woman expanding her empire to trade stores, several plantations and shipping. She enjoyed a lavish lifestyle including legendary parties in her mansion Gunantambu (seen above). In particular she liked men’s company, acquiring a number of husbands and lovers over her life-time. It was here in East New Britain where she became known as Queen Emma – a legend in her own lifetime.

Before World War I broke out, she sold up and moved to Sydney. Emma and her last husband Paul Kolbe died in Monte Carlo in 1913 within 2 days of each other. Emma’s ashes, interred in the local cemetery here disappeared, along with her headstone, which turned up in Sydney in a cemetery on South Head beside what is thought to be her son’s grave.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ralum Country Club

The annual New Britain Open Golf Tournament starts today at the Ralum Country Club, and runs over the weekend. The NBO is the longest running golf tournament in PNG; run every year for 55 years!! Golfers from all over PNG fly in for it including a number of professional golfers from Australia who have been coming up each year. Leaving the winter weather in Australia, they usually stay for the week and go fishing, boating and partying, as well as playing golf!!!

The golf course which runs along the beach front is a 9-hole course with great views across the water to the volcano and the islands.

Overlooking the course, these concrete posts (and running down the hill, the remains of the steps), are all that remains of Queen Emma’s grand home Gunantambu. Destroyed in World War II, it was a mansion of proportions not seen here before or ever again and had stunning views over Blanche Bay to the islands beyond..

More of Queen Emma tomorrow.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Stormy weather

I has been quite humid during the day this week and we have been getting storms and lightning building up out at sea late in the afternoon.

Nothing like poor Ann in Montego though, who luckily escaped the worst of Hurricane Dean. Eastern Australia has been buffeted by cyclonic winds, and Cabacurl in Cabarita has been feeling the worst of it in – hang in there girls!!!

Still no joy with my server - I am hanging by my fingernails on a connection this morning of 16 kb per second!!! A carrier pigeon would be faster.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Two things to celebrate – yesterday was a big day!

My blog had its 50th post and I now have my Open Water Diving Certificate!! Both have been a real challenge at my age. Both have found me diving into the unknown, but I am hooked on both and will be out there in the deep-blue-depths, and in cyber-space, as often as I can.

With diving the sense of freedom is wonderful even though you are bolted in and hooked up to all this paraphernalia the names of which I am still getting used to – fins not flippers, BCD not vest thingy, regulator not breathing stuff ….and when you dive along a 30 metre wall of coral and fish, drop down on a wreck and follow a turtle into the depths, you are on a high that nothing else can beat!!

East New Britain has fabulous dive spots and I am hoping to check them all out. Of course I now want an underwater camera and to bore you all to death with my fish photos!

Thanks to Bruce and Erin for these photos.

Blogging woes

I have been unable to connect to my server since last week and am using an alternative one which is connecting me at such low speeds that it is taking me 40 minutes to post every morning – that is with the caption and photo pre-organized!!!

Just to download my blog page takes 10 minutes and to download many of your blogs is not possible at the moment. If I can download your page sometimes I can’t open the comments page. It took me over 20 minutes to post a comment on lavender lady last night!!!

Because of this I have been unable to visit many of you – sorry about that. I hope to catch up when things are “fixed” at this end! Please keep visiting me and keep in touch that way.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

No gat bia

This bia (beer) store was closed when I came past the other day. So I am wondering if this sign is a little misleading!!!!

In PNG if you have had too much of the amber fluid – or any other colour for that matter – they say “Em i spak tomas.” which means “He is drinking too much or He is drunk.”

Saying someone is “spaked” (pronounced sparked) sounds so much more descriptive doesn’t it?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dolphin escort

When you go by boat anywhere around here, you usually have a dolphin escort. Sometimes the sea is alive, as far as you can see, with them.

The dolphins around here are Spinner Dolphins – a small breed that flip themselves out of the water and spin around. Quite magical to see.

Dolphins have been known to do amazing things like save swimmers from sharks. Have you had any dolphin experiences?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A pier, a sunny day and friends

It‘s Sunday and these kids like nothing better than diving off the Vunapope pier.

Unlike kids in other places in the world who have the day in front of them, they really don’t have a lot to choose from. They have no computers, game-boys, shopping malls, movies, skateboards or bicycles; many don’t even own a book.

Are they missing out or not?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Murphy's water spout

We call it Murphy’s Law!!! You see a spectacular sight and you don’t have your camera with you. I bet this has happened to you too!

While we were away last month sailing, a storm blew up. It had quite spectacular cloud formations and I took a number of photos of it before leaving the catamaran and heading to the island. (see July 8 post)

As we got to the island I looked back at the catamaran and saw the water spout. Of course where was my camera – on the boat!!! I yelled “Has any one got a camera?” We eventually found Rosie’s little digital, and Joanna took this photo. Rosie has sent it to me to use on my blog.

The spout lasted about five minutes. It is not the first one I’ve seen around here, but it was the closest. We were a little concerned for awhile and were glad we were on the island and not on the boat – with my camera!!!!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Elusive Duk Duk spotted

The elusive duk duk (pronounced "dook" as in book) has been spotted not far from my house!!!

This tree was decorated in 2005 for Chanel College's 50th anniversary celebrations which co-incidentally coincided with my 50th. I was quite chuffed when a huge 50th sign in stones was set on the hill, and trees in the area were decorated. How thoughtful of them, but really who wants to be reminded?

I'm still looking for the duk duk so stayed tuned!!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Low tide at Tovarua

Still at CPL (Coconut Products Ltd), this is Tovarua Plantation Beach where we often have picnics and go swimming and diving. On this day the divers had to trek far out over the low tide flats to get to the reef.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My water babies

Swimming pools are few and far between here. I think there are only three in the whole province. This photo was taken at the CPL (Coconut Products Limited) Pool at the Guria Club, Ulaveo (outside Kokopo). My two daughters were home from school and swimming there.

I miss them terribly and to make it worse one of my daughters is sick at the moment and I feel terrible I am not there!!! So this post is for them.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The building of the Bung

The old market (bung) is falling down around our ears so thanks to the Gazelle Restoration Authority and finance from the World Bank, a new market is being built across the road. It is looking quite spectacular so I went for a closer look.

When you take photos of people working here you cause total chaos, so what with the calling out and the waving, I left before all worked stopped! People assume you are a tourist and call out Ples belong yu we?” Which literally means “Place belong you where” or “Where do you come from?”

I went back on Sunday when it was quieter and the workers had gone, and took more photos. I will go back and photograph it when it is finished and in operation.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Maus Bilong Tavurvur

This is our local radio station RADIO EAST NEW BRITAIN – RENB. A local painter revamped the front so it is quite a land-mark now. On it you can see some of the local cultural icons of this province, including the frangipani, Bainings Fire Dancers, and the Duk Duks. I will introduce you to these in up-coming posts.

Maus means mouth or voice so the sign reads Voice belong Tavurvur (The voice of the volcano -Tavurvur)

You can also see on the sign, that this building was built by the Japanese. After the 1994 eruption many buildings were rebuilt in Kokopo (which is further around the bay) with aid-money from other countries. Japan also rebuilt the devastated Rabaul airport (to the other end of the bay at Tokua), and many Japanese volunteers and tourists work and visit here each year.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Rhino on my shoe

Here in PNG we don’t have a lot of creepy crawlies, but what we do have is BIG!! This rhinoceros beetle was downstairs yesterday, so I thought I’d take its portrait!! It is attached itself to my thong when I tried to turn it over. We often only see them around the place when they are on their last legs - this one was on its back and not well!!!

The rhinoceros beetle is the strongest creature on the planet – proportionate to its size. It can carry 850 times its own weight which is amazing. I couldn’t work out why a rhinoceros beetle would need to be so strong – it’s not like it is a removalist…….or is it? This is an interesting link that answers the question.

They are quite harmless and apart from their ferocious appearance don’t bite or even charge, but make quite a loud hissing noise when you touch them. Kids in Asia have them as pets, but here they eat the new growth out of the coconut palms, so are considered a nuisance.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Croquet anyone?

Yesterday in the late afternoon, I played croquet at my neighbours, who live just down the beach from me. They have friends visiting at the moment from Australia, and we had such a good time. We finished the afternoon with what else but a Pimms on the lawn.

How civilised!!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Riven V: Field of Coconuts

Time to head back....... and as we turn to leave, we see this group of coconut trees with interesting trunks. As you drove past they look like they are moving. What do they remind you of?

Thanks for coming to Riven with me; I hope you enjoyed it.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Riven IV: Wave on Driftwood

There are quite a lot of trees and stumps on the beach today that must have been washed down the rivers during the big rains. They actually help hold the sand on the beach and make good subjects for photographs.

He-Who-Doesn’t-Blog is also a keen photographer and is secretly enjoying being dragged off as driver and technical assistant on my photo shoots; and I have to admit this photo taken on Riven Beach, is his.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Riven III: The Beach

We’re there! I hope it was worth the bumpy ride.

The first photo is as you round the corner and see the water – I am on the top of a steep drop so I can't avoid the trees. I am worried the trunks will spoil the photo, but it kinda looks like a view through a window – maybe??

The beach at Riven is not the typical tropical beach you usually see up here. The beach is sand but the sea bed is very rocky and there are some deep channels and dangerous rips. The people in the first photo had to rescue their children from being washed out to sea earlier in the afternoon. The father of the children has bruised and cut legs from the rocks.

The second picture is taken from down on the sand looking back towards the way we came in.

We may have to sit on the beach and have a glass of wine and a chat – it is probably too dangerous to swim.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Riven II : Are we there yet?

Unlike on a freeway in the city where you would have a huge overhead sign stating RIVEN 1 km here in Rabaul we have bent coconut trees to sign the way.

"Are we there yet??"

Not far now.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Riven I - Reflections in Potholes

This week I thought we’d visit Riven Beach which is a surf beach not far from my house. We will have to take the 4WD as my little car will not make it.

We turn off the main road just before we get to the airport. The road is not sealed and can get quite muddy after rain.

I have found pot holes to be slightly more tolerable when they have reflections in them to photograph.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Ring my bell

s It is Sunday here and many local people will be dressing in their Sunday best and heading off to church. The Catholics, Seven Day Adventists and Baptists have quite a hold on the area but there are Anglican and United churches here too. This is the Uniting Church at Raluana, off the Rabaul/Kokopo road. It is on the beachfront in a lovely spot, and I have always admired it as we have driven past.

When we stopped to take a look and get some photos, I found this wonderful little haus win with the bell in it. Obviously the bell ringer doesn't like heights.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Jail House Rock

Half buried in the ash, are the remains of the holding cells for the Rabaul Court House that collapsed under the weight of the ash in the 1994 eruptions.

It is very eerie walking into the tiny cells and imagining how frightening it would have been in there that day.

But I guess in times of volcanic eruption - jail is probably a safe place to be!!! It is the only building standing in that part of town.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Let's Sail Away

This is the Star Dancer, a luxurious 40 metre, liveaboard dive ship which sails the islands of PNG. When it is in Rabaul it parks out the front of my place!!!

I have been on board for a cocktail party - I guess they got sick of me jumping up and down on my verandah with my wine glass waving and yelling at them - and it is very, very nice. Would be a great way to see PNG, even if you didn't dive.

Click on this link and see all the details.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Even dogs go troppo in Rabaul

Even dogs can “go troppo” up here. You’ll often see dogs stretched out snoozing in hammocks, fishing from banana boats or snoring under coconut trees.

Our dog, Lili, is part Australian Red Heeler, German Shepherd and village dog.

The bit village dog (related to the Asian dog) means she eats anything including apple cores, pawpaw and vegemite on toast;
the German Shepherd bit means she has a soft coat and is very loyal and affectionate;
and the Aussi Red Heeler bit means she is a lunatic….. I’m joking!!! ……is very, very protective, very territorial and snaps at people’s rear ends.

My daughter took this photo. Hi MM!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Breakfast in Rabaul

Bon Appetite to all daily city bloggers!!!! And yes I am here in one piece – the bomb has gone. No it didn’t blow up. Some men in a padded van with padded undies came and took it away!!!!!

Back to breakfast -
It is said that - When in Rome do as the Romans do or maybe eat as the Roman’s eat. So that is what I try and do here in PNG, but there are no quaint dark cafĂ©’s in tree-lined boulevards to have my cappuccino and croissant in…………here breakfast falls from the trees.

And of course I have added something to my breakfast tray that an Aussi can’t do without.