position S10 41.290 E150 25.950

Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Fri 5 Jul 2019 21:16
Friday 5th July.

In the morning a dangerously overloaded little ferry called at Denila island to pick up passengers heading towards Post Moresby- it is the best part of a 2 day trip so I assume most travellers are not making the whole trip, squashed into such a small space.
We were almost ready to go ashore when a visit from 3 cheerful lads-Michael, John &  Joe interupted our morning chores- my baking and Dianas sorting. They bought us 6 fresh coconuts -ready stripped for drinking. John is the clergymans son, recently moved from Port Moresby, chirpy Joe and quiet Michael, all about 10 years old. We gave them the last 3 notebooks and pens with a drink and biscuit. They arrived in a canoe typical for this area complete with plywood deck and log outrigger. An older lad, Guison came by and assured us that everyone was very friendly and we would be most welcome to visit the village. He told us about a canadian yachtsman who had stayed and married his mother a few years ago. The authorities caught up with him however and he had to go home leaving his wife behind with a small child.
John and Michael
By now we were late for our walk with Silvester so we sent the lads ahead and followed them over to the little island. Silvester soon found us and we had a delightful walk round the island, learning more about PNG from him and enjoying the antics of the lads, who found us pocket loads of pretty shells. Papua in the east and New Guinea in the west are apparently unofficially linked as a treaty wasn't signed by Papua. Now Papua would prefer to be linked to Australia, hopeful for more support and apparently Australia is keen to play ball. The PNG government however is controlled by polititans from the highlands which has more money from cash crops like coffee and cocao, and they don't want to Papua break away. Lawyers are looking into the legal status.
The walk produced lovely views out to the surf strewn reefs with islands beyond. The variety of the landscape is more interesting and scenic than either the Solomons or Vaniuatu- there have been high limestone cliffs and bush free grassy hills more reminiscent of sussex downs than tropical forest.The bird life is much richer and more varied- we saw two sorts of eagles as well as parrots.
Then a cut across a headland and the boys pointed out a Beetel nut tree, some eucalyptus grown for posts and then a Sago processing system next to a rather pathetic  looking little stream which is the islands only water source apart from stored rainwater.
sago run
An older man, Willie, hailed us as we passed his house and gave us a pumpkin.
Silvester who has experienced city life would like to modernise, install a phone mast and solar panels and If his vanilla business succeeds I think he will make it happen. The boys were keen to see videos or cartoons on our phones and we had to disapoint them. Perhaps we are seeing the last dregs of innocence and if we return in a few years will find a different atmosphere, but maybe just as happy with a few more home comforts.
Sylvester showed us his impressive vanilla plantation- he obtained seeds from a now defunct operation that was ruined because greedy sellers put nails in the pods to increase the weight and as a result the market collapsed for a couple of years. He uses a small tree to support the vines and give some shade.
Back aboard the boys had some fresh bread and jam and we sent them back to the island to deliver a packet of nappies that had been left on the boat when we bought it. We met two pretty babies  with their mothers on the beach
After a late lunch and a rest we took the dinghy over to the reef for a dugong hunt. Everyone had told us that they were around, best seen late in the afternoon or early in the morning. We ran across Willie looking for shellfish and I was able to give him some reading glasses for the Pumpkin. He was pleased as he had stepped on his last pair. He was a bit more realistic about the dugongs though and said they are not seen very often, more likely spotted when night fishing. They are protected but one 'accidently' died and apparently tasted like beef. I snorkled back along the outside of the reef and enjoyed an amazing variety of coral and fish but no dugongs.


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