THE WEEKLY #175: MADANG, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
After two weeks of trekking through the mountains of Papua New Guinea, it was time to hit the coast and get salty.
We had a big transit day from Rondon Lodge to Mt Hagen by bus and then a flight back to Port Moresby before one final journey via plane to Madang. Here we were picked up and dropped at, Madang Resort, our home for the next three days.
With two full days of action ahead of us the plan was to spend one day island-hopping, snorkeling, scuba-diving and kayaking and the second day on an adventure to a village in the jungle.
The Madang Resort was huge and situated right on the water. In the morning we could look out of the balcony over the ocean with palm-tree covered islands on the horizon. It’s a relaxing paradise.
THE OCEAN DAY
Niugini Dive is the dive center that operates out of Madang Lodge. We met up with the crew, mostly from Fiji, and decided we would dive at a WWII Shipwreck and WWII plane wreck. Josh had never been scuba-diving before so it was pretty awesome he could jump straight into it with just a 10-minute lesson in the water before we began.
The morning was moody. Grey and dark blue tones dominated the scene, which created a strange atmosphere, which may also have been brought on by the fact that we were the only tour boat in the entire region all day. It felt quite, peaceful.
We arrived at the first dive site at Wangat Island. It was a beautiful island covered in palms. One small thatch hut sat in the middle, almost entirely hidden by the palms.
Josh grabbed the basics of safety and diving and we were off, plunging down to 15m to investigate the Henry Leith shipwreck from WWII. The water clarity wasn’t great, which when coupled with the lack of sun might it quite dark but that only affected the photos. It was still a great place to scuba-dive and investigate the shipwreck up-close and personal.
The second wreck, the American bomber fighter jet, was much clearer and my favorite dive of the day. Josh, on just his second dive ever, sat behind the still in-tact machine gun posing for a photo. Not a bad first day of diving!
After our dives, we took the kayaks out for a spin and I explored the region from the drone. Despite the gloomy weather, the scenery was incredible and on a sunny day would be a 5-star tropical location.
We packed up and headed to our second destination for the day, Pig Island. All of the islands are dense with the jungle that seems to spill out onto the sandy shores. We took the kayaks and ventured inside the wall of vines and palms to see what we could find.
Minutes later we found ourselves snorkeling above some beautiful reef just meters from the shore. An abundance of fish and colorful coral made it a stunning scene to snorkel through.
To finish off the day, I flew the drone over Pig Island. This proved to be my favorite location of the day and despite a lack of sun, the vibrant blue of the ocean and green of the island-jungle contrasted dramatically to create a classic tropical vibe.
HIDDEN JUNGLE-CAVE CLIFF JUMP
On our second day in Madang, we really had no idea where we were going. ‘Busy Bee’ a local legend tour guide picked us up at the hotel and asked us if we wanted to scuba-dive through a cave in the jungle. We weren’t prepared for that but said sure let’s go have a look.
We were dropped off at a small village named Haiku, which is part of the Amele Tribe. They adopted us for the day and showed us all of their watering holes and caves. We began with a squad of about 10-people but a few hours into the expedition, we were part of a 50-strong line of village kids and teens on a journey to the sights of the region.
The highlight of the day was depth checking a cave that they had never jumped into and having a few cave-cliff jumps. The locals then joined us in a few jumps and a swim before we explored more of the region.
It was interesting to see their way of life. Betel nuts, ginger, bananas, vanilla, and other vegetables grew all throughout the area and the kids just seemed to pick things here and there as they went. They seemed quite peaceful and happy and I think the highlight for them may have been when we flew the ‘chopper’ also known as the drone when we were back at the village. The kids were quite excited and it was something they will remember for a little while.
We were now en route to our last location of the Papua New Guinea trip. After flying from Madang to Lae, we now head to Hoskins and will base ourselves at Walindi Resort in Kimbe Bay for the final 4 days of your PNG expedition.