From A Doini Island Bungalow

The view of the jetty from one of the bungalows.

 The bungalows on Doini it seemed are named after the neigbouring islands eg. Sariba, Logea etc. I can’t recall the name of the bungalow I took this photo from but anyway the bungalows are on a class of their own in terms of the standard of cleanliness, design and comfort – actually quite luxurious.

The bathroom had a unique feature - a clam shell for a wash basin - now that's something new. Very innovative.

 This bungalow was quite spacious and I reckon it can take a group of say six or seven people. Perhaps a family at Christmas time when the pineapples and mangoes are in season or any other time. In paradise it’s all good.

Looks so comfy and inviting - just like the turquoise sea outside
Would I like to lay my weary body down on a bed like this? Out here in the tropics? The answer is a resounding yes!

 Looking around this big room brought back memories of home on Kwato where polished floor and clean beds were a common feature in every home. Every Christmas we’d gathered in the family house on Kwato. Those were the times when I wished this festive season could be suspended in time and school a future away.

So spacious and well, comfy.

 There are so many lovely features of this bungalow and am sure the others have too. I really admired the design and the wood work and panelling. If I were to live in one of these bungalows I will be the happiest person around. The bungalow had all the mod cons.

The fridge and the stove with the wooden cover to stop seawater or sea spray getting to the stove top. Very sensible.
One of our fellow daytrippers decided to take a swim in the sea and although I was tempted to do the same, I was, let’s say, ill-prepared.
Who could resist a swim along this beach? Couple of our group took a refreshing dip in the turquoise waters.

Some more views from the verandah of the bungalow. The sea has an alluring thing about it – call it magic perhaps – but one can never tire of looking out to sea especially on a bright sunny day. There is nothing that can obstruct the view all the way to the horizon.

Simply lovely.

As with all short trips, all too soon our visit to Doini came to and end. On the way down the jetty to our boat, this boat arrived with a whole bunch of school children. I realised that like us, they will have the whole place to themselves.

No they are not boat people - but a boat load of school children

I realise that a couple of hours on Doini wasn’t enough time to see all there is to see of the island and, am sure, more. However, we certainly will remember this place, without a doubt.

One of my colleagues had collected bits of coral and shells to remember Doini by. I took my photos and he collected his own island momentos.

After Doini, Samarai Island was our next and last stop on this day trip so we had to get a move on or else we’d loose the daylight and that would have been a waste. So we said our goodbyes to the ladies in the dining room and kitchen area and headed towards the jetty. 

Heading out towards Samarai Island in the distance.

As we pushed off the jetty and away from Doini Island, my thoughts turned to Samarai.  I haven’t visited the island in yonks and wondered what the island looked like then. All my favourite spots.

The breeze once again on our faces and the sun warmer outside en route, I looked at this chap (one of our crew) sitting at the front of the dinghy and I couldn’t help thinking about the freedom we were experiencing. No fences, no looking over our shoulders just freedom to enjoy another beautiful corner of Papua New Guinea.

En Route To Doini Island

I am not sure which villages these are but I think it is towards Boiduhana, Logea Kalo

We left Kwato around midday and once again glided across on glassy seas   towards Doini Island. I’ve never been to Doini Island believe it or not before this day trip so I was equally as excited as my fellow daytrippers.

The photo above is of Logea Island across from Kwato Island. Logea is the island that inspired Uncle Robert and late Cousin Nasona to pen the song ‘Discover the Island’ found on one of Salima’s albums. It does conjure up in one’s mind the moonlight nights on these islands,
 
‘”Have you ever been to eastern shores of Papua,
Discover the island, across the China Straits…”
 
Then it goes on to say…
 
“As we reached the island and walk along the shore,
Side by side we walk holding hands beneath the island sky, 
Then we stood together beneath the golden moon and you lean to me and whisper,
Whispering the words, saying I love you”…
 
Eni kapole saha sabidi.

We cruised past the island of Logea (bigger than Kwato Island). The tip of the island north-facing – that is Logea Pwata. The white sandy shores are a common feature on these islands except the southern part of Logea which boasts of soft black sand.

I had never seen this part of Logea and took this shot of the kunai grass on the hill.

A kunai grassy knoll...could one imagine a guesthouse or a seafood restaurant on this location - what great panoramic island views this location would command.

I was amazed as we cruised by this part of Logea Island towards Gonubalabala. Now this is an interesting place, Gonubalabala, because one of its attractions apart from its natural beauty, is a ‘cleaning station’ for manta rays. Apparently this is a must see feature. Unfortunately, it must be seasonal because we didn’t see anything, and this was early November, 2010.

Gonubalabala - white sandy beach but no manta rays...too bad. A view from our boat.

We were looking forward to witness this awesome sight, the cleaning manta rays, but alas it was not to be. The fish were nowhere to be found so we cruised on to Doini Island which was our destination.  Anchored off the shore at Gonubalabala was the M.V. Chertan.

Imagine a snooze on M.V. Chertan on a lazy afternoon - that would be something...

We slowed down just to take in the view, feel the sea breeze and just enjoy being out on a boat and ‘discovering’ for ourselves new ‘destinations’ as we commit them to memory to share them with family, friends and colleagues when we return to Port Moresby.

Approaching Doini Island…aaahhhh what can I say…just beamed from ear to ear…

So you see, before you convince yourself that Port Moresby is PNG, think again! You will be pleasantly surprised to find that this land of islands and mountains is not only a treasure trove, but as one commentary stated ‘a naturalist’s wonderland’, and a sure place to spend that holiday you’ve been saving up for.

“Oh Kwato Is A Green Place…”

Looking up from the Kwato wharf - on the left is the big badila (nut) tree and the raintrees. But what was most disturbing was the fast rising sea level on this foreshore.

As our dinghy pulled up along side the wharf at Kwato, I was struck with the beauty of this island where my siblings and lots of relatives grew up and lived. I went to school here. The big badila tree reminded me of waking up early in the mornings to collect the nuts that the flying foxes have dropped on the ground the evening before.

We used to sing “Oh Kwato is a green place, a home for the flowers…”

The walk across the cricket ground and up towards the main road brought back lots of memories. But hey, the big gisoa (mango) trees were gone. The place did not look right. I searched for a small landmark which my Grandfather left and what a great relief that brought tears to my eyes. It was still there.

The iconic Kwato Church. One of the two stone churches in PNG. Both are over 100 years old. How majestic the dubu looked.
 
This is the first time I am able to take a shot like this. My Nikon D90 did not fail me – more like the panoramic lens. This is a Papuan dubu design. We walked around it and then looked beyond – now one could take in a 360 degree view from this vantage point. The dubu is situated on a small plateau on Kwato. Isiiii kapole hinage…the day was sunny and bright and was the right time to visit Kwato. Met up with some relatives and wish I had time for more meetings but we were on a schedule so next time.
 
We walked up to Tupi and met up with Uncle S who incidently saw us earlier on during our climb up towards dubu. He was with a couple of the guys repairing parts of Aituha ( short distance from the back of the Church). His house has a priceless view of the Papuan mainland and surrounding islands.
 
He had a great collection of hibiscus and other beautiful flowers. Uncle S let us take as many shots as we wanted of the flowers and here’s one of them of the magnificient pink and white hibiscus at the front of the house.
 
Magnificient pink and white hibiscus - '"...a home for the flowers..." alright. Amatoi lailai Uncle S for receiving us so graciously and letting us take photos of your beautiful flowers.

We bid Uncle S goodbye and headed down the old Sipi Road towards the B & C building and the wharf. It was a wonderful two (2) hour tour of Kwato Island. Thank you much Jenny (Driftwood Resort) for letting me be the tour guide for this trip to Kwato.

Doini Island beckoned as we quickly had some cold drinks and headed towards the wharf.

I reflect on this week and what has happened or has not happened depending on one’s perspective. I think PNG went through a process that showed how mature Papua New Guineans have become in looking at political developments and how these events impact on our daily lives. Whilst the seriousness of the impasse and the legal judgements and constitutional dos and donts were debated in Facebook and other media and our freedom hung precariously in the balance, I was amazed at how well we handled ourselves as a nation. Not even Australia can say anything nasty about Papua New Guineans anymore. The smear campaigns their papers run and their politician’s perceptions of PNG as a failed state are blown right out of the water. Politically we are more mature than anyone I know. 

PNG leaders must sort themselves out and resolve their differences because we the silent majoity are taking our democracy very seriously and are putting them on notice with every hour that goes by.

I can’t help thinking that Peter O’Neill now is like the Grand Chief Sir Michael in the early 70s. History is replaying itself again it seems, as the young takes over the reins to take this country to another level. Its proud and risilient citizenry watches silently in hope and positive expectation as another era in our democracy is born before our very eyes.

PNG is a beautiful and amazing country. Let’s keep it that way.