Day 7. Today we had a cruise ship join the Tufi clan…a nice 150 ft yacht sleeping 30 people full of Aussies (and a couple of Brits and one guy from Connecticut.) Simon had planned the day to include a couple of village tours complete with demonstrations
- Cruise ship had a chopper that took the guests on excursions throughout their stop – Don was trying to get on to Kokoda for a day trip, but it didn’t happen
Met Michelle – lady who is a dr. in Australia who mom is originally from PNG – she had a very emotional experience earlier in their trip where she met up with he aunties, uncles, and grandparents for the first time since she was a kid
- Went on motor boats over to the mangroves – were picked up in dugout canoes by men who were decked out in their tradition dress – included palm leave skirts, flowers around their arms and head and later we saw the women were bare chested with lots of necklaces to somewhat cover their chests.
- Got paddled up the inlet of mangroves where we were dropped off at the “lower village”
There they showed us demonstrations of how they lived and worked…including digging out the sago tree to make pulp, taking the pulp to the river where they strained the starch out of the pulp…then they collected the pulp and formed a loaf…where they put it on a palm leaf fire (we got to taste the outer skin…kinda tasted like play dough)…they wrap it in banana leafs to carry it…then the women grind it up to make a soup – Brock tasted it and it was like glue. Yum. Then they offered us fresh fruits and coconut milk fresh from the coconuts. They had set up a makeshift market where all the families sold handmade souvenirs. We bought a couple of things, got back on the canoes, and headed out to the next village.
- The next village offered us a look at a traditional Sing-Sing. The locals in their traditional dress dance around and sing songs for different purposes…they showed us their welcome song/dance and one that they do as a volcano dance.
- We got a tour around their village and a few more demonstrations – one of bag weaving, one of rope making, one of fire making, and one of face tattooing. They didn’t actually do the tattooing while we were there, but they did show us the technique that they would use if they did using a nail and piece of wood…I’m so glad I had mine done where there is electricity! Also, usually only the women get tattoos, and they get them on their faces. It symbolizes a coming of age, and then once you have your face tattooed, you are able to begin looking for a husband. Almost all of the older women have full face tattoos, but they said as the younger generations go outside of the villages for school and work, it is less common for young women to get the tattoos.
- We were offered fresh local fruit (the pineapple was the BEST pineapple we’ve ever tasted!) and more coconut water and given the chance to buy some more local souvenirs.
- Headed back to the resort to get ready for our afternoon dive. Had an awesome curry chicken lunch and then down to the dive shop to hit Paul’s Reef
- The dive was beautiful – we’re coming to expect that here – and we came up with tons of life to add to our dive log.
- After the dive, Simon had invited the guests of the North Star cruise ship to the resort for cocktails and appetizers. We got to enjoy the evening and made a few friends, including getting to talk to Michelle again about how she went from a small girl in a local PNG village to now a doctor in Australia.
- After the cruise guests left, we sat around with Simon, his daughter Rebecca, Don and the locals who work at the resort listening to stories and telling a few of our own.