My next stop was in Madang a short flight from Port Moresby. I stayed at the Jais Aben Resort where we were hosted by Heather and Ted Hamilton. Our diving was under the care of Lesley and Tim the owners of Aquaventures, the resident dive operation at the resort. Diving was once again excellent. The resort is located in a protected bay area so conditions are quite calm and clear. The reefs here are abundant with larger sea life. We saw large schools of Jacks and Barracudas. In addition to divers, the resort handles conferences and has many missionaries from the Highlands come down to the sea for a holiday. The restaurant here has daily specials and is very reasonably priced.
My last stop is in Rabaul where I will meet the Orion our cruise ship home for the next 12 days. I am staying at the Rabaul Hotel (formerly Hamamas) hosted by Bruce and Susie Alexander. The hotel and town have a storied history. The Hotel is the oldest in the New Guinea Islands dating back to the 1950’s but existing in its current state since the late 80’s when it was re-built from a fire that burned it down. It was almost lost again in the twin eruptions of 1994 but the owners stayed behind and shoveled ash from the roofs saving it from collapsing. It’s restaurant is aptly named Phoenix. It’s specialty is Chinese cuisine. My first day here I am invited to an Octoberfest at the local Yacht Club.
I boarded the Orion on Monday afternoon, and in the evening we were treated to a fire dance by local villagers. The ship is under charter to Tauck World Discoveries and we have the privilege of having Robin Tauck on board with us. This morning we stayed in Rabaul and had a town tour that took us to a WWII Japanese barge tunnel, a volcano monitoring station and some WWII airplane wreckage. Rabaul is rich with history, it was occupied by the Japanese in WWII and was the base of operations for their Pacific fleet. We also visited Admiral Yamamotos main bunker site. Rabaul is surrounded by volcanos and one of them is very active. This afternoon we visited a local market. More about the Orion tomorrow when we will spend the day at sea on our way toWatam Village at the mouth of the Sepik River.