Monday, 7 November 2016

8th November 2018 - Misima Island, Lousiades, PNG

Tuesday 8th November 2016

All is well in Tasmania.  We are still busily catching up with family and friends.  We have been to Launceston and to Lewisham, to Lindisfarne and various other Hobart suburbs.  Life is good!

Michael newly arrived in the Lousiades
In the meantime in Townsville Michael is still happily looking after 2XS and supervising the works.

Misima Drive

Pete and I had already hired a car to drive around Misima Island.  We had been impressed and delighted with the beauty of this mountainous island and we thought Michael would enjoy a similar tour.

Michael and Moses
Moses (from Bagaman) came with us.

This time we remembered to stop and take a photo of this amazing road tunnel…

We drove as far as possible and then walked along the beach past a few villages, up and over steep headlands, where some kind person had built concrete steps to make it all easier.  

He had, apparently, been employed at the goldmine and he decided to use some of his wealth to benefit his community.  (It certainly benefitted me, not having to scramble inelegantly down a steep and muddy slope!)

It was a Saturday and there was a constant stream of people walking along the beach.  Most of the women carried large containers of food on their heads, up and down the headlands. 

They seemed to be going a long way, and we learned that it was their football grand final, in a village further along the coast.  Some of them had to leave very early in the morning to get there; everyone seemed perfectly happy about this.  They were fascinated to see us sitting on some rocks eating our sandwiches…dimdims are a constant source of entertainment!

There are about six shops in Misima, all of them humming and buzzing with retail activity.  Pete ,Michael and I were very puzzled about where the money was coming from.  Not many people have jobs on the island – the shops employ quite a few; the little Westpac bank probably employs four.  There is one nurse at the hospital, a dozen teachers at the school.  But the ships are full fo villagers – we saw them arriving in big trucks and utes, all cashed up and ready to buy.  A mystery!

Island wildlife - pigs and chooks!
Michael solved the mystery. He made friends with Isabelle, a canny young woman who runs the one and only liquor store. She asked him if he would like to see where the Misima money comes from – Michael is very good at making friends and finding things out!  The cash comes from – GOLD!  There is still a lot of gold on the island, although the mine closed down maybe fifteen years ago.  Isabelle is ready, willing and able to buy any gold the villagers find, pan, dig up.  She weighs it all out and pays them and then…makes, we think, a huge profit.

We left Misima the next day with a boatload of Bagaman Islanders.  Misima is a lovely island, and we did enjoy being able to buy onions and garlic and beer in Bagoia but…the water in the harbour its totally full of poos, and possibly full of crocodiles.

As soon as we arrived and anchored in the clean cool water…SWIM!!

My happy place...

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