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Photos and Scenery of Papua New Guinea We welcome your photos of Papua New Guinea in here. This is an exclusively photo only area. Comments or questions should go into the Tourism Discussion area.

 
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Old 23-02-2002, 05:24 PM
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Islands of Love

KITAVA

Islands of Love - a Taste of Paradise

Story by BARNABAS ORERE

Kitava, with other Trobriand Islands, prepare for a large yam festival in July of each year:
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Old 23-02-2002, 05:31 PM
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The Islands of Love

KITAVA is one of the many islands to the east, off Kiriwina, the heartland of Trobriand Islands. As you approach it, the coral cliffs will remind you of the white cliffs of Dover. The trouble is, as you try to see if they really are scars on a cliff face or they might be gaps between the foliage, you find yourself stepping on to the beach, and the cliffs are not visible anymore.

When you begin to make a 20 degree climb, you realise that there are hills on the island and what you see coming in might be cliffs after all. You got to have good eyesight to travel in the tropic seas because many different colours are at work.

But apart from what you expect ot see, and what catches your attention, this is the first magic of Kitava. Once you reach the beach, it is hard to leave. Beautiful Nuratu Island, which means big yam in loca lingo, lies within swimming distance. Uninhabited, the round yam is surrrounded by white sand with coconut palms decorating the centre.

Somehow it reminded me of a giant birthday cake. But it is here that the Melanesian Discoverer or the World Discoverer stops by. A barbeque lunch on Nuratu and a glass of wine would sink really well. It is the kind of setting for an advdertisement which carry the picture of a mermaid with a flower stuck in the hair and enjoying a cocktail on glorious white sand.

Arriving on a cruise ship in a tropical paradise gives you an alien feeling, and you don't have to be a Russian to experience the sensation. that is our second magic of Kitava.

What astounds me is that the Trobriand Islands have been known for more than 500 years since the 17th century, but the spells are just as strong today to draw people from all over the world to see these pearls of the Pacific, the islands of many coloured dreams:

Milne Bay Sing Sing Group
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Old 23-02-2002, 05:50 PM
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Islands of Love

Kitava's third magic is that it sits slap bang on the Vitiaz Strait, the busiest shipping route in the world. That is another reason why you will hesitate to leave the beach. Foreigh ships pass the channel between Kiriwina and Kitava with in a stone throw from the latter at such close intervals that at night it is like PMV's on the highway.

The Vitiaz Strait runs all the way past Madang with its back to Buka and Rabaul. From Kitava, the ships take their Global Position Satelite reading, and they are on their way to Asia and other destinations. For centuries the Kitava people have watched the world bo by, and lived a carefree lifestyle with their favourite yams.

On Kitava Island, there is an unexplored cave called Inakebu which has cave paintings as seen in Australia. But across the channel is the strategic village of Wauwela. Both Kitava and Wauwela are key villages in the centuries old kula ceremonial trade circle. Witches were said to fly into Wauwela from the east with watches after dark. Nature must have stopped and had a good break at Wauwela.

The village is trucked in a horseshoe inlet radiating with white sand. The oceanis bordered by a reef to shelter a picturesque lagoon with magnificent coral gardens teeming with marine life. Nature allowed a deep water channel for boats ot go out, and also a perfectly round circle of deep pool about 100 metres in diametre and 9 metres deep.

The blue sky reflects on the pool but in a shallow lagoon, the palm trees and other foliage do what they like on the white sand under water. The result is stunning. If you have a good pair of sunglasses, you can see the sun better, but go to Wauwela and really feel the luxury of your small investment.

If you do not have good eyesight, its probably better that way because when you think your eyes are playing up, that actually is the magic of our paradise. you can explore the mysterious Inakebu cave, go diving off Nuratu Island, go on a shark calling expedition with the natives on Kiriwina or spend a night on Spirit Island.

The Inakebu cave has underground streams running through it. There are no vents so the darkness hungrily absorbs light very fast. You will need special caving gear to check this largely unexplored cave that drops 20 metres from the entrance and descends further into the unknown.

The visit to Spirit Island is a close encouanter with super naturals; you can actually hear voices as the evening closes in. There have been actual reports of visitors being removed from their sitting positions.

There are several places you can stay at Kiriwina. There is the Kiriwina Lodge, Village Birth Attendants, Bweka Lodge or new accommodation being developed by the Clarks at the airport and at Wauwela.

Kiriwina Island is the best kept secret of the Second World War. It was an airforce base which baffled the enmy as to where the bomers and fighter planes were disappearing to. Unfortunately, a lot of the war relics in the area where Rod and Sarah Clark are building their tourist accommodation have been removed by scrap metal hunters. The Wauwela tourist village provides an easy access ot many villages along the south coast.

From Wauwela, you can also cross to Kitava Island for a day. If you want to go caving or diving, you can pitch a tent on Nuratu Island and make a head start in the morning, crossing back to Wauwela in the evening. Speaking of evening, the sunset at Kitava looking westward on Kiriwina is absolutely fantastic. On my first evening, I saw it, and I was totally spellbound. Gorgeous colours turned the sky into a cathedral of radiating sunrays that lit up different shapes of clouds, absolutely magical.

Tourism in Kiriwina has not been co-ordinated for sometime. Following an awareness workshop last year, the Kiriwina Tourism association was formed and Sarah Clark was elected president. Sarah know that afte rthe sandfish are depledted, the people will be left with their culture.

It is rich, and if it can be sustained wiht proper planning and support, the tourist dollar will ge the islanders going. There is plenty to see. The yam festival has seven stages, all with its share of attraction and excitement. Trobriand cricket is a festival of its own, and there is the kula ceremonial trade that has gone on for half a century or more.

Sarah's group is trying to plant trees, cut the grass and encourage the people to use agriculture to support tourism by growing such things as cabbages and tomatoes which are not popular in these yam islands. Young school leavers who are dropping back to the villages can find employment in the tourism industry. Villagers can contribute sightseeing trips, provide fruit, bring in seafood, put on entertainment or sell carvings.

Sarah's dream is to link up people, network and set up a industry that can be sustained. "Our way of life on the island is our biggest draw card, and the potential is there". We don't require a lot of capital to get things going, but with a bit of support, we can get going", said Sarah. The people had become accustomed ot government handouts, and Kiriwina had gone backward.

Sarah Clarke is one determined woman to get Kiriwina back on its feet and work for itself so that tourism can blossom on the island. Her group is educating the villagers on correct ways to treat tourists because there is a fierce competition to sell carvings whenever tourists show up on the island. She has the support of her loyal deputy Tovese Toboeta and husband Rod.

The local people at Wauwela already see the vision of Sarah Clarke. Their backyard which has the lagoon with its coral gardens and the marine zoo in their natural setting, and the wilderness white sandy beaches will be turned into a golden opportunity by their daughter Sarah whom they respect very much. Wauwela has a great potential to lure tourists because it is a 'paradise'.
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Old 23-02-2002, 05:54 PM
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Islands of Love

Islands of Love:
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Old 23-02-2002, 08:32 PM
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Melanesian Discoverer

Why not consider a cruise on the Melanesian Discoverer:
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