MV Pacific Aria - 14 Day “
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MV Pacific Aria is seen at anchor at Kiriwina Island PNG on November 20, 2017
Welcome to Part Two of “The Papua New Guinea Experience,” however if you have arrived at this page via a Search Engine, I suggest that you use the “Pacific Aria Cruise Review INDEX” at the bottom of the page to visit the relevant page!
On Part One of our fascinating PNG experience, we have looked at our visits to;
I trust that Part Two of our voyage to the PNG will encourage many more Australians and New Zealanders to undertake this amazing cruise of exploration, for believe me it has been an exciting experience for all onboard, let alone Eng Tan, who just desires to do it all again!
Maritime Historian, Author & Cruise ‘n’ Ship Reviewer.
Commenced in the Passenger Shipping Industry in 1960.
Please Note: Photographs taken ashore are by & © Hun-Eng Tan
a number of views taken from the ship by &
Also some photographs by & © Terry Whitter.
Saturday February 18. As the Pacific Aria slowly made is way towards the
we see the very active volcano
Soon we were heading for port and would be docking
We arrived and docked at the
Above & below: The amazing voices of the Rabaul male College Choral Group awaited as and entertained us warmly dockside
Rabaul is located on PNG’s northeastern tip, and this province is certainly blessed with great natural beauty. However sadly, it is also a region that plagued with, what we can only call a very unlucky past, and the region has to continually rise from the ashes.
During the Second World War Rabaul was
frequently attacked by American,
However, around 2,000 residents have since then returned to Rabaul area, and the town has been partially rebuilt. Today, Eng decided not to participate on an organised tour as he just wished to go and mix with the locals and see the town. He soon found the “Rabaul Page Park Markets” that stood out as the focal gathering point in the heart of the town, with its vast undercover stall areas, as well as countless outdoor stalls most of which are located under large umbrellas. In addition the town also has a number of supermarkets and a variety of shops and other businesses.
Eng took a photograph of the ship as he headed into town
He soon discovered the “Page Park Markets”
Above & below: Two views of the market, the interior was closing, and most trading was outside
My shipboard friend Terry Whitter has booked on the “War and Colonial History Tour,”
which is described below, and thankfully
Photographs in the “War and Colonial History Tour” story are by & © Terry Whitter, unless stated otherwise
During the “War and Colonial History
Tour” which will take passengers to the “
The Japanese controlled this region and there are still many Japanese relics to be found. There are vehicles, weapons, and other artefacts related to Japan’s occupation of Rabaul. Besides a Japanese aircraft fuselage there are also the remains of a nosecone of an American B-17 bomber. A Japanese Tank as well as guns and 37mm field guns are to be found here.
A Japanese model 94 (1934) 37mm calibre Field Gun range 5000 yards – used as an anti-tank gun
A partial fuselage of a Japanese attack plane
Next came a visit to the remarkable “Japanese barge tunnels.” There is no doubt, that it was a remarkable feat to construct a 300 miles of underground tunnels and pathways designed to conceal munitions stores, a hospital, as well as a means of secret movement, and so much more. But the Barge tunnels were just amazing to view and to see an actual barge still mostly intact.
Here we see the entrance of the Japanese Barge Tunnel
was provided by Major,
A close-up view of the Barge in the tunnel
This tour concludes with a visit to the “
& below: Three views from the
Note: There will be further images on Page 5 from
An unknown Australian Soldier from World War Two
There is so much more to the tour as it will cover the history of this region and its culture.
The second tour is the “Rabaul
Volcanic Tour” and the name says it all! Visit the Volcanological Observatory on Tovanumbatir,
which monitors 14 active and 23 dormant Volcanoes. From these heights, expect
amazing sights over the stunning
Villagers of Tolai in traditional dress - the headwear is a symbol of protection from volcanic fire from falling from above
Photographer is unknown - see photo notes at bottom of page
But then it is to that famed and violent
It is worthwhile to do the “War and Colonial tour,” or better still combine the two tours, which is an option available. By doing both tours, you will see everything that is worthwhile in this fascinating historic and volcanic region!
A photo taken by me from the balcony of the harbour side with a small cargo ship and an interesting looking rock
Sunday February 19. Even as we arrived, we could see that this was going to be a very different destination to any we have visited so far on the cruise. What makes this destination so very different from all others is that this rather remarkable island, somehow has escaped the rest of the world, for it is one of the worlds most intact Island cultures, as its natives resides on one of the most beautiful, untouched and natural Islands you will ever find! And what really touched me is that we on board the Pacific Aria are among the very few who are fortunate enough to experience this wondrous place today, but also its neighbouring Island Kitava tomorrow!
Early in the morning the tenders were being lowered and first supplies, such as ships water was taken to the jetty as well as large shade umbrellas, etc. Then passengers could head ashore, according to their tender ticket number.
& below: tenders seen lowered and made ready
for Guests to be transferred, and a view of the
The welcome arch at the end of the jetty as passengers step on land
From the ship it looked like paradise, and Eng
headed ashore for an extensive walk around the most accessible part of the
Women villagers and some children sit in their gathering place, like our lounge back home!
A villager has two of her pet birds with her and amazingly, they are happy to just stay!
From what Eng could see, the lives of the people remained much of an ancient lifestyle, living in homes with walls made from woven flax or long leaves, and the roof was covered with palm leaves, or with other simple materials.
Two native children swimming amongst the rocks
& below: Two fine photographs of the Pacific
Aria seen just off
Interestingly, on the beach, there were shallow caves, but there were some that seem to have a large hand made/cut beam across the top and a round column in the middle supporting it, whilst others seem just hewn into the rock wall. The consensus seems to be that these caves may have been used as burial caves in ancient times.
Above & below: Note the oblong cave with a support pillar in the center was it part of an ancient burial system?
The people have their own language, called
“Kilivila” as well as various dialects.
The people are very polite and extremely friendly and delighted to see new
visitors from far a field. The
Above & below: A small group of children in one of the villages as well as two mothers
The people of
Taken on November 20, 1917
Once Eng returned to the ship, he had many
stories to tell of the sheer beauty of the
Above & below: a wonderful scene as passengers go for an outrigger canoe ride and the caves located along the beach
All passengers I spoke with thoroughly enjoyed
their visit to
20. Pacific Aria around 8 am of
early arrival at
& below: Another view of the
is heading for the exotic
This delightful Island is still located in
This is not all what is awaiting the guests on the Pacific Aria, beside magnificent beaches, pure waters, but also the most wonderful people
For the arrival of the Pacific Aria, local communities had a number of performances by children from the local school as well as a group of ladies and some other villagers.
Above & below: both children entertained guests with their songs, as did their parents with their local songs
Not far from the Jetty is the native
Above & below: Here we see two very different styles of huts, from the most basic to the more protective style
However, there is a well-built school and
surrounding teacher’s quarters, which are 1980s in style, and are the
only signs of more recent times. And again, just like our
& below: Here we see the
A Note of Interest: Scientists have stated that the diet of
February 21. We have sadly come to our final
destination, whilst on our wonderful P&O Cruises MV Pacific Aria
“Papua New Guinea Experience!” Once again we arrived at 8 am at
map of all the
As the Pacific Aria headed towards the
Looking towards Panasesa with deep blue seas as well as that lighter coloured streak in between
Although the island itself technically has no
resident population, but the Island does have a small PNG staff based on the
Island, both male and female and they are there to assist guests, as well as to
man several of the Island services based on the
As guests arrive at the
Above & below: The Welcome & Information centre at the Jetty, and the large Map located next to the Centre
Love walking? There are a good number of
well-marked walking tracks, circling the entire island, across the
& below: One of the well-maintained pathways
and one of the Turtle Hatchery’s on the
In due course you may get a little hungry and
suddenly you may smell the waft of a BBQ nearby, for that will be
Then there is the Coconut Bar as well as the
Souvenir Shop, and nearby is one of the two well-built and spotless toilet
blocks on the
Above & below: The Coconut Bar and the male & female toilets
Also close by, is the grass landing strip as aircraft do land here, today helicopter flights around this and another island were available for A$135, being the same fare than a shorter flight that at Sea World on the Gold Coast.
Above & below: Yes, it is the ‘Terminal’ as flights do arrive here from the PNG mainland as guests do stay here in the Luxury Resorts cabins
On the airstrip we se the Helicopter with its Pilot and our beautiful cruise ship, the Pacific Aria!
When it comes to the resort on this Island, it
is very exclusive, and guests book all inclusive packages in just a small
number of beautifully decorated Chalets, all located right on the beach.
Although, when the ship is in port there were no guests on the
Here we see two of the Chalets
Above & below: The Resort Chalets are located on beaches and pristine waters just like this
photographs taken by &
Historically speaking; these
Passengers returning from their day
ashore were nothing short from excited with the Island and found it picture
perfect, although there were just a few who felt it was a little too
commercialised, but after having been in such cultural and ancient style
villages, it is a shock to suddenly see something that resembles civilisation,
but those who were not happy were sadly a certain group of people who had not
even paid their cruise fares, as they were part of some Casino Club and it
seemed that they hated everything outside the casino!
Passengers returning from their day ashore were nothing short from excited with the Island and found it picture perfect, although there were just a few who felt it was a little too commercialised, but after having been in such cultural and ancient style villages, it is a shock to suddenly see something that resembles civilisation, but those who were not happy were sadly a certain group of people who had not even paid their cruise fares, as they were part of some Casino Club and it seemed that they hated everything outside the casino!
For the majority of passengers, it was
wonderful farewell to
is my very last photograph as we were heading homeward to
What amazed us all, there was never a single
man, woman or child who ever asked us for money, nor would they even accept any
if you wished to give any. As you will have seen on these two special pages,
and the “PNG Photo Album,” the colour of
Eng and other passengers have countless memories, including meeting this native from the Alotua coastal region
There is no doubt that at the Village Festival you will discover the real PNG! Remember that P&O has exclusive arrangements, for these festivals and dances cannot be seen anywhere else, as it is only available to P&O guests on the said excursion, as the entire area is private land and it is gated. In addition the dancers and all performers are not professionals, who do this at hotels, they are genuine villagers who are either locals, or come from far a field, be it from the various Islands, Coastline regions, as well as the Central Highlands, etc.
We had arrived at Wewak, and besides stunning views and unbelievable colour of the water,
some three boys paddled towards our ship on their tiny canoe after we had dropped anchor
I will conclude by saying that our cruise on the Pacific Aria was a complete success, the best of service, we dined on the very best of food, be it in the Waterfront Restaurant or at the amazing Angelo’s Italian Restaurant, as well as the more casual, yet wonderful The Pantry, and all was included in your fare.
I trust you have enjoyed this two part;
“Papua New Guinea Experience,” however, there is still one
further page, being “The PNG Photo Experience” located on Page
I trust you have enjoyed this two part; “Papua New Guinea Experience,” however, there is still one further page, being “The PNG Photo Experience” located on Page Five.
I highly recommend that you book and cruise a
Maritime Historian, Author & Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer.
Commenced in the Passenger Shipping Industry in 1960.
The Pacific Aria seen berthed at Rabaul, PNG
MV Pacific Aria Cruise Reviews Index - 2017:
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