Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Kabaira Wantoks Newsletter 2

10th April 2007
by Lyn Woolcott

Easter at Kabaira got off to a good start. We were taking our guests to Ramandu in the banana boat for a birdwatching trek. Crossing Ataliklikun Bay there was a lot of debris - most probably dislodged beach logs from the recent tsunami. As we slowed down to get through them we noticed a pod of Pilot Whales not too far off. Stephen slowly cruised over to them. They were extremely accommodating and just swam casually next to the boat. We turned off the engine and it is just soooo great in the middle of the ocean with not another sound just listening to them breaking the water and spouting.

That was 8.30am so how could we top that. We finally dragged ouselves away from the whales and continued our trip to Ramandu Beach and set out on foot for Kilinwata Pool. To our guests it was interesting to see the cocoa trees and find out that this is where their favourite chocolate originates but we were out there looking for birds. Through the plantation we see the parrots flying overhead so we knew we were in the right place.

We veered off the road to the source of Kilinwata Creek. The mineral water just bubbles out of a mountain in the middle of the plantation. In other parts of the province we have the deepest limestone caves in the Southern hemispheres but the limestone on the plantation is only a small cluster so most probably doesn't lend itself to caves. We stopped primarily to see the water but with in a couple of minutes we heard a shining flycatcher in the trees above the water and of course there was a pair there. Overhead we saw a Kalanga (local name for the Electus parrot) in the coconut trees.

Just another 10 minutes walk further we arrived at the main swimming hole. A wonderful spot in Paradise where you can just chill out and have a swim in the crystal cooool water. We heard lots of bird calls and wandered up the the plantation plant nursery in search of more birds. John definitely wanted to climb the moutain in search of pidgeons and more but we had to get back to the boat to get back to Kabaira before the sea became too uncomfortable. Definitely another trek for another weekend.

On Monday we were planning on doing a cave trek as we had been told about the Japanese caves from World War 2 in the surrounding bush at Kabaira. Off we went, as I am not really into trekking I was pleasantly surpised at the ease of the walk. Then we reached the ridge............. Yes, we are going up there - our guides assured me that there was a cave there - well why not. We only had to go about 50 meters up........ to find a small hole in the mountain side.

The Japanese had a camp at Kabaira in World War 2. Our guides tell us that this is where the radio station was. All we can see now is an overgrown hole in the side of the mountain. We venture into the darkness with a couple of torches. This of course disturbs the colony of small cave bats which flutter to get out of the light. The cave takes a couple of turns - it is a pretty sterile environment apart from the bat colony. Off to the sides there are a couple of cubby holes which I assume the original inhabitants would have used as their sleeping quarters or maybe where they set up the radio.

After about 5 minutes we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Not sure what to expect, we are amazed to come out at a vantage point which takes in the whole of Ataliklikun Bay. The Japanese obviously could keep watch for any shipping coming up the north coast. Our guides tell us that the caves were dug by Indian prisoners of war who were stationed at Vuna Irima.

Now we have to go down. Our guides cut a path down the ridge - only about 2 feet wide in places but they are so sure footed that and make it look easy. We arrive back at Kabaira at 10 am. We had only been trekking for 2 hours but what an experience. It was now time to cool off in the salt water with a bit of snorkelling. Jodie reminded us that lunch was ready. We were joined by Stephen's diver from the Rabaul Hotel who had just been for a dive at Hannah's Hot Spot and Harrys Nob where he saw hammer head sharks but that is another story.

A great way to end a great weekend back at the Puk Puk Bar as always planning our next adventure.

Stay tuned.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Its been awhile...

Hi all, Hannah here. Yep real life got in the way of blogging for a bit there but starting right now I am making amends. I will endeavour to keep all the news on Kabaira Dive as current as possible from now on.
First up: I have a few catch up posts to make, covering some of the other activities that can be had when people come to stay at Kabaira Dive.


31st March 2007
by Lyn Woolcott

The big news of the day is that Air Niugini has finally agreed to bring direct flights from Cairns to Rabaul. This is a great initiative. At present they have agreed to put 2 flights per month until November. Here on the ground we are all excited about this. If anyone is thinking of coming to visit it would be worthwhile checking with Air Niugini to see if these flights suits you. The more we can support the flights the better chance we have of the flights continuing. Don't forget to let your friends know.

Kabaira is now serving lunches on Sunday and we have had some interesting visitors last month. Glenn & Jenny Fisher from Caboolture came back to revisit Rabaul and stayed at Rabaul Hotel (formally Hamamas Hotel). Anne McCosker whose father Stan McCosker was in Rabaul when the Japanese landed and returned after the war has also come back for a visit. She has written a book "Masked Eden" which is a valuable record of this part of our history. Her web site is Well worth looking up.

Our divers of late have included some of the research scientists who have been working on the undersea mining program. They have identified that there is gold at the bottom of St George's Channel and it looks very possible that mining could be as early as 2008.

In February, Stephen also took diving the crew on the Australian Navy vessel which was doing surveying in the area. They were also tasked with the job of locating the AE1 - this was the first Australian Naval Submarine lost in World War 1 with all hands on deck. It has remained a mystery ever since as it virtually disappeared on a clear afternoon after patrolling with another Australian Naval Vessel. With their modern technology they are quietly confident that they have located it close to the Duke of York Islands.

The recent tsunami did reach Rabaul but reacted as most of the tsunami's have in recent times. The water level came up to the harbours board wharf and breached Wharf Road in front of Pacific Industries. We are fortunate that this appears to be the extent of most of the tsunami's for Rabaul in this area. The obvious movements of the plates has had an effect on Tavuvur and we have had a couple of days of fairly loud eruptions. As the wind has now moved to the North West, Rabaul is experiencing some light ash.

The best news is that we can escape to Kabaira on the weekend and enjoy a quite day in the PukPuk Bar..