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.

Lyn.

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