Tuesday 25 October 2022

From On Board: Heritage Expeditions in Melanesia - Madang departure

#expeditioncruising .

Even as our vintage Air Niugini Fokker 100 came in on approach to Madang, the pangs of reminiscence began. It's been more than ten years since I visited this important northern port town, the capital of its own province. 

Our luggage hauled from the bowels of the aircraft, it wasn't long before we were bundled onto our fleet of Toyota buses and mingling with morning traffic on the deeply cratered roads around town, the traffic weaving drunkenly around the deep indentations in the tarmac.

Apart from flying visits to the market and Coastwatchers' Memorial, we swung by Bilbil village, just out of town to see their well-rehearsed cultural show and remarkable clay pottery, fired over open kilns. Looking at some of the young ones scampering around the village, most were not even born on my last visit in 2006 when we were escorted by my dear late friend, Dr Nancy Sullivan.

Those same pangs of reminiscence returned when I saw my ship for the next three week, Heritage Adventurer. I last was aboard when she sailed as HANSEATIC for the famous German line, Hapag-Lloyd. Also aboard much to my delight was cruising companions Karen Bass and Neil Nightingale who I hadn't seen since 2016 in the High Arctic.

We pulled out of port just as the sun was setting, heading west toward the fabled Sepik River.

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