My Travels Around the World

Tag: Sepik

Papua New Guinea Part 6, Mt. Hagen – October 2014

October 7, 2014

Last morning on the Sepik

We had to wake up early today, have a quick breakfast and get back in our canoe at 6:00am, bags packed, in order to make the 1.5 hour trip up the river back to Timbunke to catch our next flight. We watched the sun rise over the river as we glided along. There were very few other canoes out and the ones we did see where busy cleaning the fish they had already caught.  The trees reflected in the water, looking like a cityscape and teeming with life the way a city would be, but with birds rather than people. The Egrets were out in full force, flying about and landing, feet first onto trees. They fly along, legs out straight behind them, and all of a sudden they bring their legs into a standing position and just land on a branch.  I watched lots of them in the last 2 days and they always reminded me of an airplane letting down its wheels.

We were all very quiet, just watching the scenery and trying to memorize that feeling of the wind in our faces so we could always remember it.

Papua New Guinea Part 5, Sepik – October 2014

October 16, 2014

Floating on the Sepik

(or the white man came and it was a mixed blessing.)

The morning started with a beautiful sunrise and breakfast on the ship. We got back into our lawn chairs on the canoe and headed down the river. This time, in addition to umbrellas, they gave us straw fans to help keep cool. Today’s plan was to visit two villages along the Chambri Lakes and Blackwater Lakes area. These are a series of swamps and canals that are filled by the flooding of the Sepik River. The villages along these shores see few tourists and were once headhunters, but no more.

We were again treated to the site of the egrets flying and landing, men and women fishing from their canoes, or cleaning their fish on their canoes, and all sorts of other birds such as kites, gliding overhead. The water again was so still and the sun was low on the horizon, just beginning to rise, and the clouds and sugarcane reflected in the water just like a mirror. And there were birds everywhere The Chambri Lakes are a fantastic wildlife reserve (a real birders paradise). Although we were gliding quietly, it still disturbed the birds and each time as we passed, the birds would soar into the sky. The birds were in all shapes and sizes, black, brown, royal blue and red, with many white long-necked herons (egrets), cormorants, terns, and other brightly colored tiny birds. We passed one tree that was covered in white – like cotton balls. Those were the terns and as we glided by they all scattered into the sky covering the sky with the fluttering white wings.

Papua New Guinea Part 4, The Karawari and the Sepik – October 2014

October 15, 2014

Leaving Ambua for the Sepik

We spent the morning hanging out at the Ambua waiting for information about our flight. The sunrise was again spectacular, with a fog bank that looked like snow.  

I stepped outside of the main lodge and Thomas immediately pointed out a Prince of Princess Stephanie’s astrapia bird of paradise. So now I’ve seen two! Princess Stephanie’s astrapia (Astrapia stephaniae), also known as Stephanie’s astrapia, was named in for Princess Stephanie of Belgium, wife of Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria-Hungary. When seen close up, which of course we did not, you would see an iridescent blue-green and purple head, silky plumage below and two very long, broad purplish-black central tail feathers.

We were supposed to leave on a small chartered plane from a small runway at the Ambua,but instead the plane was going to meet us in Tari. So after breakfast we got back on the bus and headed down the mountain back to the Tari airport. Although at first were disappointed, it turned out to be a great ride and we got to see and take pictures of some things we had not seen along the road before, like the “gas station,” some more “recycling,” a “car wash,” a woman walking her pig, some more men on the street with their headpieces (just to prove that they don’t just dress for the few tourists that are visiting). 

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