A few months ago, Erin began organizing a trip to Madang. She had some holiday time she needed to use, and was looking for some folks to share the adventure. Linda (a volunteer working with college of nursing), Pamela, and I all gladly agreed to join her for a girls extra-long, extra special weekend out.
We left Kujip on Friday morning at the crack of dawn and headed to the airport. Forget the 10 bumpy hours of pothole-dotted highway. A 50 minute MAF flight will lift you over the mountains and down to the coast, minus the crick in your neck! We checked in at 7AM and were put on hold. One of the planes was out of service. We might be leaving at noon, or we might not go at all. Linda said a word of prayer... 10 minutes later the desk announced that we would be the first flight of the day. WAHOO!!! Vacation here we come! We boarded the 7 seater plane, quite possibly the smallest plane I had ever flown on. We were the only passengers other than our pilot. Window seats for everyone! And what spectacular views as we flew over the Jimi, past Mt. Wilhelm, and down into the Ramu valley. I am convinced that PNG is the most beautiful place on earth.
As we touched down in Madang, we were welcomed by the warm and humid air of the tropics. The van for Jais Aben resort picked us up soon after our arrival. We made a brief stop in town to buy some groceries and cooled off with a scoop of ice cream before driving out to the resort. We checked into our two rooms which overlooked the jade colored water. It wasn't long until we were in our suits and trying out the snorkel gear.
Over the next four days, we relaxed to the max: sleeping in, mindless reading, snorkeling, eating at the restaurant, snorkeling again, nap time, played games. Oh yeah, and more rest and even more snorkeling. Seriously, this is the life! One morning we rented a couple of kayaks and paddled to explore the opposite coastline.
My favorite outing was a boat trip to Tabb a.k.a. Pig Island. There was a beautiful deserted beach on one side of the island. We enjoyed swimming in the warm water and walking along the untouched sand. Just around the corner was the most incredible surprise--the Tabb Island reef. From Belize to the Great Barrier Reef, it was the best place that I have ever snorkeled. The coral and fish are a rainbow of colors. It is another kind of a world under there, one you have to experience to believe. So come on over to PNG!
After five days and four nights in Madang, it was time to head back to the real world. But I am heading back well rested! Mission malolo: accomplished.
"How many are your works, Lord!
There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number--
living things both large and small."
~ Psalm 104:24a-25