Monday 26 January, 2004
Arrival in Port Moresby and meeting the R/V Melville
We flew from San Diego to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Sydney, Sydney to Cairns (Australia), and Cairns to Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea), and although it was a lot of traveling, about 24 hours of flying, we felt pretty good. On our last flight, we meet the very friendly Harry family who were returning home after a stay in Cairns. We spoke with Oala, the father, at length about their recent travels to Australia and his work at a mine in the mountains above Port Moresby. Also, we discussed our upcoming adventure aboard the R/V Melville. Harry, his wife, Julie, and their children made J.P., my husband, and I feel very welcome to Papua New Guinea. After arriving in Port Moresby, we made our way to the Islander Holiday Inn in Waigani, a part of Port Moresby. We only had 2 days and nights in the city, the capital of Papua New Guinea (PNG). The first day we opted to rest by the pool and enjoy a few ice-cold beverages. On day two, we had to return to the airport to get our luggage which had missed a connection, but we found some time to visit PNG Arts, an incredible store housing a great diversity of arts and crafts produced throughout the country. Michael, a store employee from the Gulf Province, informed us of things produced in that area. We will be just offshore of that province during the cruise, so we thought it would be most appropriate to buy a few items one of which is a spirit board. In the central province this is hung in the doorway, when the wind blows, the spirit board turns the side that is painted as a face and looks the direction they should go to hunt. While Michael packaged the items for safe travels, we talked with Ken Delaney, a close friend of the storeowner who helps manage the business. Originally from British Columbia, he has been in PNG for 33 years and was curious to hear about our work. Later that afternoon, we purchased some paintings from several artists who sell their works on the street next to the hotel. We enjoyed a delicious lunch and dinner at the hotel with Andrea Ogston, a scientist and friend from the University of Washington also meeting the ship.
The next morning, we left the hotel in Port Moresby at 0700 to meet R/V Melville at anchor in the harbor. Steven, a nice hotel driver, kindly drove Andrea, J.P., and me to the wharf. Andrea had been on Leg 1 of Cruise II to deploy instruments that remain on the sea floor for six weeks to collect sediment transport information. After spending two weeks traveling in Australia on holiday she was returning for Leg 3 of Cruise II to take more water samples and retrieve her instruments.
Leaving the hotel we saw the artists unrolling their oil-on-canvas works to display on the street, and there were many people about as we passed a busy market. It was apparent that people rise with the sun to make the most of the morning sunlight and cooler hours of the day.
Arrival of the R/V Melville
It took 10 minutes at most to reach the ship. We had a great view of the Melville as we approached and we saw a greeting party waiting for us on deck. We crossed from the tugboat to the ship by stepping on a large tire attached to the tugboat that acts as a bumper between the two ships, and then onto the deck. Once we were all onboard, we were led up to the library with the customs official and the captain to have them check our passports and sign in.
We then were shown to our rooms and given a tour of the ship from bottom to top by Chuck Nittrouer, a faculty member at the University of Washington, Chief Scientist for Leg III of Cruise to and lead coordinator for the Papua New Guinea Source to Sink research effort.
Following the safety talk, we were free for the rest of the day. The Melville left port at 1400 hours and would arrive at the first station for collecting data around 0600 the following morning. We got settled in our rooms, and the lead researchers met to determine who would be on watch and the plan for the cruise.
Every night dinner is from 1700-1800 hours, and on this night, Chuck Nittrouer and his wife Debbie bought beers for all. On the Melville, if you are 21 or over, you are allowed one beer with dinner. The normal cost is a beer token. These cost $1 and are sold by the 2nd mate, Anthony Quiniola. Money made from beer sales goes to the crew and is spent as they like. DVDs and parties are two examples of how this money is spent. On this evening we also had the treat of sashimi...fresh yellow fin tuna caught by one of the research technicians, Natalie Monacci from University of South Carolina.
Following dinner, several people gathered on the fantail to sit, talk, and watch the sunset, a great way to end our first day aboard the R/V Melville.