Thursday, 7 March 2013
Big fish, adventures in PNG
Julian has no Italian blood though he loves cooking and does some spectacular Italian dishes. Julian's passion is fish. Not catching and cooking so much as catching and releasing. He's a Marine Biologist and works across the nation monitoring and tracking the lives of the BIG fish of the open oceans. In fact "Fishes of the Open Ocean" is the title of his beautiful coffee table book.
He is New Guinea for three weeks cruising around the islands and dropping in on remote villages to meet villagers who have contacted him over recent years having caught some of his tagged specimens and written to his address on the Sunshine Coast giving him dates and times for his research data. What a great job!
Julian will be taking heaps of photos and keeping a detailed journal with the intention of turning this trip into a book.
I'm reading Michael Moran's "Beyond the Coral Sea" at the moment and its fabulous. He spent three months in the early 2000s moving around the islands of PNG researching the early colonial history and turning his journey into a fascinating book. It's only a little over 100 years since the German empire was making its presence felt and only in the 20th Century did the British and Australians take a strong and active interest in this country which contains something like a third of the planets languages and immensely rich bio-diversity.
When Lorenzo and his 250 peasant comrades were dumped in New Ireland they would have encountered locals who had had no contact with white culture. They, the locals, were quite happy to eat them in fact. And this, it's presumed, was the fate of those who left the settlement to make contact with missionaries who, they believed, were based on the eastern coast of the island. It was a forbidding landscape and remains so.The only remnants of the 1881 settlement are likely to be crosses marking burial sites and these have, more than likely, become driftwood.
Actually standing on that beach feels like a powerful way to connect with my ancestors - it has already captured me though I am as yet over 1500 kms distant.