We got through in time and as our flight was delayed for an hour we even had some time to relax. There basically is no boarding time or gate number. They just shout when your flight is ready and you walk to the plane and off you go. The flight to Tufi was quite impressive especially the view of the Fjords around the Tufi area. The airstrip is next to the resort and after being greeted by the staff we could check in in our deluxe bungalow with views over the fjord. This was our base for a week. A beautiful dive resort surrounded by tropical fjords. These fjords are made by three vulcanos. They’re like fingers sticking out into the sea.
Reefs are at the base of these fjords and villages are scattered on top of the fjords. Small beaches lined with coconut palms at the end of the fjords and people in their canoes going fishing, to the market or school. Our week was a mix of culture, visiting villages, diving, snorkeling, canoeing, relaxing and enjoying the seafood served here at the resort. On two mornings we went on a cultural tour.
We were shown how other tribes were met in the fjords if they had hostile intensions. In another village people were dressed up for a sing sing, a typical dance and singing they do for special occasions and ceremonies. The head dresses here were amazing. All kinds of feathers, mostly from Birds of Paradise, were used to make them. Around their necks beautiful necklaces made of shells and the clothes are from a bark of a tree. The faces painted or tatooed (women) and playing on drums while they were dancing and singing.
These headdresses are not just made for the occasion they are heirlooms and pass on from father to son. Every tribe and clan has its own type of headdress and there are strict rules how many feathers a certain clan in a tribe can use. We also visited a village where they showed us how they make Sago, a staple food they eat here. The tree is not only used for making Sago but for all kinds of other things.
We also went to stay at these villages for a couple of nights. The first village we stayed in was on top of the fjords. A couple of hundred people live here. They belong to one tribe but several clans live in one village. Everything here is owned by a clan member. Every tree belongs to someone, even the waterfalls are privately owned. That’s where trouble usually starts as the rights and ownership are often a dispute and clan fights are still comon here. As they don’t have electricity nor running water here you can imagine that the guesthouse was quite simple but nicely made and we’ve used pit toilets and a bucket of water as a shower before.
The people are really friendly here and they make yu feel very welcome. In the forest around here the Ragianna bird of paradise can be seen. So we went for an early morning walk with our guide but unfortunately the birds stayed in the forest and didn’t want to come out. So we will have to wait till we get to Kiunga.
Our second night we stayed at a family guesthouse in Garewa which is right on the beach. We had two beaches with coconut trees to ourselves, a reef in front for snorkeling and the family just made this place into a little paradise. Nothing to worrie about but the only thing to do is relax, snorkel a bit watch the canoes go by and enjoy the full moonrise in the evening. Altough there were quite a few people at the resort we were the only ones staying at these villages which I think is a shame because you really get to see the life of PNG.
But it is a dive resort so people dive, dive, and dive. And you can’t blame them because the diving here is great. Lots of reefs and the corals and fish are abundant here. I saw my first sharks! Only small reef sharks but still. Many colorful nudibranches and big schools of fish. My favorite here was the clown triggerfish that I saw on every dive. All in all our stay here in Tufi Dive Resort was superb. It is a well run resort that I can reccomend to everyone. They do a great job in having the local communities involved and they take real good care of you and it’s not as expensive as some of the other resorts in PNG.
That’s it for now we’re getting ready to head off to Port Moresby and then to our next adventure in Kiunga
A new country and new experiences. We flew from Darwin via Cairns and Port Moresby to Tufi with 3 different airlines. Getting to Cairns was no problem but there we weren't allowed on the plane unless we had a return ticket out of PNG. As we didn’t have that we had to buy one. We’re not going to use but at least it is refundable. So off to Port Moresby where they didn’t ask for our return ticket. Our tickets to Tufi and for other domestic flights were supposed to be at the airline office. It took some time but eventually they found them and we couyld check in for our flight. It was very busy at the domestic terminal with people pushing to get through security.