Sunday, August 17, 2008

Romance on Tasman Island Paradise

Tasman Island in the Autonomous region of Bougainville truly resembles a romantic tropical south sea island that can be found throughout the Polynesian region of the South Pacific.
It has 32 small island covered with evergreen vegetation and pandanous trees.

Visitors walking towards the shore on Tasman Island after disembarking on dinghies from MV Sun Kamap that anchored about 100 meters offshore.

Only one of this island is been inhabited by over 2000 people of Polynesian origin and the other a wild life sanctuary . The rest are for gardening and for obtaining materials for medical herbs or to built house and canoe.

Margaret Saba preparing fish for dinner on the white sandy beach on Tasman Island.

Surrounding coral reef prevents the on rushing powerful waves of the deep blue ocean from rushing in to create a peaceful lagoon and that’s where ships anchors out at about 100 meters away while passengers disembark on dinghies to go ashore.

Children standing in the main street in between neat rows of houses in their village on Tasman Island.


At the edge of the lagoon stretches the long white sandy beaches with rows of coconut trees alongside it.
Over 200 neat rows of pandanous leaves thatched roof and coconut leaves woven wall houses built on mangrove timber frame are built on the ground with the floor made up of a paste of fire ashes and water. The floor becomes like a concrete after it is been dried up.
A Mortlock Island girl Eroi on board MV Sun Kamap bound for Tasman Island with coconut husk ropes and colourfull mats to trade for Solomon Island brand house hold items .

Tasman is just about 60 nautical kms away (one hour trip by dinghy )from Pelau Island in the Ontong Java province of the Solomon Island and 90,000 nautical kms east (two nights on MV Sun Kamap to Buka) from Bougainville and the people are Polynesians.
I had a rare opportunity to visit the island in May 2005 when I sailed into this chain of islands on MV San Kamap with 18 polling and four Police Officials to conduct elections for its 2000 inhabitants for the Bougainville Autonomous election.



Tasman Islanders boarding dinghies on MV Sun Kamap to go ashore to Tasman island


This island was also the last leg of our trip after a week of conducting polling on other similar tropical islands of Feat (Nuguria), Caterets (Tulun), and Mortlock (Nugutoa) that constructed the Atolls district.
It was a relieve to sleep , eat and mingle with the people for a night on the Island after spending every night with the same people and eating the same food on the ship when visiting the other islands.


Tasman children on board MV Sun Kamap approaching the Tasman Island.

I was also privileged to be invited to the Tepure's family house to eat rice boiled with coconut jam with a coconut creamed boiled freshly caught skip jack tuna for breakfast to be washed down with sweet hot black coffee the next day . I also had kanokano. A type of cake made from swamp taro which was mashed up and boiled with coconut cream. This is also their staple food apart from coconuts and various marine lives that are abundantly found in the reef.
Poti Kibau on the coconut tree to checking out the home brew to be fermented into jam on Tasman Island.

Although Papua New Guineans they received much of their goods and services from the Solomon Island Government as it takes about two hours by a speed boat to reach Pelau then two nights on MV San Kamap to reach Buka town.
They then travel on a ship that weekly serve the island to Honiara. Their only source of income is from the selling of Beche-De-Mer, copra and trochus shell. But the main income is from Beche-De-Mer which now fetches K100 per kilo.

Peni Sele’s family on Mortlock Island who invited the Reporter for lunch in their house during a brief stop on Mortock while on the way to Tasman Island.

Tasman Islanders working throughout PNG in various professions also send money back home.
With money fetched from these products and people they then travel to Pelau to buy rice, sugar, flour, clothing and other house hold items branded with Solomon island name.

Mortlock islanders given the rare opportunity also travel on MV San Kamap to Tasman to obtain this Solomon house hold items product and Tasman made coconut jam by trading colourfull pandanous mat and coconut husk rope with Tasman Islanders.
With money fetched from these products ,they quickly travel to Pelau to buy goods and return to board MV Sun Kamap for about an eight hours trip back to Mortlock .

Kiribati island visitors (l-r) Kapou Ukiripi and Kotinato Roata with their host Miriam Apera smoking fish on Tasman island.

Tasman true to their Polynesian origin are hospitable and will welcome any tourists to their island to share their rich traditional culture and daily island way of live that has not been influenced by outsiders for years due to its isolation.
For more information for trips to the Tasman, Mortlocks, Catrest and, Feat islands, please access http://bougainville.silvertech.co.nz/ .




























1 comment:

garamut said...

Clifford,

Thanks for these posts. Keep them coming! Blogging is an easy way to tell the world a little bit about PNG and what we have to offer.

I enjoyed your posts about North Mekeo and the atolls of Bougainville. Your posts give me a little insight into places I would never have the opportunity to visit - that is why blogging is so valuable.

Keep the good work!

Tavurvur