This expedition focuses on one of the most diverse countries on Earth, with over 850 indigenous languages and at least as many traditional societies, out of a population of just under 6 million. It is also one of the most rural, with only 18% of its people living in cities. The country is also one of the worlds least explored, culturally and geographically, and many undiscovered species of plants and animals are thought to exist in the interior of Papua New Guinea.
We have scheduled this expedition so that we can experience four days of celebration in Tufi.
What makes this expedition even more special is your expedition leader, Michele Westmorland. There is no photographer more qualified to lead this expedition.
Join us on this memorable trip to the “Land of the Unexpected”. No other trip to Papua New Guinea is specifically designed for the photographer. We will have the opportunity to take the time necessary to get the stunning flora and fauna of the remote rainforest and to set up our shots for portraits of the diverse people of this undeveloped island nation. At the end of each day you can relax and enjoy the ambience of the area or join the leader and one of our hosts in a discussion of cultural traditions particular to the tribe or the flora and fauna of the forest. The leader will also be available to look at your downloaded digital photos and discuss techniques in capturing the magic of Papua New Guinea.
Your departure date from your home town may be as early as Friday, 15 October in that you may cross the International Date-Line where you “lose a day.” Not to worry, you get that day back when you return.
Sunday, 17 October 2010
We arrive in Port Moresby today, the capital of Papua New Guinea. We are met by our host and transferred to our hotel.
After an early breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Mt. Hagen. The Kumul Lodge is situated next to the Highlands Highway across the border of the Western Highlands Province into the Enga Province. The simple but comfortable tropical mountain lodge sits on a ridge at 8,869 foot elevation. This is one of the few places where birds of paradise can be viewed from the comfort of a balcony. Along with the magnificent species of birds, there are a multitude of fascinating insects to photograph such as the Hercules moth, the rhinoceros beetle and walking sticks. Delicate mountain orchids and lush flora make for a beautiful setting. Culturally, the people of the mountain territories live much different than their coastal counterparts. We will photograph village life including a traditional men’s house and women’s hut. Pierced septum are quite common amongst the men and hold a myriad of decorations from feathers to boar’s tusks. The women are known for carrying their vegetables and their babies in bright colored string bags called bilums.
Kumul Lodge (BLD)
Tuesday - Thursday, 19 – 21 October 2010
Here we have three more days to photograph birds of paradise, cultural activities, and hiking to find other exotic and rare birds.
Kumul Lodge (BLD)
Friday, 22 October 2010
MT. HAGEN - LAE
We depart Mt. Hagen around noon on our flight to Lae. We are met by our host and transferred to our hotel. This afternoon, we will have an expedition briefing to discuss “Dos and Taboos” as well as review our expedition goals and objectives.
International Hotel (BLD)
Saturday, 23 October 2010
The rainforest habitat in Lae is said to be one of the most impressive in the world. It is 3,000 square meters of rainforest under a canopy with a lake and raised walkways. We see semi-tame birds including the Raggiana Bird of Paradise, with its trailing orange plumes, green chin and yellow crown and nape, along with other native wildlife such as tree kangaroos, parrots, cuscus - a member of the possum family - and prehistoric birds known as cassowaries. The timing of the tour is also scheduled to include one of the best cultural shows in Papua New Guinea. The Morobe Cultural Show is a three day event featuring the agricultural and cultural practices of the area. Our participation will be for the last day where some 50 ethnic groups come for a massive sing-sing. We will be right there on site to photograph the many faces of Papua New Guinea, adorned with an array of swaying headdresses and intricate body paint.
International Hotel (BLD)
Sunday, 24 October 2010
LAE - Port Moresby
We have most of the day to photogragh the indiginous people and enjoy the sing-sing. Late this afternoon, we board our flight to Port Moresby where we spend the night. This allows us to fly to Tufi on an early flight the next morning.
We will depart very early this morning on a flight to Tufi. The Tufi area on the south east coast of Oro Province is one of Papua New Guinea’s best kept secrets. The fjord-like fingers of land jut out into the tropical turquoise waters of the Soloman Sea. A rise in a landform, often referred to as a drowned river valley. Rias are almost always estuaries. Rias form where sea levels rise relative to the land either as a result of eustatic sea level change, or isostatic sea level change. When this happens valleys which were previously at sea level become submerged. The landscape is as spectacular from the ground as it is from the air. The group will have the opportunity to cruise by small boat, kayak or traditional outrigger canoe into the emerald green fingers of fjords to photograph the mangrove habitat and local villagers paddling the waterways. Birds such as sulpher crested cockatoos and hornbills swoop from tree to tree. Brilliant coral reefs come surprisingly close to shore. The people of the Oro Province live in harmony with the Earth. Their gardens are lush and their villages are immaculate. We will photograph their daily lives then be treated to a very special opportunity to film them as they prepare their body decorations for a traditional sing-sing or dance. The women of the Oro Province practice facial tattooing; the designs are stunning and will make for incredible portraiture.
Our visit to this pristine wilderness area will start with a fifteen minute walk down to the end of our airstrip, at the water's edge we will be transferred over to the waiting outrigger canoes for a ten minute paddle over to the village of Korfure. This village is occupied by the sorcerer clan and embodies a lot of power in the local area. Here we will spend the day watching the men and women preparing them self’s for a traditional sing-sing that they will then perform for you. Lunch will be served at the village.
We depart our resort by boat and head south to Uramanoa Fjord, this trip will take about 20 minutes. Upon entering the ria we will see three spectacular waterfalls, one cascading down over 100 yards into a pristine rain forest and another falling straight into the ria waters. The last smaller waterfall spills over a ten yard drop, behind the sheet of water is a cave where a family will be seen preparing and cooking there morning meal. The local people will demonstrate a mock canoe attack, all in traditional dress and throwing spears our way. High up the main waterfall will be a warrior suspended by a vine; he acts as the look out and gives instructions to the paddlers of where the enemy is. With all the canoes and action going on around us you will be up close to get some great photos of the performance. We will then head back up the coast to the village of Bawame, this large village is situated about 350 feet above the fjord, there is a nice lookout where we will have lunch. We will then do a village tour guided by the village chief. You will be able to take photos of the village people, there houses and the children who will perform in traditional dress a welcome song and dance.
Again, we depart by boat and head south to Kofulu Bay, a fifteen minute trip. After entering the ria you can take in the beautiful scenery of the beaches meting the rainforest. We are then met by a flotilla of outrigger war canoes. On top of the canoe platforms will be warriors dressed in all their feather finery and blowing the welcome conch shell. We will then be transferred to the canoes and the local people will paddle us up into a fresh water stream that is covered by a rain forest canopy. After a twenty minute paddle we will disembark off the canoes. From here we will be given a tour of the rain forest by the young chief who will show us some plants that they use for medicine and building. We will then witness the sago-making ritual that will be performed by the young men and women of the tribe. We then head back to a small rain forest amphitheatre that has a waterfall and a natural rock pool. Here we will have lunch and if you like a cooling swim. After lunch at the same location we will witness a traditional demonstration of a young girl being tattooed.
This morning we depart by boat for a short trip to Komoa Beach; here we will get a colorful welcome by the young school children who will all be traditionally dressed. After singing the national anthem of Papau New Guinea, they will then perform the Kundu dance for us. From here we walk into the village where they will perform two pantomimes for us, one is about a witch doctor and the other about a jilted lover who ends up getting killed and has his house burnt down by his girlfriend’s lover. This is followed by demonstrations of the making of fire, canoes, string bags and weaving. Lunch will be served at the beach consisting of local seafood, fruit and vegetables.
We have most of the day to enjoy Tufi before we fly to Port Moresby as our photographic expedition is about to end. It is unlikely that you will be able to connect with your flight home today so we have included an overnight in Port Moresby tonight. Michele will have a surprise for us tonight as we bid our farewells.
Small Group Premium: 4 – 5 Photographers: $500 per person
Deposit to Reserve Your Participation: $1,250.00 per person
Expedition Price Includes:
• Accommodation as stipulated in the itinerary.
• Meals as indicated.
• Services of English-speaking guides.
• Entrance fees.
• Airport transfers.
• All scheduled flights within Papua New Guinea!
• Comprehensive pre-expedition preparation including photo tips from Michele.
Not included are international airfare and personal expenses such as personal insurance; excess baggage fees; phone calls; gratuities to lodge staff, drivers, and guides; airport departure taxes; passport and visa fees, and beverages, any additional hotel nights, which are not noted in itinerary. Please note that emergency evacuation insurance is required for all participants due to the remote areas visited on this safari.
Focus on Planet Earth understands that air travel contributes to increased green house gases and global warming. Therefore, we encourage our expedition participants to assist us in making each Focus on Planet Earth expedition carbon neutral. To offset the emissions from your flights go to Carbon Off-Set Calculator. Use POM for the airport code of your destination.
The following information will assist you in securing your air arrangements. Focus on Planet Earth does not arrange or book any scheduled air for any of our expeditions. However, you might want to contact Shannon Sullivan of Altour in Los Angeles at (818) 578-8638 or on e-mail at TravelAgentShannon@gmail.com. Shannon is familiar with all Focus on Planet Earth Expeditions and she can assist you with getting the best routing from your home town to Port Moresby and back home. If you chose to book your air independantly, the airport code for Port Moresby is POM. You need to arrive by Sunday, 17 October. You should book your departure for Thursday, 30 October 2010.