Goofing Off in Papua

May 7th, 2012

I should enjoy these lazy days while I have them.

Haven’t been doing much around here… pretty slow this past week.  Just hanging around little ol’ Sentani, Papua.

Road Work

Helped missionaries some on road work in front of the mission.  Got bit up by bugs, but so far haven’t contracted the Dengue fever, which they say is common enough here.

Website

My good friend Pat put together Bible Study materials for the Gospel of Mark and wanted to make it available online.  So I got that all setup which took some time. 

It’s free, you can check it out here: http://markbiblestudies.com

Jungle Hiking

One afternoon I hiked around in the jungle behind our house up to a waterfall with a couple other New Tribe guys and their sons.  That trek was pretty sweet. 

Here are my hiking companions:

Hiking Buddies

Whilst hiking, I was remarking how similar the air smelled to the rainforest section at the Sedgwick County Zoo.  Course this was the real thing.  The terrain also reminded me of Red River Gorge in Ken-tunn-kee.

Hiking in Jungle

There were, in fact, many waterfalls and waterslides. 

Falls

Waterfall

Since it was hot as blue blazes and muggy as slime, swimming through the torrents was half the fun.  The trick was not getting swept away.

Swimming

Motorcycle Riding

Took a scenic ride with Rich on the back of his moto out to a nearby lake.  We hiked up this hill and got the following stupendous view.  Also got sunburned.

Lake by Sentani

Bush Flight out to the Jungle

Since I didn’t have much else to do, and since there was extra room, I took a flight into a tribal mission station (Nagi) with a family who was returning. 

Here is the plane we took in, a 6 seater Pilatus PC-6:

Getting Ready to Takeoff

Pilatus

The flight in was pretty spectacular.  About an hour and a half over dense forest and jungle.  Don’t worry environmentalists, there are still plenty of trees left.

Toward the end of the flight we crossed a mountain range (skimmed over is more like it) and landed on the far side in the middle of no-where-ville. 

The flight reminded me of the Imax show where you fly through the Grand Canyon.  Except it wasn’t an Imax, and it wasn’t the Grand Canyon. 

On the trip down we had the plane full with the family and lots of luggage and I sat in the back, but it was still comfortable and a great view.  Melissa, one of the returning missionaries, gave me a guided tour (transmitted in yell-format over the roar of the engine). 

Then on the way back to Sentani I sat up front with the pilot and tried having a conversation with him through the silly microphone.  You had to practically put that thing in your mouth to get it to work. 

After eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich “around” the mic, I felt sorry for the unfortunate person who had to use it after me.

Papua Forest from the Air

Flying over Star Mountain Range Papua

I learned (afterwards) the village we flew into had one of the most dangerous landing strips in Papua.  Reason being it is so short (about 1000’ feet) and always slick and muddy.  We splashed mud up onto the bottom of the wings in the process of landing.

Guess I should add they’ve been taking flights in and out regularly for several years without incident, so I guess it’s “safe” after a fashion.  I have a lot of respect for the pilots skill.

Landing

When taking back off, I started wondering if we were going to make it… but just before plowing into trees at the end, we pulled up and flew out!  Oh, what larks.

Nearing Sentani, I took the following picture of the lake I motorcycled to last week:

Near Sentani from the Air

So that’s the update here.

In short: I’m meeting many great people, having some interesting adventures, and eating more noodles than I can count.

2 Responses to “Goofing Off in Papua”

  1. Amanda Says:

    Wow, sounds like an exciting week!!
    Motorcycling, hiking, water-sliding… I’m just a wee bit jealous. And such beautiful landscape!!
    Your village flight reminds me of an opportunity I had in Kenya: I got to “steward” a flight into a remote village, returning a family to their home and delivering supplies. :) It was a fun experience!!

  2. Danny R Says:

    Heather and I enjoyed the nice pictures and commentary. Come home soon.

Leave a Reply