We were taken to Lae airport and there was a small DC3 sitting on the strip with the doors wide open. We had to wait for the paper work to be sorted and the picnic food and drinks to be loaded then we climbed aboard. WOW! The heat inside that tin cylinder was unbearable no wonder the door was open. The plane had been sitting in the sun for a while. The next surprise was the seating arrangement. There were no seats in rows with an aisle but there was a bank of metal, garden type chairs along the walls of the fuselage. There were seat belts attached to the walls.
To keep the drinks cool in this searing heat, there was a 44 gallon drum cut in half longways full of ice. It sat on the floor behind the cockpit. While everyone got buckled up and the pilot waited for clearance the heat was melting the ice and cooking us. A crew member kept the door open for a little relief. Even when the plane started taxying the door stayed open until just before the wheels left the ground. As the plane steeply climbed into the blue sky the melted ice water slopped over the edge of the drum and came washing down the centre of the plane cooling off our feet and shoes. This was going to be a fun day and an experience to remember.
We flew over swamps and virgin jungle but after only 30 minutes we started our descent into Finchhafen.
We arrived at the picnic spot and then walked through the jungle to the swimming holes. It was a little cooler in the forest.
The jungle opened up to reveal the most beautful little creek and waterholes.
The water looked so blue and inviting. New Guinea is awash with crocodiles but we were assured that there were none in this creek.
Further upstream we found a pool just for us. It was idilic. I had only seen this type of exotic tropical scenery on movies or in books. To be actually here being part of it was exhilarating.
Then we walked back to the picnic spot where the boys had cooked a barbecue for us with salads and rolls and drinks, which had all come on the plane with us.
After lunch and a little more exploring of this fabulous place we gathered our belongings and our memories and heaved ourselves up into our splendid taxi and returned to the airstrip. There we once again climbed into the overheated plane cabin, found a chair and buckled up ready for the flight back to Lae.
Almost every afternoon in New Guinea, heavy storm clouds come rolling over the mountains and drop torrential rain together with flashing lightening and rumbling thunder. It is not good flying weather. Luckily we were fairly early and hoped to miss the storm.The DC3's fly quite low and it was a bumpy ride back to Lae but we did arrive before the storm.