In four days last week, myself and eight Papuans prepped most of the land on Waala Beach, the site of our resort, for the builders who hopefully will be arriving in July. I was amazed by the Papuans’ ability to live off the land and fashion what they need from what they have on hand. Camping out with them over those few days was like a wilderness survival course. They cut up a large log that had washed up the on the beach to make picnic tables, and built tents using tarp and some driftwood. They can build a fire in the middle of the jungle in minutes using old coconut shells for kindling, and can keep it going for hours. Using a strip of bamboo to divert the natural flow of water over the rocks, they made a shower for washing. I brought enough food for me from Kaimana, however they brought only rice, relying on local fishermen to come by with their daily catch. And if the fishermen didn’t come on a particular day, they ate plain rice cooked in a kettle over a fire.
For us divers, the focus is on the coral and fish in these reefs, but I would like to say that the diversity of life underwater here is matched or surpassed by the diversity in the jungle. It is estimated that there are thousands of species yet to be discovered by scientists in the interior of New Guinea, and during those few days I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of that on our little piece of land.