LASANGA Island lies south of Salamaua and just over an hour by 40hp outboard motor dinghy from Lae.
It is an isolated island with a sparse population scattered around the rugged, mountainous landscape.
The northern end of the island is covered by reef, which stretches onto the white sandy beach.
The mountains stretch right down to the edge of the sea, which is calm at most times.
Never before has the small population witnessed a major sea accident nor seen anything so spectacular washed ashore on their beaches.
It was not until Monday morning when they went to work on their gardens which are situated on the hillsides of the island overlooking the Huon Gulf.
To their surprise, large shipping containers had washed ashore on their tiny reef.
Many had been opened and the contents removed – most of them.
They checked. Cartons of frozen chicken, chicken pieces, twin packs as well as eggs were found in some freezer containers.
Other containers had potatoes and flour.
Some had sawn timber.
Boatloads of people arrived from all corners of the Huon Gulf coastline and Lae to check on the goods.
Outboard motor dinghies returned to Lae with cartons upon cartons of frozen chicken pieces for sale on the streets.
Local villagers had chicken feasts like they have never had in their lifetime.
Roasted chicken, boiled chicken, fried chicken, you name it.
It was free for all. Free chicken washed ashore in container loads.
The air smelled foul, as chicken pieces in their hundreds were seen floating everywhere – all smelly and decaying.
Most of the chicken The National saw came from Tablebirds Chicken.
The stricken mv Lihir Express had obviously discharged a lot of containers into the sea.
The National counted five but villagers said many more had actually sunk off Lasanga Island while others had been found in nearby islands.
Villagers on Lasanga Island now want the owners of the containers to remove them before they cause damage to their reef and the shoreline.
Meanwhile, four dinghies, each loaded with about 200kg of chicken from the containers, sailed into Voco Point at 10pm yesterday.