The humming of a powerful engine awoke the local Madang community.
The Melanesian Tourist Services’ (MTS) motor yacht, the Kalibobo Spirit, broke the uncertain atmosphere that filled Madang’s harbour, people slowly awaking to the new 2019.
A quick call from the captain sent keen members from Madang’s local community, and several tourists, to rush on-board for their New Year Cruise.
TheKalibobo Spirit set its course for Madang’s beautiful islands and its local harbour. Bellowing a mighty roar, the propellers thrust the ship forward towards Madang’s harbour as the 43 keen passengers smiled with excitement. Among the passengers was Yi Kuo.
Originally from Taiwan, Yi Kuo is a foreign exchange student from Australia. Yi said that being here in Madang while studying at the Divine Word University was such a great honour and to celebrate his new year on the Kalibobo Spirit was a milestone in his life.
“I will remember this cruise aboard the Kalibobo Spirit as a milestone, it is very magical (Madang) and to be onboard a magnificent vessel such as this, it helps you to see this even better,” said Yi while he pointed at an island, he was trying to guess the name.
The first stop, for the long awaited swim, was at Wangat Island,an island that was far too beautiful for the impatient passengers who lunged into the sea after they were ferried onto the Island’s shore. Also provided onboard Kalibobo Spiritwas several Kayaks and stand-up boards, nobody paddled on the Kayaks as much as Chang Guang Liu.
Chang Guang Liu, originated from China, lives in Madang. Chang said that he loved the Kalibobo Spirit and all its cruises.
“I take every little opportunity to come onboard this vessel, I’ve been on Kalibobo Spirit four times now and I’ll continue to come,” said Chang as he struggled to get onboard another Kayak.
Chang also said that Madang was better seen on vessels such as the Kalibobo Spirit.
“I’d like to recommend more people, tourists especially, to come onboard this amazing ship and to truly see the beauty of this place (Madang),” he said. “Like I said before, they’d have to chase me away to stop me from coming onboard this ship,” said Chang as he broke into laughter with his friends.
The screaming of parents telling their children to swim closer to shore and the laughter among friends and family were slowly subsided by the sound of beautiful Gospel hymns.
A small group of Methodists gathered and prayed, sang hymns and worshiped together in the Chinese language along the shores of Wangat Island. Among the fellowship of people was Maggie who also represents a travel agency called Magic Land Tours.
Maggie has lived in Papua New Guinea for nearly 20 years. She said that Madang has a lot of great potential for Chinese tourists.
“Madang, unlike some provinces in PNG, has proper facilities, companies such as the Niugini Dive Adventures and vessels such as the Kalibobo Spiritcan carry tourists to do the things they want to do in PNG,” she said.
Maggie also said that Chinese tourists came to PNG to see only two main aspects of PNG society.
“Chinese people come to PNG to experience its culture and its natural environment, and I know that Madang can show both these things to tourists,” she said.
The 43 excited passengers then climbed aboard the Kalibobo Spirit, all soaking wet, to continue on its final island leg of the cruise.
Pig Island, as known by locals and tourists alike, is an island fit for family picnics. Aboard the Kalibobo Spirit were two chefs from the Madang Resort’s restaurant who quickly grilled sausages, meat, created amazing kebabs and served the (now) hungry passengers to their heart’s content, with plate loads of meats and salad. Soon the sounds of laughter faded into ‘quiet-thoughtful’ eating.
The re-energised passengers did not wait for any food to settle as they lunged into the sea for another swim.
It was around four o’clock in the afternoon when the propellers pushed the Kalibobo Spirit in front of the Coastwatchers memorial to see the iconic Kalibobo lighthouse. The passengers where all struck with awe and amazement. The mighty vessel steered its way into port where the passengers took their time to get off, as if they didn’t want to leave.
More photos were taken and gestures of appreciation were passed from the passengers to the crew of the vessel, avessel that truly does capture the spirit of Kalibobo and the spirit of Madang.
- Anton Selve is the Social Media Marketing and PR Officer of Melanesian Tourist Services Ltd.