During the night of February 8-9, we left the Solomon Sea and entered the Bismarck Sea, arriving at Madang early on the 9th. This was a "cultural" type visit rather than one with a military orientation. We visited several villages in the interior, saw lots of native dancing, handicraft manufacture, etc. It is very humid here, and it was a pleasure to get back the ship for a shower and air conditioning.
Papua New Guinea (hereafter PNG) is very different from the Solomon Islands. In the Islands, we were told that school is compulsory and there exists a comprehensive social welfare system. In PNG, there is no welfare system, school is not compulsory and people pay for schooling (all the schools seems to be church run and every 5th building seems to be a church of some kind). But in both areas, few people wear shoes and most of the little kids run around naked,
Our port call today was at Wewak, PNG. No culture here. This was one of the areas which MacArthur's forces by-passed to let wither on the vine. Australian troops landed here in May of 1945 to expel the Japanese, after they had been isloated for more than a year, but the local Japanese force didn't surrender until September 30, more than a month after the war ended,
We sail this evening for Jayapura, formerly called Hollandia, on the Indonesian half of New Guinea. The western half of the island of New Guinea was colonized by the Dutch and is now part of Indonesia. The southeastern quarter of the island was colonized by the UK, and ceded to Australia in 1905. The northeastern quarter was colonized by the Germans, who were thrown out by the Australians during the first world war. PNG consists of the two former Australian holdings which became independent in 1975.