Sunday, January 19, 2014

Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

Our first destination in Papua New Guinea during our trip there a little over a year ago was Rabaul, the former capitol.  The capitol was relocated to Port Moresby, as Rabaul was destroyed by volcanic eruptions in 1937 and again in 1994.  You can see blowing volcanic ash in this photo.
The friendly spirit of children throughout the world inspires me on our travels.  Europeans gave the name of New Guinea because they thought the Polynesian people of the area looked like people from Guinea in Africa.  They did this deliberately.  They were not mistaken like Columbus was when he named Native Americans Indians.
The Tavurvur volcano, shown in the to photo, has erupted periodically and has covered the surrounding area with ash.  Vegetation is returning, and a type of bird likes to lay their eggs in the warm ash because it incubates the eggs.  Villagers dig up the eggs, as they are apparently a delicacy, but they do not over-harvest them in order to maintain the population.
Rabaul has an excellent, sheltered harbor, as shown in the top photo, because it is located in a giant caldera that is half filled with the ocean.  The harbor caused the Japanese to make it their headquarters during World War II.  I liked the colors of some of the sea containers stacked by the town docks.  There was no loading or unloading of freight occurring.  The pace of life and commerce seemed slow for a port.
The volcano continues to smoke at its crater above Rabaul.  They relocated much of the town to a site 12 miles away after the 1994 eruption.  The volcanic eruptions covered the town in several feet of ash, which the rain causes to form a cement-like hardness, and the weight crushed the buildings.

Rabaul demonstrates that a caldera open to the sea makes a magnificent harbor, but a bad location for a city if the volcano is still active.


glenda said...

Such an interesting place and you have great photos to share.

Nathalie Beaumes said...

I've really enjoyed catching up with your beautiful travel photos. You sure get to see some amazing parts of the world. I'm a bit jealous :)

Sharon said...

Your photos of the volcano are fantastic. Someday I'm going to see a live volcano in person.

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