Sunday, June 22, 2014

Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

Perhaps this empty dugout outrigger canoe is a metaphor for the history of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.  Rabaul used to be the capitol of East New Britain Province of Papua New Guinea until the town was destroyed yet again by a volcanic eruption in 1994.  It had been destroyed several times before, and they moved the capitol after the 1994 eruption.
Rabaul's location was a blessing and a curse.  It was located on the edge of a giant caldera at sea level that is partly filled with water.  It provides a spectacular harbor, which i why it became the capitol, but the volcano is active and has destroyed the town several times, burying it in ash.  The 1937 eruption killed more than 500 people.
Maybe this flower is a better metaphor for the Rabaul than the empty canoe.  Beauty emerges from the hot ash.  The history of Rabaul also includes it serving as the regional capitol for the Japanese occupation of Papua New Guinea during World War II, just a few years after the 1937 eruption.
This is a view of Tavururvur volcano.  It has been smoking and emitting ash frequently since its 1994 eruption.  We took a boat across the bay to walk on its slopes.  Our guide told us that not long before he had to run back to the boat and flee because the volcano was erupting rocks flying over their heads.
The volcano was smoking most of the time we were there.  We flew into Rabaul to meet a small cruise ship, as there is an airport across the bay.  Later our ship sailed past an erupting volcano at night.


Memphis MOJO said...

Later our ship sailed past an erupting volcano at night

Too bad you didn't get a shot of it, or did you?

Filip Demuinck said...

Love the mountains,


glenda said...

This history is very interesting. Beautiful flower emerging from the ash.

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