Rabaul, East New Britain Island

On Location: History, Volcanic Displays, and Dramatic Dances Highlight Rabaul Visit

Zegrahm Contributor|May 17, 2008|Blog Post

Our day on Rabaul (Papua New Guinea) was an incredible mix of culture and natural phenomena. Once ashore, we set out to visit the World War II Museum, the fascinating Japanese barge tunnels (the island was a Japanese stronghold during the War), and the Tavurvur Volcano hot springs. The volcano had been rumbling and spewing ash plumes for the past few days and while we were visiting, we not only had the chance to observe this, but it started raining and the ash came down mixed with the rain! In other words, whites were no longer white, our skin was no longer tan, and our hair was black! But we all had a blast, literally!

After dinner on board the ship, we returned to Rabaul for a performance of the famed Fire Dance performed by Baining tribes-men. We sat by a mesmerizing campfire and the dancers appeared wearing huge masks and grass skirts and performed barefoot in, around, and through the fire to the constant beating of drums... it was so exciting and electrifying.

The next afternoon we had the best snorkel of the trip so far—off of Tingwon Island. There was a gorgeous and very healthy reef wall with an incredible variety of fish and coral. The visibility and conditions couldn’t have been better and everyone came back beaming! We celebrated back on board with a delicious rum punch…ah paradise!

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