Wednesday, November 12, 2008

First Blog - by Jeffrey

Only 7:43 and I'm tired! Perhaps it is that my body is still in NZ time, Perhaps it was the 4am start this morning, Perhaps it's that I'm in a new place.
We caught an early plane out of Port Moresby this morning, a 6:30am flight on a Fokker 100 jet reaching Buka just after 8pm.

Our group finally met all in one place last night over dinner at the Airways Hotel eating with a view over the blue and yellow lights of the taxiways of Port Moresby Airport.

I'll let the others describe themselves properly but our group on this expedition consists of Briar - our veteran director, Lyn - our NZ production manager, Scott and John - the scientists (Scott is here to to look at coral, John will look at the water table on Takuu). Rose and Endar are actually from Takuu. Endar is in front of the camera, Rose is our production assistant and one of our translators.

My name is Jeffrey. I am the sound recordist and technician for the solar power system.

Briar and I had already been in Port Moresby for a couple of nights. We arrived on Monday briefly seeing Scott at the airport (he arrived on the same plane). We stayed with Peter, an architect, in his high rise apartment with a great view overlooking the sea. At night the trade winds howled around his building while the voices in the street below filtered through the window.

On Tuesday we met with Rose and Endar. We held a careful conference on how to travel to film Endar as Port Moresby is famous for it's security problems. Unemployed young men gather on the streets, with nothing to do they spend all day drinking and causing trouble. People are drawn to the big city from the provinces but there is often nothing for them there. The results are predictable.

Briar and I cut our gear to the bare minimum. Just a mic for me and a camera for Briar. We hid our equipment in shopping bags, Rose roped in her friend Luke who is a taxi driver to drive us around. We filmed Endar packing and leaving her house, we sheltered in a pineapple stall from a rainstorm before travelling to film a sequence in a supermarket.


14/11/08 - Buka Harbour -

Briar, Endar and I have been wandering around the town for the past few days filming interviews with local politicians and various street scenes. There are none of the security problems here that Port Moresby has. Buka is very busy, there is a lot of construction, it seems that people are trying madly to catch up and rebuild after the crisis feels like a river town. People move constantly between the two banks of the Buka Passage (Gaelen are you able to find a link on Google Earth for this?) using fiberglass banana boats Sohano. The current is swift. Last night we watched the Rabaul Queen (quite a large ferry) leave port. It pulled out into the current listing heavily to one side. It raced past us at high speed before swinging around again to collect a couple of late passengers from a banana boat. It was quite a performance.
Today while filming interviews with the scientists our boat, the Barbarian, finally entered harbour searching for an anchorage away from the current. Finally it found a spot behind Sohano Island out of sight of the town. While we kept filming, the others loaded out equipment on a banana boat and joined the ship. The Barabarian was late because its skipper Rod Pearce had been battling day and night, hand steering through increasingly higher seas to reach us. It is now too rough in the open ocean to leave and we now have to wait for we don't know how long to leave harbour. If the rough weather continues the wait will seriously eat into out tight shooting schedule.


15/11/08 11am

Last night we were visited by pirates! Ok - its not as dramatic as that. Some very drunk guys pulled up to the side of the Barbarian in a banana boat about midnight to be stared at my our crew. We don't know if they were looking for drinking buddies or were up to no good. Eventually they sped away. Today we are sitting behind Sohano Island waiting for the weather to subside. While Briar and Lyn stay on the boat translating tapes and doing paperwork the rest of us will go to Buka where I hope to send theses blogs. Perhaps we sail tonight or tomorrow morning on a 3 day trip that promises to be very rough. We will be out of contact for cellphone and Internet and we are unlikely to get any sleep. The banana boat has arrived so I must go.


No comments: