Into the Hills

6 08 2010

I have just got back from the Finisterre Mountains in Morobe Province where our latest project was successfully birthed and I did something that wasn’t ‘planning’.

What I might look like in prison

In keeping with the spirit of conservation we are completely felling 2 hectares of rainforest (1 primary, 1 secondary) in the name of science. We’re surveying every leaf on every tree for caterpillars, leaf miners, gallers, ants and spiders as well as carrying out botanical work. This provides an excellent opportunity to sample insects from the much-esteemed forest canopy. There will be new species of plants, let alone insects. Exciting, no?

3 Parataxonomists: Kenneth, Markus, Martin

Anyway, the place, Yawan, is relatively hard to get to, especially with 2000Kg of supplies. Two of our Landcruisers drove the 5 hour road to Lae from where we chartered 2 Cessnas to take the supplies.

Chartered Cessna w/supplies

As for us, we caught one of the scheduled 30 minute flights. Flight operations are wholly dependent on the weather. Rain threatened our take-off, but the pilot knew there was good weather beyond the first mountain range.


Yawan Airstrip and surroundings

We circled Yawan once before landing with a bounce on the inclined airstrip, grasses whipping  the undercarriage as we sped towards the welcome committee at the strip end.

The Kids are Alright!




12 responses

6 08 2010

Phil, what a great picture and beard! You look like an irish

6 08 2010

If you do not shave soon you will be put in prison for horrendous beard crimes.
That thin bit of grass should not be called an airstrip, did you close your eyes?

6 08 2010

Harhar Butty! I didn’t close my eyes or cry so ner. It was enjoyable

6 08 2010

Glad to have you back and hear of your adventures. Just don’t come home with that thing on your face!!

Love xxx

6 08 2010

Phil, great to hear from you after all this time, it looks and sounds as though you are having a really adventurous life at the moment! The project sounds fascinating, what an opportunity. I hope you find some species previously unknown to man. I would say you are a lucky man but as someone famously said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get”. You have worked for this opportunity and deserve it.
Yawan and the Finisterre mountains look beautiful, presumably relatively unspoiled by civilisation? The airstrip looks “interesting” in the sense of the old Chinese curse, “may you live in interesting times”. Presumably you will only have sporadic access to email for some time to come, I’ll look forward to hearing news of Dr. Phil’s latest discovery of the previously unknown giant 9 legged 6 winged fatang batang or whatever it may be….
Maybe you could name it after yourself?
Cheers, keep the pics coming whenever you get the chance. I should be home at Xmas, look forward to tales from the wilds of PNG over a pint or three.

7 08 2010

Amazing, Phil went up the jungle and Edward V11 returned. So pleased you are back safely and malaria free. Also relieved I did not see where you were landing before you set off. Wonder if you will discover some moth or frog that was supposedly extinct then we will see you (beard free) on a BBC2 documentary with D. Attenborough.

Miss ya, much love.

7 08 2010
Dave B

Les – it’s already been done. It’s called the Great Tit.

7 08 2010
The Donk

They were relatively unspoiled by civilisation, until Buttsy and his gang of tree killers arrived.

8 08 2010
Tiddly Widdly

Massive, just massive

8 08 2010
Tiddly Widdly


9 08 2010

Whoop whoop for the awesomeness of the beard that is amazing! Maybe u could trim some and make it into a woolly hat!?

14 08 2010

wow phil, first of all, beard. If you do find any new species careful not to let them anywhere near your face, if they wonder into all that ginger you’ll never find the goddamners again! Seriously tho, sounds amazing what you are doing.

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