The first week in September we went on a family vacation to Madang! It was our first trip to the North Coast. It was also Tabitha’s first time on an airplane:
We stayed at St. Fidelis Minor Seminary, where first step in the seminary formation process takes place, with our wantok Nate Johnson, pictured here in Madang Harbor.
He’s a volunteer with the Capuchin Volunteer Corps, with whom Brandon had spent a year in Baltimore, and a fellow convert. We had many good conversations.
Our first day we spent walking around Madang Town. We stopped by the visitors center and their small museum, which has lots of traditional craft items and some information about World War II, including pictures of the surrender of the Japanese commander.
There are artifacts from the Japanese-Australian conflict still scattered all over.
Obligatory visit to the Madang Coastwatchers Memorial, “the Eiffel tower of Madang”.
Anastasia loved the playground we found as we strolled around. We managed to coax her off of it by telling her we were going to go see some birds… and she was very excited to find a H, hah, happy hornbill at the Madang Resort Hotel. We took our aforementioned PMV boat ride to Kranket Island, where a fellow PMV rider was kind enough to show us to a lovely bay. Tabitha went in the ocean for the first time!
We went on an excursion to Ulaland, a small private beach with interesting snorkelling inside the boundaries of a Catholic-Church-owned cocoa and coconut plantation, requiring a phone call to the right person at the archdiocese to get in, but we were too busy having fun to take any pictures (oops!)
We stopped by Alexishafen, the Catholic base from which the first missionaries came up to the highlands, and were moved to read this list of all the mission personnel who died in the war and how in their cemetery.
We went on a hike up Nobnob hill to the SIL Madang campus, where Nate had spent time as a child when he and his family took the Pacific Orientation Course for Wycliffe International. It had lovely views of the coastline, plus yet another playground (there are none in Jiwaka!)
Our last day we went to Malolo resort, famous for its black sand beaches. I was enthralled with how shady it was! All our other swimming had been in sheltered bays, so it was nice to have some crashing surf to cavort in. Anastasia and I built a sandcastle and she discovered the joys of moats while Tabitha slept on a blanket in the shade.
When we weren’t swimming or enjoying restaurant food, we were relaxing at St. Fidelis- I enjoyed reading on their deck chairs and a whole week off from cooking or doing dishes! Thanks to our friends in Madang for a great week!