Two Helicopters

Posted in Mixed Nuts on August 14th, 2010 by MadDog
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Regular readers will have noted my absence on occasion for the last few days and suspected the reason for it. It’s very hard for me to know what to write at this time which will keep the spirit and character of Madang – Ples Bilong Mi  alive and providing the same kind of distraction from the vagaries of life which it has provided for me and many readers. However, I can’t stray far from what it has grown to be. The tag line probably says it best. A Daily Journal of a Permanent Resident of Paradise.  If I abandon the true concept of a journal and simply keep it light and full of lots of pretty pictures, the occasional minor complaint about life in general,  a healthy dose of outrageous opinion and some hopefully funny stories, I could probably enjoy a continuation of the growing readership and nothing much would change.

There are a couple of problems with that. First, it would be a sham. Second, I couldn’t pull it off.

Unfortunately, there is no real paradise here on earth, no matter how much we may wish it. Life can transport us along the sweet path for decades and then take a sudden turn. Only fools believe otherwise. I chose my title and images carefully today, though the reason may not be obvious until you’ve read the rest of this.

Less than two weeks ago, I was out taking shots in a Heli Niugini helicopter, enjoying the scenery and the free ride. I knew that Eunie was sick and we would likely have to go to Cairns to have her checked out, but our hopes were high that it would involve some minor surgery of some sort, probably removal of the gall bladder, at most, and that would be that:

Now, as I sit in front of the hospital alone, gathering my thoughts and watching a medevac helicopter spooling up for a run for someone probably far less fortunate than us, the irony does not excape me. Life can change in the blink of an eye. The situation today is very much different and the hopes have changed radically. There is a high likelihood that there is something very wrong inside my beloved woman. We have no biopsy reports yet, so there is no certainty either way. However, we’ve been told to plan for chemotherapy, probably combined with radiotherapy:

Until we know, there is always hope that what seems very nasty may not be as bad as it looks. Even so, because of the nature of the “mass” it is going to change life for us.

So, what of Madang – Ples Bilong Mi?  Well, I am hoping that I can find the strength and wisdom to let it continue to be what is has been for nearly three years now. For me it has been a creative outlet which has given me a new kind of discipline and provided me with a sort of confessional booth in which I can let my thoughts, opinions and feelings drift through the curtain and come back to me filtered through the minds and hearts of others through comments, Facebook and emails. For my readers, most of whom I have never met, but have nevertheless come to cherish as friends – even confidants of a sort – it has provided amusements and distractions which come from off the beaten path. I want to continue that relationship with my readers and enjoy the pleasure that it has given me. I have no intention of leaving those treasures behind as we follow this new path which is being laid out, brick by brick, before us.

I have no idea what the future will be. All I know is that it is going to be very much different from that which I envisioned a month ago. However, our situation – that of life-changing swirls in the current which carrys us along – is not different from that potentially facing anyone reading my words at this moment nor, in fact, anyone on the planet.

Eunie and I have been friends, partners, lovers and soul mates for nearly half a century. This gives us the strength of lions.

This is the hand which we have been dealt. We will play it together.

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The Titles – PNG Game Fishing Association 2009 – Day Two

Posted in At Sea on April 6th, 2009 by MadDog
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Some readers will tire quickly seeing fishing stories every day. I’ll try to even it up with a little variety.

How’s this?

Oh! My toe!
Possible captions are:  “Oh!, My Toe!”, “Don’t stand too close to the Mackerel.”, “Careful there, sometimes Mackerel feign death.” (In case you are wondering, that is not  my toe in the image. I enticed a child to play the dummy. He absolutely refused to stick his toe into the mouth of the Mackerel. Smart kid.)

Here’s a little gallery of shots that I got yesterday evening on Day Two of the Papua New Guinea Game Fishing Association 2009 Titles:

As twilight slipped over the happy crowd, I got this nice image of one of the game fishing boats:

Twilight at the PNG Game Fishing Association 2009 National Titles Day Two

There was at least one National Record on day two. A rather large Yellowfin Tuna was landed on 4 kilogram line. As you may have noticed, I know virtually nothing about game fishing. I used to do a lot of fly fishing when I lived in the USA, but spending the entire day out on the sea in a small boat in the blazing sun waiting for a fish to grace me with the sacrifice of its life just doesn’t do it for me.

Though I’m indifferent to the details of this hobby, I very much enjoy hanging around fisherfolk. I guess you could call me a game fishing groupie. Anyway, I’m enjoying going down to the Madang Club each evening to see who got lucky.

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The Titles – PNG Game Fishing Association 2009

Posted in At Sea on April 5th, 2009 by MadDog
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Saturday was the first day of fishing for the Game Fishing Association of Papua New Guinea’s 34th Titles competition. It was, as I predicted, a day of calm seas and occasional rain showers. Lest you be misled that I am a meteorologist , I should mention that you could make that prediction at this time of the  year on any given day and have a 90% chance of being in the ball park.

The Madang Club was settled into the afternoon patiently awaiting the return of the fleet:

The Madang Club awaits the return of the fishing boats on the first day

The action inside was fairly subdued by Madang Club standards:

Inside the Madang Club fisherfolk and guests await the return of the boats on day one

As the 18:30 deadline approached, boats were rushing in with only minutes to spare:

As the deadline draws near, fishing boats race to beat the clock

In the image above, I was using a long exposure to get a shot of the nice sunset-lit clouds and the islands. The boat came past my field of view and I thought to get the shot anyway. As it turns out, there is a nice speed-blur effect on the boat that tells the story for me. Sometimes photographers get lucky.

Here the Clan Cassell team shows off a tasty catch of Mackerel:

The Cassell team and a fine catch of Mackerel

For my taste buds, fresh Mackerel cannot be surpassed. Yum, yum. Unfortunately all the fish were headed for the freezer. Maybe I’ll get lucky later in the week and someone will toss me a fish to take home for dinner.  By the way, in case you’re wondering, there won’t be a single fish that was not put back into the water that will not be eaten by someone. Nothing goes to waste here for the sake of sport.

There are always jokers about. These clowns were passing off this Triggerfish as a point grabber. Better luck next time, fellows:

Most interesting catch of the day - a TriggerfishBy 19:00 things were settled down and most folk were back in the club preparing for a good feed after a long day out fishing. Some call it work, others call it fun:

All the boats have returned and the party at the Madang Club gets rolling in earnest

I’ll be taking photos for the web site of the Game Fishing Association of Papua New Guinea each day of the Titles. I’ll mix some of the images in with my daily posting as the week goes by.

It’s nice to have something to take my mind off being lonely while Eunie is away.

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Deja Vu All Over Again – 60s Night at the Madang Club

Posted in Madang Happenings, Parties on October 4th, 2008 by MadDog
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Having missed this milestone event myself due to abundant sloth (didn’t get my tickets before they were sold out), I depend on our own local Society Reporter and dive buddy Lorraine Collins to recount the festivities.

This from Lorraine Collins:

A groovy night was had by all who attended the 60 Year Celebration of the Madang Club. The theme was come dressed in 60’s attire and man did we see some outfits…! There was everything from early 1960’s dress elegance flowing on to the Mary Quant look closely followed by several hippie love dudes.

Wonderful food provided by The Madang Lodge was accompanied by some groovy tunes. Several speeches were made reminiscing the old days of the Madang Club. These brought many memories flooding back to the “Long-Termers” and was great info for the post-60’s groupies! BJ Kramer wandered down Memory Lane as did Peter Hill. Dr. John, Gim, Nancy, also put their two bobs worth in.

Prizes were given out for best dressed, with Lorraine Collins winning Best Dressed Female. The outfit comprised of a fuchsia pink and black pretend snake-skin knee length coat and black shiny trousers and no shoes (they’d actually broken apart on the way to the event!). Our British correspondent in Madang actually said that The Coat is all the vogue in London right now. Aaaaah! The high fashion of the Madang Boutiques does it again…!!! Best Dressed Male was won by Trevor Hattersley although it was hard to tell if he was actually in fancy dress…!!

Other super-cool dressed dudes were Shane McCarthy in a very flattering lime green shirt and bandana, Karl McGeorge in skin-tight orange patterned shirt (lashed out a whole 50t for it, well worth spending that extra little bit as it didn’t even burst as expected…), Julie-Anne McGeorge in matching ensemble with Californian flowers in her hair, Karen Simmons sporting a dark Mary Quant look proving brunettes REALLY do have more fun… Richard Coleman looked well cool in his black shades, black shirt, black leather jacket and imaginary Harley parked outside… As John Mackerel quipped, “Black is ALWAYS in fashion”…!

The Madang Club put on a great effort and a big thank you to the Entertainment Committee and all the groovy dudes and dudesses that helped decorate the place so tastefully. And of course, a big thank you to Madang’s Tom Cruise and his cocktail shakin’ hands, Gary McGowan. Never knew a Slippery Nipple could taste so good…

So, on to the photos.

Here are Trevor Hattersley and Karen Simmons looking as groovy as one can get in Madang:

Trevor and Karen looking groovy

Shane, Karl, and Julie-Anne look as if they’re headed for San Francisco:

Shane and friends

And, here are Tony and Lorraine keeping the faith, baby:

Tony and Lorraine keeping the faith, baby

I may only presume that the good times rolled.

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1200th Hash Run AND Oktoberfest!

Posted in Hash, Invitations, Parties, Things to do, Upcomming Events on October 30th, 2007 by MadDog
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This from:  Biggus (Shane McCarthy)

Madang Hash House Harriers

1200th RUN

Saturday 34th of Oktober (3rd November)
2 P.M. Start at the MADANG CLUB

Down Downs
Jungle Run
Down Downs
Oktoberfest Piss Up & Grub
Did We Mention Down Downs ???

Adult Drinkers – K50          Youngans & Non-Drinkers – K15
Kids Under 10 (Who are Non-Drinkers) – FREE

RSVP:  Biggus – Ph. 852 2499, Fax 852 2591,

Yes, our delightfully strange Hash-folk are doing it again!  Please note that only sub-10-year-olds who are non-drinkers will be admitted for free.

For information about Hash House Harriers, try these links:
The World Hash House Harriers (so it claims) site is here
A very interesting Wikipedia article on HHH is here
The Aussie Hash Page is here
The UK Hash Site is here
and (not for the faint of heart) the SoCal (Southern California) Hashers are here

UPDATE: I just found here the POM HHH page

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