Papua New Guinea
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Chase the waterfalls on your weekends

BY BONITA DUBA

Spend a day in your weekend chasing waterfalls. That is what my friend and I did this weekend. Like my last trip, this trip was organized by Sogeri Hikers and Adventure and we paid K150 each. On Sunday morning, at 8 in the morning, we made tracks.

The bus ride was quiet, bright but chilly. The breeze along the Sogeri highway was enough to make me pull my jacket closer to my face.

Unlike the last time when there was fog everywhere, this time we could see as far as the eye could see. When we got to Sirinumu Dam where the canoes were waiting, I was excited.

My friend and I put on our life jackets because we needed to ensure that we were safe. The entire group piled into three canoes, and off we went. Our tour guide, Kevin, mentioned that it would be a fifteen-minute boat ride to the first village. It usually takes 1 hour to tour the entire lake.

The dam was once a lowland with several different streams running through it. After the dam was constructed, the water filled up the place that was once home to wild life, what’s left of it seen breaking through the surface are the rising trees and mini-islands in the middle of the reservoir.

The trees looked like the heads of sea creatures and I was reminded of the movie, The Water Horse and the story of the Loch Ness monster in Ireland. Kevin then pointed out the local primary school which was on the left side, and we were told that this school alone catered for all the young children from the area. Whilst the city kids are taking buses, the children of Sirinumu are going to school via canoe.

There was also a place called Escape Island, where the Tour company arranged for camping trips. Another fun fact was that, Sogeri was known for its bright red soil.

Because of this, there would be an event called the Mud Festival, where everyone came dressed in white so they can throw mud at each other.

When we reached the village, the locals met us with smiles. The leader who would be taking up to the falls told us that the walk for the locals was said to take only ten to fifteen minutes, for us, they said it would take thirty minutes but it actually took us maybe, forty minutes.

We stopped at the top of certain points to take pictures and the views were worth it. Everywhere you looked, it was like a painting.

Blue waters, rising blue mountains in the distance, a fishing trap here and there that strangely reminded me of the TV show, Survivor.

Small villages resting peacefully in the morning light, black and grey tree tops rising in the middle of the water and the white pelicans frolicking around the water`s edge; It was truly a magical scene.

As we continued to hike, my friend pointed out to me how the vegetation had changed from Savanah to rainforest which was very visible as we went further inland.

The trees and vegetation had to seriously adapt and accommodate the unpredictable weather which could be vicious at times.

Nature was weird but beautifully laid out. The landscape changed and we headed down hill again. Soon, my friend and I were grinning as the sound of running water could be heard.
The waterfall was small but, wow. So spectacular.

It was like a little magical waterfall hideaway. My friend was so excited about taking pictures of the falls and actually getting into the water.

The cold waters from the Variarata were nothing like this one. The moment I put my feet into the water, I got chills right to my bones. I was actually surprised at how everyone was battling the cold and jumping into the water.

The sensation is like when you touch something frozen in the fridge and your nerves get numb. Imagine that feeling in all your limbs.

My legs were numb and from that all, I came to the conclusion that I would not be having a full body wash experience but rather dipping a limb here and there.

Everyone washed, jumped and swam to their hearts content. After spending an hour at the falls, we said our goodbyes to the waterfall and began our hike back.

My muscles burned as I trudged up the hill and was relieved when we saw the lake view.

Upon arrival in the village, everyone went ahead and bought themselves bananas, kulau’s and flowers that were prepared by the villagers. The boat ride back was quiet and hot as the afternoon sun was in full effect.

When we got back to the Dam, a few of us wanted to get a better view of what lay on the other side of the dam.

We walked across the road and I was so scared when I glanced over the edge of the dam and saw the water gushing out from the pipes at full speed.

We had one last stop at the Rouna 4 Lamb flaps market where we bought lamb flaps, banana and drinks for the journey back to the city.