Its afternoon on the deck of our unit near Madang, watching flotsam wash in on to the coral covered rocks and sticking between the pyramid concrete breakwater blocks. The debris is mainly old plant matter mixed with far too much modern waste of old can, plastic wrappers and bottles of all descriptions. Regurgitated remains of a betel nut chewing episode coloured the inside of a plastic coke bottle in the deep red syrup of excreted spittle floated by.
Beneath this layer is a marine wonder world of reef fish in bright blues, yellow, black and white like a zebra, and long grey fish like garfish. Looking intently more and more wonderful fish appear right below deck in the mottling of the moving lagoon. Within a few hundred yards of where we sit is a populated island, separating us is a deep water channel that sees ocean going ships negotiate it at the head of the tide.
White long boats with the grey and red of Yamaha motors, filled with people, move between mainland and the outlying islands. These are the commuter boats for the residents of the dozens of islands to use as their public transport.
Heavy, the air still and warm and sticky, it clings to your body. The horizon is a deep grey, purple to black, layered with mountains of lighter grey clouds. Noiseless lightening streaks from storm clouds and touches down beyond the island.
Long boats have turned to a riot of colour with the raising of umbrellas to ward off a the on coming rain. The small patters turn to heavy, steady splot’s. Then right in front of us, about halfway to the island a fish jumps vertical into the sky like a rocket launched from the depths. Grey back and white bellied it nearly clears our vision of the trees, its huge, not the size of a dolphin but much larger than anything we have seen before leaping from the water. Astonished we watch it go to full height and then fall in a great splash to sea. Astonished we chatted about it and kept our eyes on the same spot to see if it would happen again, Al set up to take a photograph of a banana boat carrying passengers with umbrellas up and suddenly it happened it again, a fish powered ten to twenty meters out of the water, right through the camera vision, unfortunately the focus was on the banana boat and so she was unable to capture it. Five or six more of these power leaps from these huge fish happened before it all settled again. Seeing this phenomenon, made us conscious of watching seaward and sure enough at other times on different days we saw fish behaving the same way.
The sea here is alive with fish, the fishing fleets appear only to be the locals and their out riggers taking what they need, there are a few game fish charters but not many. We literally feel like we are the only tourists in Madang. I am sure we are not but there are so few and absolutely nothing to attract them other than the pure beauty of the place.