Papua New Guinea

Right Folks,

This is a blast from the past or my own contribution of sort to the recent 10-year challenge craze. Normally, I’m not the one for internet crazes, nor am I a particularly nostalgic person, but I found this album while looking for a photo of an old dish and thought why not. It was an interesting trip, one of the first ones with that job actually.

The yacht was a very old vessel. Fifty metres, but very spacious inside. I had a lovely sized galley. My cooking was inspired as I was newly in love with my now wife.

I joined the boat in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Brief was we were going to Papua New Guinea, because boss likes diving. I was told there won’t be many shops around, but looking back, that probably should have been impressed on me a bit more urgently. There were 8 guests, 10 crew, 1 dive master, 1 nanny and 1 local guide on board. That’s 22 people. There were no restaurants for the guests, so every meal was on board. I was the only chef.

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This photo is of the yacht actually strapped to a couple of large trees on land. The captain also used an anchor.

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These were our views of Papua New Guinea. These were specific dive spots the boss wanted to check out. My photos don’t do it justice, but man this place is beautiful.

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The areas we visited were really remote. The locals didn’t have electricity, and we must have been quite an attraction. They would paddle over to the yacht and try to sell me a few things. Mostly weird-looking fruits and vegetables. We gave them Coke and chocolates in return, which, upon reflection cannot have been a good idea. Worse still happened when some fisherman popped over offering a parrot fish. They made a trade with the captain who gave them a bottle of alcohol. I cringe when I think about it. We couldn’t have been more of a cliche if we’d tried. Here come Westerners with their addictive, processed, sugary crap. Though it has to be said that the parrot fish does not taste all that nice either.

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Eventually, we made our way to Port Moresby, which is the main port and the capital of the country. The agent there took me shopping. I love meeting agents all over the world like this. Obviously it makes my job and life much easier, but it is also just nice to meet new people. He took me to the local market, since there were no supermarkets of any description. The market was small. There were ladies selling 6 tomatoes they had grown, peeled mangos (they eat the skins and sell the rest), leafy greens and unusual looking yams. I bought everything. Literally, everything. With money this time, I should add.

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This is me, posing in the yacht’s galley with what looks like half a kilo of hair gel on my head. Click here for a recipe I made while on board.

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Finally, here is my absolute favourite photo from the trip.

Michael xx