“I delivered your letter to Amoen today at Wabunun and he claimed that he knew what your query would be before he opened the letter and that he would be the only one who could answer it.” August, 2006, George Clapp, community relations for Woodlark Mining Ltd.
The author and Sipum’s wife, Bwadibwad, August 2009
A LAST VOYAGE
On Ole’s beach Duweyala and daughter scrape bark for caulking his anageg, Levanay. Koyagaugau is in the background.
Duweyala beating scraped bark into a putty-like consistency.
Caulking a cross beam inside the Levanay’s hull.
Caulking a cross beam under the outrigger platform.
“Painting” Levanay with seaweed. Note that the forward cross beam is not caulked.
Withdrawing the kavavis (rudder) as a wave rolls into the outrigger.
“Rudder,” lowered into the water.
Sail low on the mast, tell tales shooting out with the wind.
Birdlife…approaching Nasikwabw. This is a mwag, a bird considered a “sign” or “marker” of a nearby island. From this picture Bruce Beehler identified it as “a frigatebird, one of two possible species – Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor or Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel.”
Levanay sailing into the wind. The sailing direction is straight through the prowboard at the lower left corner of the frame. The rough, slatted inside of the sail centers the scene; Chapter 5 describes the sail structure. To the upper right is the flag, blowing into the camera. Below it is the rack of woven coconut fronds used to protect the sail when it is stored; on top of the fronds are the remains of the craft’s previous sail.
This table is the original data from my notebooks for the journey from Ole-Panamout-Nasikwabw-Waviay, July 4, 2002-July 15, 2002. Simon Bickler used this data to construct Map 0.1. The Voyage of 2002 and Table 0.1, The Voyage of 2002, July 4–15, 2002.
PRACTICALITIES (1)—Original Intentions
The women struggling to walk with the heavily loaded baskets on their heads—the three sisters, the lead the widow—carry yams, and betel nut, to the nominal father of the deceased. They return to ‘him’ what he used to make the deceased. Their tottering gate replicates an image of the Creator, Geliu, holding the island on her–?–head.
1995. Linus Digim’Rina directed me to this typical (Okaibom) Trobriand scene, an early fallow garden with the skeletons of Gweda/Gwed trees pot-marking the field, at their bases taro, in this case, crowded as close to the trunk as possible. Eastern Muyuw gardens would look similar to this one though most taken at this camera’s angle would show a background of uncut forest.
PRACTICALITIES (2)—Getting Ready
Simon Bickler washing pot sherds in 1996: Bickler’s archaeological survey of Woodlark Island produced three sets of new data; about the prehistoric settlement of the northern Massim during the last 1500 years including the first detailed pottery sequence for the island; the main working floors at Suloga Peninsula facilitating a technological description of the famous Woodlark stone tool industry; and the richest excavations to date of stone arrangements which, common across the Northern Massim, very likely predate the public works associated with Polynesia. Dating from at least 1500 BP, the Muyuw arrangements organized labor for public commemoration of the dead. It may be that by 600 BP the symbolic landscape the ruins organized was thoroughly routinized, then transformed by the social forms which gave rise to the famous Kula exchange system.
2009： From picks and shovels 100 years ago to this machine power. This is one of two drills working for Woodlark Mining LTD 24/7 whose powers plumb a scoured landscape for secrets yet to transcend the Creator’s curse. Each drill set consumes about ten 200 litres drums of diesel fuel for each 12 hour period.
Vekwaya standing next to mamina (Syzygium sp.) bark for collected for ritual firewood in Kaulay village. Vekwaya was my primary host in Kaulay village from 1974 to the early stages of the research for this book into 1996. By then he was too arthritic to do the walking I required so I passed to his younger brother, Talibonas, who had married a woman from Wabunun. Vekwaya was a fanatic gardener, a role defined for him by his father, and that made him a detail person. Although he didn’t like eating yams, kuv or parawog, he studied their growth and emphatically disagreed with what I was told by one of my best Wabunun instructors.