Our plans for the two vehicles to drive out to Edevu were now shelved, it was too late, so I would go alone in the Patrol. I had to leave soon, it was gone 16:15 and by 18:00 the road through the jungle would be dark and treacherous because of the drop-offs and creeks and the high kunai grass that obscured obstacles. It was a 90minute drive in daylight and I also had to pick up fuel for the generator enroute.
My headache was also no better, in fact it was a lot worse and I should really be heading for sleep in a darkened room instead of driving a brand new and unfamiliar Nissan Patrol, alone along bush roads in the darkness. I picked up the generator fuel and treated myself to a drive-in Big Rooster chicken and chips in case my headache was lack of food related. I then set off along the Hiritano Highway to Brown River and reached the turning for Edevu just as the light began to drop.
I drove very carefully not wishing to drive off the narrow path and plunge into the river or one of the many creeks and ditched that bissected the road in the long grass. The worst sections had been pre-marked with cut poles stuck in the ground so I took extra care when I reached these. There were also fires on the hills, set I assume by hunters seeking bandicoots or wallabies. I reached the drop-off point near out campsite in a shorter time than I expected, although it was by now fully dark. I was met by Ben, Julious and Brajer, one of the village boys. We unloaded the kit, the fuel and the supplies.
There was general concern that the new Patrol was vulnerable if I let it parked at the drop-off point which was out of site of the camp and the small three-house village. For this reason Kevin and the others had burned off an area of kunai cross on Phone Booth Hill opposite the village where the vehicle would be in line of sight and a lot safer. There was just the little matter of getting the patrol up Phone Booth Hill in the darkness and with a severe headache.
I had to drive down into the dry creek bed and then up the other side into kunai grass higher than the vehicle. Ben went ahead with my bush knife and cut a swathe through the grass, a car's width wide, and I followed behind in Low4. There were a few obstacles such as hidden hollows and logs but eventually I broke through the grass and onto the burned area. I parked and locked the Patrol and looked down directly into the lights of the camp, the village and our friends on the river bank. I then walked back to the pile of kit back at the drop off point, to be met by Kevin from the village.
"Who drive the car up there?" he asked.
" I did" I replied, "I am the only one come out this time".
"Oooh, you big man" said Kevin with a buai-coloured grin. I think he was impressed by my driving up the hill in the darkness and the be honest, feeling as I did, so was I.
We carried everything into camp where I drank a lot of water.
I had promised the village I would show them a "movie" and had purchased some speakers for the laptop whilst in Moresby. I set up the laptop and put on Green Blood, one of the second season of O'Shea's Big Adventure, about the green-blooded skinks (Prasinohaema spp.) of PNG. Set up on the generator box, everyone crowded around and whooped and clapped throughout the half-hour film.
After that I went to bed to try and rid myself of the headache. Everything else could wait until the next day, this one had been busy enough.
|My parking spot in the morning