Photo Essay: The Journey to Arop

We got up at 5:00 AM to catch the 5:30 shuttle to the airstrip. Once there, we were delayed a little bit, but eventually our luggage was loaded onto the Kodiak.

Loading the Kodiak

Loading the Kodiak

Debbie happy to be flying.

Debbie happy to be flying.

The flight from Ukarumpa to Wewak took a couple of hours. I got to ride shotgun. The pilot told me not to touch anything.

The pilot of the Kodiak

The pilot of the Kodiak

We refueled in Wewak and flew out to the Tadji airstrip. No one was there when we landed, but we unloaded the plane, anyway.

The Tadji airstrip shortly after landing

The Tadji airstrip shortly after landing.

Our cargo on the Tadji airstrip.

Our cargo on the Tadji airstrip.

A pickup truck arrived a little while after we landed. The cargo was put into the back of a pickup truck. That took up half the bed. Assured that we had a ride, the pilot tried to take off, but a dog wanted to chase the plane. I had to chase the dog off so it wouldn’t get mauled by the propeller.

We went into the back half of the truck’s bed with some Papua New Guineans. I was glad I brought a pillow to sit on.

Loading the truck at Tadji airstrip.

Loading the truck at Tadji airstrip.

We went through potholes and rivers. Here we are crossing the widest river.


Another truck followed us for about half an hour on the road to Aitape.


The view of the road to Aitape, from the back of a pickup truck.

Finally, we stopped in the middle of the road. “We’re here,” one of our national translators said.

Where’s “here”?, I wondered. It looked like the middle of nowhere. All I saw was jungle, road, and potholes full of water, but people started appearing by the side of the road. They picked up our luggage and carried it off. After some introductions we crossed the ditch on a bridge made of coconut tree logs and walked up a jungle path. After what seemed like too long a time the village emerged from the foliage. We were home.

We’ll tell more about that in another blog entry.

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4 Responses

  1. Launa davis says:

    Enjoyed all the activities to get to the village. Blessings with love

  2. Carol Oostdyk says:

    What an adventure!

    • Steve says:

      Fortunately this was a pretty straightforward trip, especially for our first time. Sometimes messes up flight plans. Sometimes the river is too deep to cross. At other times they have had to take the truck all the way from Wewak.

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