We traveled around the islands of New Guinea with our expedition team on on the Clipper Odyssey.

I touched and a sea star and Christmas tree snails while snorkeling. On our journey we saw many animals both on land and while snorkeling:

1. cassowary

2. red-footed boobies – boobies comes from the Spanish word, bobo, for clown. Boobies were named boobies because of how funny looking they are.

3. coconut crab

4. sea cucumber

5. A pet rhinoceros beetle

6. flying fish,

7. a manta ray

8. a school of squid.

Some interesting plants that we saw were the:

1. lip stick plant

2. pitcher plant

While on the ship, some funny and interesting things happened. First, I accidentally inflated a life vest while getting into a pool because I forgot I had it on for the Zodiac ride that we were about to go on. Secondly, Steven went to an Asian salon specialist for an infected ingrown toenail. She removed it with precision and gave him a pedicure.

At night time on the ship, we turned the lights off on the deck while in the Pacific Ocean (sailing through Oceania). The sky was the clearest I’ve ever seen. I could see the Milky Way, the southern cross, the Big Dipper, Orion, Leo, Scorpio, the planet Saturn, and Steven and I saw a shooting star.

On the islands, I met nice people and learned that many Melanesians have naturally blond hair. I also learned that they have mystical beliefs including one about how witches flew out of their bodies at night and cursed people that they did not like. It is said that they can give people cancer or make planes fall out of the sky if they wanted to.

In Dobu, people believed that supernatural forces can be harnessed to curse other people. They believed in mana (magic) which is concentrated in the head can be gained by collecting the heads of their enemies and eating them. The head hunters only used heads in their rituals to gain the strength of their enemy.

I joined in on some of the traditional dances with the ladies on Utupua Island and other Islands and had a great time.

On Tikopea we walked around through the rainforest and made friends with many of the people there. Steven had a whole pile of kids following him around as he showed them pictures of snow on his phone. I made a friend on the island who gave me a friendship bracelet. We talked about music and guys and we both liked to sing. I missed her when I had to leave. She was such a kind person.

We saw ladies playing music with water on the island of Espirito Santo. It was amazing how they could carry that tune just by using their hands and a pool of water.

As we approached Ambrym Island at night we saw the active volcanoes on the island glowing in the distance. When we arrived the next morning, we watched a Yam Greeting ceremony and the Rom Dance. The Rom dancer represents a spirit and each costume is meant to be burnt after the dance in case any spirit power remains in it. The men who participate in the dance are meant to participate in controlling the spirits so they do not get out of hand.

We also saw some lovely hot springs (boiling hot springs), boiling mud, and geysers where people cooked their yams.

Pentecost Island was home to nanggol or land diving. Land diving was invented before the bungee jump and is used to help young men gain status in the village. This act involves jumping off of a wooden tower with a vine tied to your feet and landing on your back on the ground. This was a very exciting and looked scary. The men who participated were very brave. The chief was proud of his people and said that he wanted the ceremony to spread to Australia. He encouraged us to show our pictures of the ceremony to our friends and family back home and told us about how he was happy to have us visit.