Many people leave a country complaining of restrictions, corruption and unpleasantness. In many cases the cause is the visitor himself. There are many things a visitor may do which are normal practice to him but which are offensive to the country he visits. The following is an attempt to smooth the path for the visitor so that situations do not arise which spoil what can otherwise be a most enjoyable time.
Ladies, do not wander ashore at a village or into a town dressed in a bikini. Shorts if you must, but please, nothing provocative. A display of thighs is generally frowned upon by the locals who tend to cover their legs. Considering the heat, a light, full length Sari type dress is ideal. It tends to be cool, protects you against the sun and also does not offend the locals.
Do not wander uninvited into a native garden. It probably belongs to the whole village who consider such ground sacred.
Do not take coconuts without offering to pay a villager. The price per nut should be not more than 10 Toea but pay their price or leave it because all nuts are owned by the village or plantation or whatever.
Do not wander through a village without seeking permission.
Do not tie up to any wharf just because it is vacant and looks so delapidated that you presume it will remain that way. As shown under the heading 'Jetties', the Papua New Guinea jetties are mostly ramshackle affairs but they do the job and quite often the most derelict structure is still used regularly.
In Port Moresby and Lae — two towns which have become rather lawless, do not permit the women ashore after dark without an escort.
Do not get up-tight when a dozen or more natives in their dugout canoes come alongside to trade fruit and vegetables or just to peer through the portholes. They are not being rude, merely inquisitive and if your topside paint is so precious that you fear for its damage, then don't go cruising in the first place for this is a reality of cruising.
Do not overpay when trading or buying native foodstuffs or art. The section on food gives rough guidelines but there are those villagers who will 'try it on'. Especially kids, who are not so much trying you on as they are ignorant of money's real worth. They will commonly ask ten Kina for a bunch of bananas yet readily, and with great smiles on their faces, take 70 Toea when you tell them that that is the going price.
Do invite the locals aboard when anchored off a village. It is a nuisance, I agree, having people swarming all over your ship but you are something of a novelty to them and to deny them the opportunity of looking over the ship would be rather unreasonable. Occasionally you will be rewarded with an opportunity to learn about the place and its people through someone with a good grasp of English, but mostly communication is stunted and limited to nods and smiles.
Like children, the villagers don't know when to leave so it is perfectly reasonable for you to set a limit to their visit and be firm but fair when asking them to leave.
While honesty usually prevails throughout Papua New Guinea, easily lifted, popular items like thongs and sandals may be carried off if left in the dinghy or on deck.
Opposite: The children of Papua New Guinea are good looking and full of fun. It is not uncommon to find one peeking through a porthole or over the deck or to see the tiniest child paddling an enormous dugout.
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Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.