|Flying by New Britain in 1972, I caught this glimpse of steam|
rising from one of New Britain's volcanoes (Pago?)
We took an old logging road up into the central part of the island. It was passable, but overgrown in parts by morning glory and other vines. Logging roads are always sad reminders of forest destruction, but we managed to get into some decent forest.
Later, we wandered around on some other roads, apparently avoiding disaster without knowing it. We found out from one of the local hotel owners that some tourists had been killed by a gang of thugs in the area we'd just toured only a week before. Also there was an outbreak of Dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease somewhat nastier than malaria, in the area. So we had also by dumb luck avoided the mosquito thugs of the area.
|One of our assistants holds the leaf and infructescence of Heterospathe parviflora.|
Along the way some other curiosities included a specimen of the odd gymnosperm genus Gnetum. This is one of three genera of the order Gnetales, which is now known to be an offshoot of the Conifers. The other two genera are Ephedra (source of the drug ephedrine) and Welwitschia, the strange dweller of southwestern African deserts that produces only two ribbon-like leaves during its lifetime.
|A reproductive shoot rises from the|
straggling stem of a Gnetum species.
|This interesting inflorescence appears|
be something in the Solanaceae.
|A tiny Dendrobium, possibly a form of D. bracteosum.|
|The widespread Passiflora foetida was also common along|
the logging road.
|A load of oil palm fruit awaits pickup beside the highway.|
Much of the lowland forest in New Britain has been
converted to oil plantations.
|Children always greeted us with smiles and laughter.|
|In a local village, a man prepares roofing panels from coconut|
|Our camp along the logging road. Heinar Streimann is in the center, Kathy Kuhlman at the far right.|