PNG Field Recording Trip – Getting there

Well, it was an amazing and inspiring trip! At times it was incredibly exhausting, but along with the actual recordings I made (115GB! – most of it six track) I also gained invaluable insight and context for the film – the memories will serve me well for the remaining months of working on the film…. As they say, getting there is half the fun & in this case it sure was!!


This was the first glimpse of Papua New Guinea, flying into Port Moresby… & while the sea had that beautiful Pacific azure hue to it, the surrounding bush looked incredibly dense! We stayed the first night in the Airways hotel, which not coincidentally was right beside the airport & having read of how Port Morebsy can be a pretty wild city I was still taken aback slightly at seeing an armed guard outside the entrance to the hotel. As we had a very early flight out to Buka in the morning I didn’t get to explore Port Moresby at all, but the hotel was quite odd – very beautiful but upstairs it turned out to have its own plane, which apparently was their main conference centre!




Next morning we got up at dawn & flew out to Buka on a 6am flight. Buka is a small island with an airport, seperated from the much larger Bougainville Island by Buka Strait, as you can see in the photo below.


Stepping off the plane all of our senses were welcomed with intense humidity and a million new smells, but also by a performance group – it seemed there was a dignitary of some kind on our flight who received a full reception:



I managed to video some of it, but the audio is a little underwhelming, partly because there was an idling plane just offscreen to the right… but you still get a hint of the beautiful chant they were singing and the polyrhythmic drumming being performed on tuned bamboo pipes…



So next we loaded all our bags into a truck & headed down to Buka Strait, to catch a banana boat…




Across the other side we met up with our 4WD driver, only to be told that there was no rush leaving Buka as they had so much rain recently that some of the rivers were in flood and were unpassable. So we waited around for a few hours until they received word that it was worth an attempt and we headed off down the bumpy dirt road, from Buka to Arawa…




After about an hours travel we came to the first big river crossing. There was a 4WD in front of us, and after much discussion they made their attempt at crossing the river, downstream from the bridge that was still under construction. I managed to shoot video out the window of the crossing, but the camera latched focus on our vehicle instead of theirs so the focus is blurry, but its still worth a look…



Given how that crossing went, there was much further discussion and it was eventually decided we would be better off crossing upstream further. So we reversed out & proceeded to cross a wider part of the river, where the current was not so strong…



That was the biggest river crossed, and we carried on with what can only be described as a bone-shaking trip! We finally arrived in the town of Arawa late in the afternoon, tired out & ready for a rest…

A few quick photos from my recordings:







8 Responses to PNG Field Recording Trip – Getting there

  1. Stephen Saldanha says:

    Haha I love the pictures at the end, looked like a lot of fun especially the river crossing, nice to know you you got through the trip safely.

  2. chris todd says:

    Now to listen thru it all… (!!!!)

  3. Fantastic story Tim. Port Morseby is indeed a “different” place

  4. Edward Larsen says:

    Great stuff makes me want to get off my arse and see the real world again

  5. Thanks for sharing Tim! Incredible photos and videos! Very inspiring!

  6. Thanks for sharing this! I guess it was much more grueling than a “simple” field rec. Looking forward for the samples.

  7. Catherine Fitzgerald says:

    Incredible Tim – dying to talk to you and Chris about it and to listen to and watch everything too..

  8. ErikG says:

    I wish we could get the time and budget to do recording trips like that!

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