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living Pirate treasure told me about. Locals who paddled their canoes out to meet our trawler told me that the cyclone had left them relatively unscathed and that there was no damage assessment for me to do here. But since visits by professional people were rare to these remote islands, the doctor and the didiman (agricultural officer) decided to go ashore to conduct routine inspections. I went with the shore party to stretch my legs on the beach. The doctor and the didiman walked off into the interior of the island, accompanied by a gaggle of children and the village elders. I was left alone on the beach, but for one old man who was looking at our vessel

92 Paradise – Air Niugini’s in-flight magazine

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riding at anchor in the lagoon. With nothing else to do, I began talking to him. We talked about the cyclone and things that interest isolated island communities most – seafood, spring tides, and the comings and goings of visiting vessels. Out of idle curiosity and thinking of the early Spanish explorers, I drew the likeness of a Spanish galleon in the sand. “Old man,” I asked in Motu, “are there any stories of ships like this visiting this island?” There was a long silence while he looked at my drawing. Then he said: “Not in my time, but I remember my grandfather telling me of visits by ships like that. But then, that was before his time, too. In fact it was his grandfather who told him.” “Are there any stories about ships like that ever leaving anything behind here?” I asked. There was another long silence and I thought that the old man might not have heard my question. “No,” he said at last, “except for the ship which left the box.” “What box?” I asked, trying not to appear excited. Could it be that Old Harry’s story of the pirate treasure was true? “There is a story that sailors from a ship like that left a box in a cave in the cliff up there,” he said pointing. I could hardly believe my ears. “What is in the box?” I asked, trying to contain my excitement. “Nobody has ever looked,” the old man said, “and nobody would ever want to, because that cave is haunted.” It was almost unbelievable. “According to the story, the box contained useless coins,” the old man said. “The box was re-packed here on the beach before they took it up there. Some of the coins spilled on to the sand and were later found by the island people after the ship had left. But nobody kept the coins, because they were no good.” “Why were they no good?” I asked. “Seems like they had gone rusty,” the old

Paradise: the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini, July/August 2016  

The July/August 2016 Issue (Vol 4, 2016) of 'Paradise' magazine, the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini, the national airline of Papua New Gu...

Paradise: the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini, July/August 2016  

The July/August 2016 Issue (Vol 4, 2016) of 'Paradise' magazine, the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini, the national airline of Papua New Gu...