My father was a shipwright there during those times. Back those times you know, you got businesses booming, you got people everywhere, you got tourist ships coming in. Back when I was kid, I saw all those things.
One hotel I can remember, it was called the Pacific View. Those days, there was money on the island. Today, no. Many people call this one as a ghost town but people still live here and people still make money here.My son makes a trip six times a week into town; he runs into Alotau. He picks up passengers, buys fuel and rice.Required by the National Maritime Safety Authority, with the 23-footer, I am required to pick only eight people. If I pick six people, I’d spend maybe K200 on fuel. And traveling here to Alotau, one person is K30.
So if you calculate with eight people on board, in a day, maybe if I’m lucky, he’ll buy me a bag of 10kg rice. Otherwise, one 5kg will do. But I ration myself to stay that long. People paddle to Samarai every day just for 20 toea; to come here and sell whatever they’ve got to sell. The only people who work here are from the health department, PNG Power and small businesses.
All I want is, people who sit up in the House, can they develop this place? Bring it back to where it was before.
- Jackson Luweina – Boat operator, Samarai