With the magnetic survey project complete, it was time to head back to Australia. Kobuan office manager Ray (the word is SHUVIM) Gawan booked my flights.
From old Aropa airfield I boarded the island-hopping DC-3. The flight attendant was a Melanesian man.
He gave safety instructions: “Dispela Life Preserver … ”
His instructions were brief and concise, in clear, understandable Pidgin. His ‘uniform’ was shorts, tee-shirt and sandals. His manner was friendly and confident.
I was booked in the ‘Cosmo’ (Cosmopolitan Hotel) for that night. In the morning I was to catch the F-27 turboprop to Lae, with connections south to Melbourne. The flight had an early morning departure time.
After a hectic trip I crawled into bed at the Cosmo and crashed hard. The next thing I heard was the noise of my flight flying over the hotel, on its way to Lae.
OK, so I had to lay over another night at the Cosmo. Next morning I caught the flight out.
After changing planes in Lae I flew to Port Moresby. There, I discovered, to my delight, that they now had a turboprop airliner on the run to Brisbane. Great! The flight took only four hours.
By that evening I was back in Melbourne.