I heard from Bernie last night and this morning, and from Pauline in PoM last night. Everyone is well and it seems things are finally going to plan!
Yesterday, the bulk of the group finally got to Buna. This involved 4 hours of the most bumpy, squashed ride ever. They took a break in Popondetta en route, and a soccer game provided some welcome relief from the cramped truck ride. During the course of their 4 hour adventure, I understand they ran out of petrol twice; again, standard PNG fare.
Upon arrival in Buna, they were welcomed by locals dressed in full traditional regalia. Some of the trekkers then opted for a longboat ride to Sanananda (which probably would have been slightly more relaxing without the 1.5m waves). It was an adventurous day; lots of waiting around and bumpy truck rides probably doesn’t constitute the greatest way for the Retreat trekkers to start, but I’m sure they’ll get into the zone later today when they start walking on the Track.
By 7pm last night, they were all dry and having tea in a nice hut overlooking the ocean. At that point they were not optimistic that the truck would get back from Popondetta in time (3am) for them to meet the plane, but they did end up getting to Popondetta as planned this morning and, in any event, the plane time was changed so that Pauline and Brian S didn’t fly out of PoM til 8.30am, meaning the K12s who are not doing the Retreat will likely fly out from Popondetta to PoM around 9.30 this morning. Those trekkers will spend tonight at the Gateway in Port Moresby before flying home tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Retreat trekkers will walk from Kokoda to Hoi today. From memory, this will only take them 1 – 2 hours, and they’ll likely get in to the lovely village of Hoi after lunch.
Pauline, Alice, Zorana, Paul, Ben and Peter flew from Port Moresby to Kokoda mid-morning today. All but Pauline have now gone to join the Tribute trekkers to head to the Northern Beaches, except Chris Adey and Lyall who have flown back to Port Moresby with Pauline. Those three are not going to the Beaches – Chris and Lyall will, I believe, return home in the next few days (please note this is not due to injury or illness; this was the plan all along), while Pauline hopes to visit some people and places in and around Port Moresby before joining the rest of the Retreat trekkers at Kokoda on Friday, along with Brian Schumacher who leaves Adelaide tomorrow.
Confused? Yeah me too!
Some of the Retreat trekkers departed Adelaide bright and early this morning to join their fellow K12s (in their muddy, wet, stinky glory) at Kokoda or Popondetta (depending on where the plane can land in the wet conditions).
Pauline, Alice, Zorana, Ben, Paul and Peter were farewelled by a small, bleary-eyed crew, and arrived in Brisbane mid-morning. They had a 3 hour wait for their next flight and will arrive in PNG later today. Brian Schumacher heads off on Thursday, and the rest of the Retreat trekkers are already in PNG as they are doing the Tribute + Retreat option (Bernie, Brenton, Sam, Catherine, Lindsay and Julie) – I wonder what they’re thinking about that decision now!
Most of the K12s who are coming home after the Northern Beaches will arrive in Adelaide on Saturday evening (15th September), and most of the rest of the group will return on Sunday 23rd September…so we’ve still got a while to go; I do hope you stay tuned and keep those messages from home coming – especially for those who are not even quite halfway through their adventure yet!
If you wish to support the Centacare Kokoda Challenge team’s fundraising efforts you can visit the sponsorship website at http://www.everydayhero.com.au/bernie_victory or by downloading the donation form here.
Welcome to Centacare’s 2012 Kokoda Trek.
? Is K12 your first Centacare Kokoda Trek?
No. Skip to K12
Yes Read from here
Better late than never!
As I’ve said many times, it was never my intention to ‘do’ Kokoda. I was happy in the fundraising role. I have a great belief in the work that Centacare does for families, and the need for facilities such as Auricht House increases all the time. What we do in the area of fundraising helps a little.
In 2007, a vacancy needed to be filled, so I filled it – and said “never again”!
In 2009, it was our 30th Wedding Anniversary. I was hoping for Italy, but Kokoda it was – for my last time!
In 2010, I continued to walk most Saturdays, was happy to do fundraising, organise shirts and cake – until Bernie, Lucy, Alice and others flew out. And I thought, “I’m not doing that again”!
So towards the end of 2010, I started getting serious about walking and getting fitter, with the intention of being much better prepared than before for the climb. Having the goal of a tough walk/climb is a great incentive, and I hoped that I’d be a lot better at those big hills in PNG in 2011. And I was.
While I’m not a reader or watcher of war books or movies, I grew up in a family where WW2 played a big part. My Dad was the youngest of 8 children. He and his 3 brothers all joined up, served overseas and returned home. Anzac Day was one of his most important days of the year. Kokoda, and the battle sites along the Track, bring to mind very strongly the difficulties soldiers and others faced, to survive. We have a chance to remember them, honour them, and pray for them.
Apart from walking the Track, there are the other bonuses of Lovelyn, baby Joan (soon to be a 6 yr old) and baby Michelle at Alola village; Cecily in Kokoda; the many lovely people along the Track; the villages; the beauty of the jungle; the quiet; and so much more.
Living at our place, it’s impossible not to get caught up in all the ‘stuff’ of Kokoda. It’s literally everywhere!
With some trepidation, after failing to finish Extended Misery, and having a somewhat interrupted training regimen, I’m looking forward to PNG and going ‘on Retreat’ from September 14.
So here we go for the final Centacare Kokoda Trek. What a time we’ve had so far. And the only problem I see on our return, is finding new people in Adelaide to tell the stories to.
You can support Pauline’s fundraising efforts by making a donation at http://www.everydayhero.com.au/bernie_victory