PNG’s Conflict Island

Filipino Sea Woman in Conflict island

I found peace in Conflict Island. Ironic, isn’t it? Well, don’t get fooled by its name. I first came here last August 4, 2017. It was a Papua New Guinea cruise then. For me it would eternally be one of the most stunning corners of the world I’ve ever seen.

A Little Background

Conflict island is a group of 21 picturesque islands that was first spotted in 1879 by HMS Cormorant. In 1880, Bower who was the captain of HMS Conflict gave the beautiful paradise its name.

The islands are surrounded by a bluer than blue lagoon that is home to what marine biologist consider to be one of the most biodiverse reef systems in the world. Whenever someone would mention PNG to me, this is the first image that would come to mind. Kiriwina, another place in PNG, is also a favorite of mine.

Conflict island is an idyllic island haven measuring 375 hectares and located just north of Papua New Guinea’s Milne Bay Region. It’s about 80 kilometers from the nearest points in PNG. Because it’s very far, it’s impossible to get there on your own terms. Cruise ships are the perfect way to see the island.

The Australian businessman Ian Gowrie-Smith and his family privately own Conflict island. P&O cruises are the destinations’ exclusive partners. I came here aboard the lovely Pacific Aria.

Can We Go Now???

I remember waking up very early that day. Well, weeks ago my good friend and I already made plans to go out. Unlike her, I’ve never been to this place and I was excited to see what it’s like.  In total, I only had two short visits here. The second time, which was also the last time, was in November 2017.

I didn’ t have a proper breakfast. I was in my room and I only ate cookies that time. I met my friend and we went straight to the gangway, hoping to go out fast. Surprisingly, we found lots of crew members crowding in corners while waiting for a tender boat ride. The ship’s security officers were very strict that day. The captain released an order to make sure the guests can go out first before the crew members.

two cruise ship workers in conflict island
Waiting at the top deck just behind the Kids Club

After waiting patiently, my friend and I realized it’s pointless to stay. It’s going to be a waste of time. Instead, we decided to go to the top deck at the back of the ship. There, I had a tantalizing glimpse into an enchanting picture that I will forever keep.  We both agreed to go back to bed and try again after lunch.

Sun, Sea, Sand

I was awakened by a call. “We can go out now,” my friend said. I jumped out of bed, grabbed my bag and proceeded to meet her. We were beyond excited.

A few minutes later, we were already in the tender boat. It floated and gently sailed through an incredibly calm water. It was a very hot day, but I remember taking off my sunglasses. I wanted to see its beauty up close despite the very bright light that pierced my curious eyes.

Finally, we reached the island – a special place I only knew from other people’s stories and pictures I viewed from the Internet. To be able to see it for real was such a great blessing I will never forget.

We alighted from the boat and were greeted by an endless white sandy beach. The aqua colored water was sublimely clear that one can see what’s underneath. There’s no need to use goggles. We had a leisurely walk while taking pictures. We wandered around and then ran. We ran to the water like kids ready to have fun. The water was refreshingly warm. It soothed our skin and relaxed our minds.

I didn’t take so many pictures that day. Actually, we brought two cameras with us. We took a few shots with the first one before its battery died. We weren’t able to take quality pictures with the second camera because we just borrowed it from another friend, and we couldn’t change its setting. My phone, on the other hand, stayed idly inside my bag the whole time. Despite all that, it was perfectly fine. I remember paying attention to every single thing around. I was glued to a “perfect moment” that certainly touched my soul and warmed my heart.

Final Bow

We went back to Conflict island in October of 2017. I was three cruises away from going home. I was fortunate I was given the chance to go out again and took better pictures.

girls in conflict island
October 2, 2017. Fun times with the girls. Thank you Mary, Luv, and Edel 🙂

That was my last contract with P&O Australia. Pacific Aria was my last ship with them. Undoubtedly, it was a happy end to an almost 6 years of experiences, lessons, and memories that had gifted me in so many ways. Thank you P&O for everything that you gave me and made me become. Thank you Edel for the gift of friendship and being part of my life.

What blessings did you receive today? Count the big things and the small things. Remember what Aesop once said. “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

Follow your dreams.

Jen

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