An introduction to Morobe Province, Piugini
, with a population of about half a million, includes the highlands of the northeast area of the mainland of Papua
New Guinea. But it also includes remote islands rarely visited by foreigners. Morobe
Province gets its name from the former German
capital Morobe, southeast of Lae.
, the second largest city in Papua New Guinea, is the provincial capital of Morobe Province.
Lae has a population of about 90,000 and has an airport a few kilometers outside the city. Crime has been a problem in Lae, but for
visitors there is safety in the Lae International Hotel
, where a guardhouse keeps unwelcome locals out and a high fence with barbed
wire surrounds the grounds.
Adventurous tourists might consider taking a ship from Lae to Umboi Island (west of New Britain Island).
But this is not a popular cruise for foreign tourists as the two ships which make the voyage are uncomfortable. The main attraction
to Umboi Island is the legendary "ropen
," a giant flying creature that is said to live in a cave on one of the volcanic mountains.
You will not read about this animal in textbooks, however, for these pterosaur-like ropens live in cryptozoology
studies and one has
not yet been captured.
Another part of Morobe Province where similar strange flying creatures are reported is Salamaua
of Lae. Here, early in 2007, a few Americans explored the jungles, looking for the glowing ropen. This was the Sci-Fi channel's Destination
production team, led by Josh Gates. One night
they observed and video-taped a strange flying glow, later identified by a
native as the creature that some call "ropen."
Family pig near Gomlongon, Umboi Island
Hut on a tiny island west of New Britain