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Local Students from Kranket Island explore the R/V Odyssey.
Photo: Chris Johnson

June 14, 2001
Local students Learning to Make a Difference
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Log Transcript

This is Genevieve Johnson speaking to you from the Odyssey in Papua New Guinea. We are currently anchored in beautiful Madang Harbor just off Kranket Island, as we await the arrival of new crew and carry out some important maintenance work onboard the Odyssey.

Spending a short period of time in port between research legs, always gives the crew some time to stretch their legs on land, purchase food and supplies and most importantly it allows us to visit schools in the area.

The other day we spoke with the Primary School students of Kranket Island. This large island community is made up of several villages that could arguably lay claim to one of the most picturesque locations for a school anywhere in the South Pacific. We spent the morning seated underneath a large hardwood tree, discussing the ocean and the unique marine environment of Papua New Guinea, where we have seen so many whales so close to shore.

Genevieve Johnson with students of Kranket Island Primary School.
Photo: Chris Johnson

The following morning the grade 5 and 6 students toured the Odyssey. We discussed the voyage, whales and the oceans while giving the students the opportunity to explore the boat. Most of the children told us that they had seen whales and dolphins before and that sometimes they pass through the seven mile long harbor of Madang. However, this was the first time any of the children had seen images of these marine mammals underwater. They were particularly awestruck in hearing the sounds that they make.

Yesterday we spoke with over two hundred, grade 9 and 10 students from Tusbab High School in the township of Madang. We talked about the Voyage and in particular our last four months in Papua New Guinea. Many had spent World Environment Day collecting plastics and other unwanted refuse carelessly discarded by thoughtless individuals and which later wreaks havoc on marine life.

As we come to know the people of this beautiful country, it is obvious that they have a strong affinity with the sea. Teachers welcome us into their schools and classrooms. The students always appear eager to know how they can make a difference and reduce the human impact on the animals that live in the waters around their home.

Log by Genevieve Johnson

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