“These aren’t just beautiful islands with white beaches surrounded by pristine waters and bountiful reefs. They serve a multitude of existential purposes for man and for the larger purpose and meaning of nature with which we are inexplicably linked and bound.
It must behove us and is incumbent upon us to do our part to care, respect and conserve these fragile islands and marine eco-systems for our generations to come just as our ancestors have done for our generation. This is a covenant that is sacrosanct and timeless that we must be beholden to in a symbiotic world that we share with living nature.”
Simon Pentanu Uruna Bay Retreat – Pok Pok Island Bougainville
An island of the gods, resplendent in its natural beauty at sea, mimicking a miniature land and forest that Moreha (Bougainville ) is, beatified by its beauty, rich in its colours and alluring with everything it displays, from its crab-like shape with its claws harbouring it’s azure deep sky blue kakunibarra (lagoon) and the beach and trees seeming like a longish body of the crustacean seen from above.
There are more than a dozen small uninhabited islands that dot this stretch of east coast along Central Bougainville, like from Vito past Takanupe and its sister island Kurukiki nearby, and past the Zeunes where the planes make their approach to land at one of most picturesque beachside airports at Aropa.
Most of these small islands have their own kakunibarra of some size, shape, depth or other. But Takanupe’s kakunibarra is the most conspicuous because it is larger in surface area than the land area of the island itself. It is curiously beautiful and alive from the satellite’s view from above.
These kakunibarra teem with all kinds of fishes of the sea. They are respected by fishermen along with their tales that serve the purpose of conservation when you find out what the moral of these stories is.
Myths and folklore about places and about real life stories are passed down to serve a purpose. Many were passed down to protect and conserve the islands, its reefs and its natural but fragile environment.
It used to be you could only get to this and other islands by canoe, get enough for your needs as a subsistence fisherman and paddle back home.
If you wanted more fish for a feast or ceremony or some other important occasion you stayed overnight or longer and returned home with a canoe-full of smoked fish mixed with some fresh fish caught as you returned home. There isn’t this abundance of fish stock any more, because of the easy and more frequent forays by fishermen and others using motorized boats to get to these islands and their kakunibarra.
It must behove us and is incumbent upon us to do our part to care, respect and conserve these fragile islands and marine eco-systems for our generations to come just as our ancestors have done for our generation.