Pisin Island – an island in Bougainville that is still growing
‘Yes’ they said, there is one island. It doesn’t have a name but they call it Pisin Island because there are so many birds there. (Pisin means bird in our pidgin language)
The following is an account a wrote of this island as part of a Travelers Guide to Bougainville.
Please read it and see the pictures at the end of the post.
Pisin Island is a white sandy coral island with some vegetation that began to appear and rise out of the sea just off the coast of Arawa in the late 1990’s.
It was only recently visited by the locals in the mid 2000’s when a lasting peace was finally achieved in the Bougainville crisis.
It will take you between 45 – 60 minutes to get there (around K200 in fuel and oil costs).
It is nesting ground for pigeons (I am not a bird expert so I can’t tell you what type they are). It is very close to several other small but well vegetated islands.
There are several interesting occurrences here that make this island worthwhile to visit.
1. Firstly, it is spectacular, with sandy white beach, thousands of sea shells and hermits crabs everywhere, ringed and sheltered from the sea by spectacular reefs (there are waves breaking everywhere). If you just want to relax, grab some sun, have a picnic it’s a great place to visit. The locals come out all this way to fish.
But be careful of the hermit crabs. If you leave any food item unattended to on the sand, they will converge on it in spectacular fashion.
2. Secondly, there seems to be something going on out here geologically. If you come early enough in the morning you will see vapor rising out of the sea and bubbles coming up.
There are also sandy shallows nearby that are rising all the time and it seems only a matter of time before Pisin Island joins with these shallows and two nearby islands. I think this area is rising out of the sea, not so much because of the reefs but due to seismic activity.
The locals think it might be a new volcano about to form here. I think that its movement by the main Bougainville Island that’s pushing this area up.
3. Thirdly, on the way here, you will pass other islands, some larger, others small. If you travel with a good guide ( I went with Camalita of Pidia Village) they will show you islands and reefs of interests.
There is one uninhabited island we passed where only a certain type of salt water fish can be found. Though it seems that it is shallow near the island’s beach, my guide explained that there is a sharp fall, like a crack in the ocean floor near the beach and this is where this fish can be found.
But you need to be a stronger diver. She explained that recently a young diver drowned here and it took several attempts to bring his body back to the surface.
There is also a reef in this area that they call Octopus reef because it has a ‘head’ and ‘eight arms’ stretching out in different directions. It’s quite spectacular when you watch waves rush into break in different directions on the reef.
I hope you get to Pisin Island. The amazing thing for me was when dolphins suddenly appeared in front of the boat and ‘escorted’ us for a good 10 – 15 minutes of our journey.
If you want to travel that way, get in touch with Bougainville Tourism or Zhon Bosco of Bougainville Experience Tours who will organize your trip with Camalita of Pidia village.