Harry West OAM, one of the great kiaps, dies in Sydney at 92
The Takuan beauty of Lake Loloru

Madang’s ‘Robinson Crusoe’ cave – straight from the movie


A faint squeak emanated from the overgrowth. Through the drooping bush vines and some thick scrub I could see a dark slit within the mountain of rocks.

An alluvial trench revealed the waterless path of a stream originating from somewhere within the rocks. We followed the bed of the stream as a bush track and, as we got closer, the slit turned into the bigger opening of a cave.

This was the famous scene from the Robinson Crusoe movie shot in Madang. The spot where Robinson Crusoe popped up to save his native friend, Friday, from cannibalism.

We skirted a huge boulder just inside the entrance. The air inside was moist and cool, and the rocks were covered with algae. Apart from the light filtering in from outside, it was pitch black.

Glistening white stalactites reached down 15 meters from the cave roof. From below, marble white stalagmite stretched as high as three tall men. Where they met, they formed a giant beast’s jaw.

Was this a real cannibal hide out? It felt real. I shivered as my right foot slithered over something slippery in the alluvial clay. My eyes couldn’t see my path.

Uninvited came the repellent odour of bats. A single squeak from afar penetrated our brains. As we moved closer, the squeaking and screeching intensified from the cave roof above.

I couldn’t see an inch away without the aid of a mobile phone torch.

There was another burst of squeaking and chirping. Eek! Eek! Eek!

Then the sound of flapping wings just above our heads. Whap! Whap! Whap!

I closed my eyes. If they were vampire bats I would die of lost blood in the blink of an eye.

Something in liquid form was now dripping on our heads.

The guide told us it was fresh water but I had the strong feeling it was bat urine. It was a contrast with the beautiful rock patterns high above my head that I could see with the aid of my torch.

Someone in the group tasted the droplets of liquid. “Hey, guys, it’s pure water.”

I wanted to laugh but held back. The woman could have just tasted bats urine. She would survive if we got lost in the cave for a week.

Our tour guide stopped. There was a pool of water like a swimming pool just in front of us. He instructed us about how to cross the pool on some rocks that provided stepping stones. The bats continued with their deafening squeaks and squawks.

We saw light ahead. It was another entrance to the cave. And then we were outside in daylight again.

“This is the where Robinson Crusoe shot the leader of the cannibals in the movie,” the tour guide said. I stood on the spot. William Takaku, in the role of Friday, had been tied here waiting to meet his fate.

Right here in Madang Province, we had just experienced what we watched in the Robinson Crusoe movie.

And I had a new story to tell the fans of the movie.

Making our way through the woodland to the nearest village, I couldn’t hold back a smile.

I couldn’t wait to load my experience on to Facebook.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)