We sailed up the river in the misty dawn this morning to anchor mid-river near the village of Syuru. Time for croissant and coffee on deck before going ashore.
In our zodiacs, we proceed in V-formation to meet an advancing party in Asmat warrior canoes that set-out from the shore to the beat of drums and much noise from all the villagers lining the river bank..
This South Papua province of Indonesia is one of the most remote and mysterious regions of the world. This Asmat region is the realm of headhunters and cannibals; and where Michael Rockefeller Jr disappeared, feared eaten, in the 50’s.
I feel incredibly privileged to have the opportunity, not only to witness a traditional welcome with Asmat warrior canoes rowing-out to greet us mid-river in our zodiacs, but also to walk among the people of Syuru village (in Indonesian West Papua) and feel so welcome.
A true National Geographic moment. Ponant is operating these cruises in conjunction with National Geographic. We are lucky enough to get to live the dream.
Another happy moment is seeing the captain take his own zodiac up to the village and invite children to come for a spin. (A ‘Pope Francis’ moment, albeit by a Frenchman in a zodiac?)
The affable Captain Michel Quioc is than more than happy to rub shoulders with the village Chiefs and pose for photographs.