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Welcome to the Asmat - part 3

Posted by
Stephen (Canberra, Australia) on 2 May 2012 in Transportation and Portfolio.

Asmat war canoes greet our arrival on the river off Syuru Village. We could hear the war cries of the Asmat warriors while they still had their boats hidden in the mangroves waiting to ‘ambush’ us. There were over 60 canoes.

A unique display of culture. And yet the future of the Asmat - as with the whole of Papua – is less than certain. The two regions we visited on this cruise - the Asmat and Tanimbar Islands (in the Banda Sea), have populations of 70,000 and 60,000 respectively. In total, this is less than 0.05% of the population of Indonesia. Papua also has the country's richest mineral wealth. I can only hope that the type of tourism I took part in will help to sustain the traditions I was lucky enough to witness.

NIKON D5000 1/320 second F/8.0 ISO 400 105 mm

arvin from sari, Iran

Very nice ...
Water moves

2 May 2012 5:07am

Marie LC from Entre montagnes et Bretagne, France

a beautiful image report

2 May 2012 5:30am

Nigel from Avening, United Kingdom

Amazing image

2 May 2012 5:45am

Nazzareno from Rome, Italy

Beautiful composition, and their canoes are really amazing ...

2 May 2012 6:05am

Doug from Burnham-on-Sea, United Kingdom

Fantastic sight, I agree it would be good if these people could carry on living there without raping the land for its minerals

2 May 2012 6:15am

jpla from St Barthélémy d, France

Je me méfierai ! Je te souhaite une agréable journée

2 May 2012 6:22am

PRASHANT from Mumbai, India

Very strong community....love their strange costumes .

2 May 2012 6:26am

kasiaaus from Canberra, Australia

Wonderful and very interesting photo. I wonder if they will manage to retain their traditional culture...

2 May 2012 6:48am

yo from Ile de France, France

J'admire leurs pirogues... Même les enfants participent !

2 May 2012 7:14am

Sterre from Utrecht, Netherlands

Very impressive picture of these men in the canoes.

2 May 2012 7:29am

Tede from Aubenas 07, France

A very beautiful welcome, splendid series. Good day.

2 May 2012 7:35am

Sarito from Basingstoke, United Kingdom

Wonderful.. one of them have a big mustashe.. atleast it looks like mustashe..

2 May 2012 8:11am

@Sarito: I think that is a hand carved shell nose ring. Bones are also used.

Benkirane Thami from Fès, Morocco

Là, avec ce cadrage plus serré, on entre dans le feu de l'action tout en restant sur l'eau!
Bonne journée lumineuse!

2 May 2012 8:14am

Heinz from Hamm, Germany

ist schon beeindruckend diese Boote. Wunderbare Aufnahme.

2 May 2012 8:19am

Monique from Koh Samui, Thailand

I'm afraid that once they get in touch with the 'wealthy' tourists, their culture will decline like it happened everywhere else in the world. But I like looking at this photo, they really look fearsome! And the one in the middle is the medicine man or chief?

2 May 2012 8:44am

@Monique: Yes, this ‘chief’ caught my eye - but not sure what exact status he might hold in the tribe. The question of contact with outside cultures is a big issue. Indonesia has a Transmigration policy that sees people from Java paid to resettle in areas of low population such as the Asmat.

Othersideblue from Kerman, Iran

The closer you focus the more frightening it gets, they actually might be harmless but they don't look so !

2 May 2012 9:02am

Thea from Leeuwarden, Netherlands

A very fascinating shot,really !

2 May 2012 9:38am

Z from Shanghai, China

I like what you mentioned about witness...A unique culture has its own destiny like rest of the mankind does...and sometimes it's also difficult for an outsider to really understand what those people need or think..let's just witness:)

2 May 2012 9:40am

@Z: Thanks, Z. You say this very well.

Adela Fonts from Barcelona, Spain

For me it is as high in history.! I remember my classes in anthropology. Some studies that filled my life and changed my perception of things. Since that time (not too distant in time) my life has changed many things ... My soul also ... This image corresponds to many others I saw on the screen of the Faculty of History ... Wonderful essence of life and culture in it ... Thank you very much for sharing dear friend! A hug, Adela

2 May 2012 9:55am

@Adela Fonts: Thank you, Adela. I'm glad my image brought back these memories for you!

Sam from Chennai, India

Amazing. Wonderful composition and interesting information. What a beautiful welcome. Excellent, Stephen, Love it. :)

2 May 2012 10:23am

Jason Politte from Conway, AR, United States

Super image and wonderful information about these people, Stephen. I do wonder how long cultures like this can hold out for.

2 May 2012 11:00am

Jules from Drayton, United Kingdom

wonderful image

2 May 2012 11:30am

tataray from france, France

Magnifique image.... Belle série)

2 May 2012 11:36am

Jypyä Pop from Turku, Finland

It is amazing how the different ways in different parts of the world is going through. Those boats are not all stand up to a contemporary survey, but their users are probably best.

2 May 2012 11:37am

Laurette from Johannesburg - Fourways, South Africa

A marvelous capture and very intresting information. Hopefully they will be able to maintain their intresting culture.

2 May 2012 12:25pm

Lalena from Barcelona, Spain

Spectacular!!!!! Very interesting information! :)

2 May 2012 12:41pm

CElliottUK from Reading, United Kingdom

An amazing spectacle! Wow!

2 May 2012 12:49pm

Nicou from Sion, Switzerland

encore une merveilleuse scène sueprbe ces personnage sur le embarcation de bois.
belle journée

2 May 2012 12:56pm

London Caller from United Kingdom

They don't wear their koteka anymore?
Look, you tourists made them shy! ;)

2 May 2012 12:56pm

@London Caller: Worn only by highland tribes – can’t find the gourds on the coast, I guess!

Rick from Toronto, Canada

A stunning shot of a privileged encounter (especially given the uncertainty of their cultural future/longevity)... wow. Your vantage point is fantastic, too.

2 May 2012 1:27pm

Chia Teck Kim from Singapore, Singapore

Wow! Fantastic moment to remember..wonderful series!

2 May 2012 2:03pm

Photographs by M.E. from San Francisco, United States

charming composition! This series intrigues m.e.!

2 May 2012 2:18pm

amir from mashhad, Iran

nice black people and likeable sea !!!!!!!!!!!

2 May 2012 2:34pm

Steve Rice from Olympia, United States

An excellent image. Yes, let's hope their culture is preserved.

2 May 2012 3:52pm

RBL from Oxford, United States

Fantastic scene of cultural tradition, I see the younger boys sitting down and have spotted you ~ great shot and post!

2 May 2012 4:18pm

Mhelene from Paris, France

Stunning ! A great framing !

2 May 2012 4:40pm

Nfs from Tehran, Iran


2 May 2012 5:52pm

franz from Baden, Austria

they really look as if from another era completely ... minus the adidas sports shorts ... ;-))
and i second your feelings and fears ... the fate of many minority indigenous peoples is less than certain ...

2 May 2012 5:54pm

philippe from moselle, France

pas très rassurant ces gars là, avec leur costumes tribal !!!

2 May 2012 6:16pm

Calusarus from Drome des collines, France

A great report

2 May 2012 6:31pm

Eric Cousineau from Sherwood Park, Canada

It is great to see that they are still keeping up the old traditions Stephen! A wonderfully colourful and interesting shot! ;-)

2 May 2012 6:56pm

Phil Morris from Saskatoon, Toronto, Canada

You need some music to go with this photo - Try this Stephen


2 May 2012 7:52pm

Steven from Chicagoland, United States

Looks like someone spotted your camera and decided to look right through your lens! Great capture with an informative narrative!

2 May 2012 9:37pm

Elaine Hancock from Rockville, United States

Great shot! The chief has such interesting ornamentation. It seems like it will be only a matter of time before they become swallowed up by modern civilization. I just hope that they can continue to pass their culture on to future generations.

2 May 2012 10:47pm

john4jack from Corvallis, Oregon, United States


2 May 2012 11:43pm

Wild Mustang Photography from Carlisle, Massachusetts, United States

A wonderful capture and composition! Interesting shot!!!!

2 May 2012 11:46pm

Mariana M. from Waterloo, Canada

Great shot. Somehow I do not feel calm looking at them ... I am sure I would be afraid to be closer to them ...

3 May 2012 2:28am

Becky from los angeles, United States

wow - this is just great!

3 May 2012 3:48am

peter.K from blue mountains, Australia

nice detail with this closer image, i like the little kid staring you down...

3 May 2012 4:52am

JMS* from Chonburi, Thailand

On se croirait revenu au temps anciens...très anciens!

3 May 2012 7:26am

Hamid from Tehran, Iran

Nice Series!

3 May 2012 9:42am

1/320 second
ISO 400
105 mm