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.