Tribal Off the Grid Epic Adventures

Punch Magazine once profiled my firm in their magazine: Going Above and Abroad. The editor concluded the piece with this: If there are cannibals, she is going to visit!

As time passes, a mishmash of age, pandemic lockdown, wisdom and breaking body parts has me noodling a long list of must go to travel locations: Cannibals would be on the list, my National Geographic Lindblad Expedition to the Marquesas was an epic adventure, it was pre-knee replacement which potentially downed me from days of canoe paddling a leafy river to see the Mudmen of Papua New Guinea, bouncing into a Zodiac and hiking to Tigers Nest in Bhutan!

Relish a few of the adventures on the top of my list with one of our extreme adventure teams.

This 14-day adventure itinerary covers the Highlands and remote areas of the Upper Sepik. You’ll have the chance to meet the legendary Mudmen, observing their rituals, and trek up the country’s highest peak. A four-day canoe adventure will take you past the incredible sights and sounds of villages and forests that line the country’s longest river, the mighty Sepik River. A Sepik canoe adventure includes spending several nights in humble abodes in local village. Finish off with some beach time in the white sands of Louisia.

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The Sepik River occupies a special place in Papua New Guinea. It is probably the most known region in the country. The people along the river depend heavily on it for transportation, water and food.


Crocodile eggs are a precious commodity together with crocodile skins, highly praised internationally for their quality. The tribes living along the Sepik River are well known for their impressive, intricately carved spirit houses with soaring gabled roofs called haus tambaran now used to debate village matters. The Sepik people are also world-renowned for their elaborate wood carvings, including shields, masks, canoes with crocodile-head prows, suspension hooks for food, spirit house posts, orators’ stools, ceremonial hooks and drums known as garamut. The carvers are greatly respected by their tribes.

I’m certain if you sip coffee at your local cafe, none of the locals will ever provide as much intrigue as these natives.

Highlights: Meet the legendary Asaro mudmen and learn about their fascinating history; Trek the country’s highest peak, all the way to its Base Camp; enjoy a languid four-day Sepik canoeing adventure; relax on the pristine beaches of Louisia; get well-acquainted with Louisia on a full-day tour, with activities that include the local Tapioca dance, visits to local villages, and a boat trip to nearby islands. Bed down for the night at Kiriwina Lodge.

Intrepid travelers send dates! My knee replacement is now at ‘intrepid’ level!

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Additional Papua New Guinea – Goroka Festival This 14-day itinerary, built around its main highlight, the Goroka Cultural Show, takes you deep into the culture of Papua New Guinea. You’ll be entertained by all kinds of varied traditional local dances put on by different tribes decked out in vibrant ancestral dress, while also meeting with local chieftains, and local villagers who will welcome you with grand smiles. You’ll arrive a visitor to Papua New Guinea, and leave a friend.

Highlights: Exclusive meetings with village Chiefs; get a front-row seat to one of the country’s most entertaining festivals; watch traditional village life as you drift by along the river in a wooden canoe; sip fresh, delicious Goroka coffee.

Enticed? There’s more! Can I tell you about the Gulf Mask Festival in PNG?
Location: The Gulf Mask Festival is held in the Gulf Province located on the southern coast of Papua New Guinea, in a small village of Toare.

While Gulf isn’t an entirely isolated province, it’s a remote region located on the southern coast of Papua New Guinea. Barely served by roads, river and sea remain the main means of transportation. But even with the sea access, small boats stay ashore for about half a year. The southeast trade winds blowing directly into the Gulf bring heavy rains, make the sea rough and the journey dangerous. This remoteness has contributed to the uniqueness of the Gulf culture.

Toare village, with its blue sea and white sandy beach, is an idyllic location. Listen for the growing rhythmic drum beating a signal to start. Proudly wearing the best of their exquisite traditional attire and elaborate masks, the dancers entertain in an assembled group.

Papuans in the Yahukimo Regency Photo attributed to Frans Huby

In PNG, each tribe has its own distinctive attire and ornaments, or bilas. The Huli are known for the wigs made from their own hair. Large round hats made of moss, plants and hair are the identity of people from the Enga province. The Western Highlanders take pride in towering feathered headgear and vivid colors of the body paint. The Chimbus are recognized by giant headdresses made of bird of paradise feathers, an ornithologist’s nightmare. The Elema, the coastal people of the Gulf province, have the trademark too, their intricate masks.

With its stylized facial features, the Gulf masks show diversity in style, shape, colors and size. Ornate, large, tall or narrow, the masks are made of natural materials. Bark cloth, known as tapa, is stretched over a split-cane frame, sewn with plant fibre and painted with natural pigments. Although large, the masks are light-weighted allowing the men to wear them for long hours. It’s a mid-day and the sun is restless. And so are the masked men, who don’t stop their frenzy dancing on the beach, with their eyes staring through masks’ tiny gaps. It feels ancient and tribal. Not so long after, the men representing characters from local legends make the public giggle and laugh with their blunders and silly gestures.

Besides the masks and clay, many men only wear bark loincloth and arse gras, a bunch of leaves stuck into a belt to cover the backside. The women aren’t more dressed up either. Bare-breasted, with big kina shells dangling on their chests and wearing colorful grass skirts decorated with small shells, they are swinging their hips to the beats of kundu, PNG traditional drums. Made from sago palms, the grass skirts are the object of pride of local women.

Websters definesIntrepid:fearless, unafraid, undaunted, unflinching, unshrinking, bold, daring, gallant, audacious, adventurous, heroic, dynamic, spirited, indomitable; brave, courageous, valiant, valorous, stouthearted, stalwart, plucky, doughty; informal gutsy, gutty, spunky, ballsy.

Such an interesting captivating Journey ! Postcards soon, I hope!

Classic Yachts – Extraordinary Setting

Two stunning offerings for your consideration: One Classic Motor Sail Yacht offering once in a life-time journeys throughout Indonesia and SE Asia from Papua and Raja Ampat, the holy grail of divers in the East, to the Spice Islands of Banda and further West to Thailand and Myanmar and the Andaman Islands of India each year, following clear skies and calm seas.

Yacht CharterThe Komodo-Flores region is a perennial favorite noted for diving, spectacular pink sand beaches, and as the native habitat of the Komodo dragon. This magnificent area has been a long kept secret for many years, but in 2012 Komodo National Park was officially voted one of The Seven Wonders of the World. The dedicated, professional crew is widely acclaimed as “best crew ever” by the frequent return guests of both of these extraordinary ships. Her dedicated crew of 12 will lead guests to little known corners of this magnificent archipelago to experience history, culture and the traditions of its people. Dive or snorkel the best reefs in the world or simply relax on miles of teak deck, sail with fair winds shaded by the magnificent, lofty rust-colored sails billowing in the wind. During the summer, she will cruise in the Flores Archipelago. Composed of a narrow rugged island grouping strung with a chain of dramatic volcanoes, the landscape within the Flores Archipelago is beautiful in an untamed way.  Each island has it’s own traditional culture, specific hand-woven textiles and even language, yet all of the people in this area still live a very traditional life of farming and fishing.

The Portuguese were the first outsiders to arrive in the early 1500’s on the search for spices and left a strong imprint of Christianity upon the islands in this area. They gave the archipelago, the name Cabo das Flores or the Cape of Flowers as the beauty of the underwater coral gardens lining the bays astounded them. This region is world renowned for diving and snorkeling due to the beauty and diversity of the corals and fishes.

Although these islands are among Indonesian’s most beautiful, very few visitors cruise these waters. Enjoy secluded bays, beaches, and scenic anchorages virtually to yourself, and be one of the few to visit the various villages. On this fully crewed charter, anchor underneath a still active puffing volcano, hike into a village to see traditional Ikat textile weaving from cotton boll to finished piece; hand spun, woven and dyed with natural dyes made from local materials. Wander long isolated beaches, littered with beautiful shells, and swim over extensive and extraordinary coral gardens. Hike up the side of an active volcano; later, relax with a fishing rod in hand as the fishing is outstanding. This is a charter location off the beaten track, unspoiled by the modern world and well worth exploring. Accommodates 6 guests.

Yacht Two. We invite you to set sail on a truly modern classic sailing vessel, which was built to the demanding high standards of German Lloyds register of shipping. A powerful hand crafted traditional wooden sailing vessel, this magnificent ship melds the best of the traditional spice island sailing vessels with all of the modern amenities and safety features one would expect in a vessel of her quality. No expense has been spared to ensure that discerning travelers accustomed to understated elegance and exquisite cuisine, discover and admire the majestic scenery, underwater wonders and fascinating artistic expression found along the fabled spice routes of South East Asia. Onboard a traditional teak 2-masted sailing ship, you will explore the little known, yet fascinatingly diverse, island cultures east of Bali. From Komodo dragons, “ikat” textiles, volcanic crater lakes to war dances, explore in-depth, the ancient cultures rimming the Savu Sea. Each dawn will reveal a new island landscape and a different culture, perhaps a gently smoldering volcano, the craggy peaks of Komodo or a sleepy native harbor bustling with traditional fishing craft and local inter- island schooners.

The private yacht sails in Indonesia from April to November every year, before re-positioning up to the West Coast of Malaysia Thailand and Myanmar, from December to March. In deciding when you want to sail, you can choose a quiet beach and dive trip in the Andaman Sea and in Komodo National Park or one of the most memorable cultural trips visiting the tribes of Irian Jaya (Papua), attending the Asmat Auction for their art, visiting the remote and rich Spice Islands and discovering the trade posts and beautiful islands visited during the height of the Spice Trade.

For beach and sailing, cultural trips or astonishing diving in Komodo National Park or Raja Ampat, Indonesia’s Eastern Islands are yours to discover.

Yacht includes five spacious cabin suites; a teak lounge and dining area surrounded by large windows, on deck dining area, and well equipped dive area. Accommodates ten guests.

Most of the islands are blessed with deserted white sand beaches, transparent turquoise waters, and stunning coral reefs waiting to be explored. Each day you will have the opportunity to snorkel, swim, relax or hike.