Saturday, 19 March 2011

Expedition cruise line gets up close with a Sepik village

Sarina Bratton surrounded by Watam villagers.
THE village of Watam on Papua New Guinea's north coast isn't easily found on a map.

Accessible only by boat, it is barely a pinprick in the dense jungle through which the ice-blue Sepik River flows. Silt oozes from the river's mouth into the Bismarck Sea like an exhalation on a frosty day.

Here a group of latter-day adventurers lays anchor and goes ashore. The subsequent encounter -- the first between the villagers of Watam and a group of Westerners -- is anachronistic against a 21st-century backdrop.

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