Today was one of those travel days that we will remember for the rest of our lives. We started the day in Zodiacs with a birding cruise through the mangrove forests near the town of Agats in Indonesian, New Guinea. We saw hornbills soaring over the river and caught glimpses of various parrots, lorikeets, and lories. Then, after a quick breakfast, we journeyed to Uwus Village, a traditional village about an hour by Zodiac from where National Geographic Orion was anchored.

It started raining along the way, and we quickly pulled out our rain jackets and pushed on. As a photographer, I was excited about the rain–it can actually make for more interesting images.

We gathered the Zodiacs near the edge of the village and slowly moved toward the entrance. Then, we heard the chanting. We were greeted by dozens of war canoes filled with men in an incredible variety of traditional dress–paint, headdresses, and grass skirts. They moved toward us in the canoes with incredible balance and noticeable ferocity. With the rain pounding down, it was an incredible scene to behold.

We eventually landed the Zodiacs at the edge of the village and made our way into the muddy landscape. There, we witnessed a ceremony in which men from the village erected traditional bis poles. Our group spent time enjoying the dancing, purchasing incredible art, and taking photographs with the villagers who so graciously welcomed us into their community.

Two of our guests were even “adopted” by villagers!