Today, we arrived in Jayapura, the largest city in West Papua, Indonesia. As National Geographic Orion approached the port, drums, dancing, and song greeted us. All passengers had cameras out and smiles on for the warmest welcome to the second largest city on the second largest island in the world. Locals offered a joyous display of authentic enthusiasm as we arrived.

We ventured out of Jayapura proper to a small village on the outskirts of town. Mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons all came out to see the first ever cruising vessel to visit their village. Music played as we made our way through town in a true spectacle of authenticity. Some guests purchased handmade crafts, as others took endless selfies with the children. It was a cultural immersion to remember. An hour and a half seemed to go by in ten minutes and a week all at the same time.

We set sail out of Indonesia now, crossing the border into Papua New Guinea. It is time to explore the eastern half of the massive island that is New Guinea.