Calm before the Storm

Papua canoe

Papua canoe

Mark Anstice and crew land on the beach

Mark Anstice and crew land on the beach

In June 2007 we landed in Jayapura, West Papua at the start of a four month expedition. I was heading up an expedition to make a series of films (called Living with the Mek: The adventures of Mark and Olly) for Travel and Discovery Channel. I’d been planning this trip for months. Our goal was to seek out then live with mysterious Mek mountain tribe (if they’d let us).

There was a lot to do before we headed inland. We had to organise plane loads of supplies and make all the final preparations to allow our group of fifteen or so to be virtually self sufficient in the mountains for four months.

There is no doubt we were all nervous. No matter how many precautions we’d taken, the mountains of West Papua are fraught with dangers. We planned on managing just one mile a day as we searched for the tribe.

To acclimatise and rest up before the expedition got fully underway, we organised a day out on local canoes to a remote island west of Santani. On the way back at dusk, we hit a boiling shoal of tuna. The boatman hooked one and that evening we ate a last supper of fresh raw tuna marinated in lemon juice. It was a perfect end to the day and exactly what we needed before we headed into the uncharted mountains.

Canoe outrigger

Canoe outrigger

Tuna shoal boiling to the surface

Tuna shoal boiling to the surface

Boatman with freshly caught Tuna

Boatman with freshly caught tuna


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