AUSTRAL, March 11th, 2017, Jayapura, IndonesiaPosted on Tuesday 28 March 2017
By Mark WATSON
Jayapura City (Indonesian: Kota Jayapura) is the capital of Papua province, Indonesia, on the island of New Guinea. It is situated on Yos Sudarso Bay (formerly known as Humboldt Bay).
From 1910 to 1962, the city was known as Hollandia and was the capital of a district of the same name in the North East of West New Guinea. It was briefly called Kota Baru & Sukarnopura before assuming its present name in 1968. The literal meaning of Jayapura, as of Jaipur in Rajasthan, is ‘City of Victory’.
The northern part of Dutch New Guinea was occupied by Japanese forces in 1942. Allied forces drove out the Japanese after amphibious landings near Hollandia, from April 21st, 1944. The area served as General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters until the conquest of the Philippines in March 1945. Over twenty U.S. bases were established & half a million US personnel moved through the area.
Our day started out wonderfully again with a dance troop performing for us on the dock. Already the mixing of cultures, both Indonesian & Papuan was apparent. This group performed a high-energy welcome to our great delight. Each dancer had a prominent bird of paradise as the central feature of their head dress
After clearance from the Indonesian officials that came on board, we split up into small buses and we were off for the day. We are used to feeling important on the L’Austral and today even more so, because at the front of our convoy we were treated to a police escort! The local buses took us from the coast up to Sentani Lake. Here the expedition team helped us into the local long boats; curious vessels of varying seaworthiness.
After we all got our balance in the small boats it was off across the lake to Assey Island. On the way, we zipped past a stilt village on one side off the lakes. The very excited children waving & jumping into the water made wonderful photos opportunities. Quite unique to the island were the bark painting that the Assey Islanders had produced.
There was ample opportunity to purchase some of this unique artwork.
When our visit was finished we once again braved the local boats, which safely delivered us to back to the shore & the Yougwa Restaurant, reportedly a favourite of the president of Indonesia. We then boarded the buses & headed back to L’Austral. We had many miles to go before we reached our next Expedition stop (Raja Ampat) so we had to get under way.