Fall in love with the Tobriand IslandsTobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea
An archipelago known as the Islands of Love is always going to attract attention. Polish anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski can take responsibility for drawing attention to the dating rituals of Trobriand Islanders. In the early 1900s he was intrigued by matrilineal courting customs of women and men of this Papua New Guinea island group where the females were actively encouraged to pursue blokes who took their fancy.
Malinowski was equally fascinated by the tradition known as the kula exchange, which remains little changed today. Men risk their lives sailing across open seas in rudimentary canoes to trade trinkets decorated with shells in a complex hierarchy of promises and pacts to improve their social status. A kula ring is formed as each receiver passes on the gift to another, creating a constantly evolving circle.
But shells are much more than trading currency – they are equally significant as decorations.
As passengers alight from the Coral Adventurer and step ashore at Kuiawa Island, shells adorn the islanders waiting on the beach. Ladies wear elaborately dyed grass skirts, their waistbands bejewelled with cowry shells. Shells dangle from beaded belts slung around wispy waists. Men’s biceps are bound with decorated armbands. Strings of shells and beads dance upon the chests of foot-stomping youngsters whose exuberant dancing ensures the culture-rich Trobriand Islands are an unforgettable destination on Coral Expeditions’ Papua New Guinea cruises departing from Cairns and Darwin.
Check the Coral Expeditions website for all details on flights
Coral Expeditions visits the Tobriand Islands on its cruises, ranging from 10 to 35 nights, taking in Papua New Guinea.