This post is specifically about our diving experience in Raja Ampat. We only dived together on two occasions as I came down with a bad ear infection shortly after we arrived and just as I recovered the Wooky was himself struck down with the same affliction and confined to his hammock for almost a week. We had different gripes but agreed that the diving was excellent. Continue reading →
Raja Ampat is arguably one of the finest destinations in the world for underwater exploration with a tank on your back. Despite the challenges of getting there, paying for the privilege (it’s expensive, but it is a privilege), and the sometimes tricky diving conditions (unpredictable currents and some questionable equipment standards), and even taking into account our overall experience (which was not particularly positive) we cannot deny that it has got to be up there with the world’s best diving experiences. The diving is amazing (what we saw of it anyway). But what happens when we visit? We are both struck down with nasty ear infections wiping out a week of diving for each of us.
When we woke up in the morning following our journey from Banda to Kei, after a good night’s sleep, we were able to enjoy our view for the first time. Once again we were struck by the fact that you can visit as many beachside locations as you like but choosing any one as a definitive paradise is almost impossible. But if you like beaches, the Kei Islands is a definite contender.
We lucked out with the Pelni on price and timing. The Banda to Kei Pelni runs once every two weeks. It is supposed to arrive at 2.00am on Monday morning, leave two hours later and the journey is 12 hours. Not ideal, but Pelni ferries are not known for their punctuality and by early Sunday evening, word had got round that it was running late (as usual).
We loved the diving here and the Wooky took some amazing photographs of some amazing critters, some beautiful fish (when they stood for long enough, which they rarely did), lots of moray eels, some beautiful landscapes and really weird stuff. Continue reading →
We liked it so much in Banda we stayed nearly a month which passed more quickly than you can imagine and when the time came to leave we still didn’t really want to go. Although, we didn’t really do very much (apart from dive) we enjoyed every minute of it of our stay here.
The Spice Islands (or if you want to be pedantic “The Nutmeg Islands”)
Banda is all about colonial history, nutmeg and mace. It is also surrounded by azure seas, pristine and is an underwater paradise. These tiny islands are dominated by Gunung Api located in their centre, the active volcano across the bay from Bandaneira, a constant reminder of the precarious position on some fault line along the earth’s crust.
So the Wooky was confined to the hut for the first week in Saparua recovering from dengue only emerging briefly each evening to try to eat something to keep his strength up. In between checking on the patient, my time was spent swinging in one of the beach hammocks, reading or simply gazing out to sea. It was a gruelling schedule and at mealtimes I relaxed with a beer, chatted to our fellow guests and met some interesting people.
The Wooky was incapacitated with dengue fever for the first half of our stay at the simple paradise that is Putih Lessi Indah on the small island of Saparua in the Lease Islands, Central Maluku (across the water from the relatively large island of Seram). He spent the first week doing little but resting and me, well, I didn’t do very much at all, and I did it in very beautiful and peaceful surroundings.
So we found ourselves back in Bali and were resigned to spending a week to ten days here sorting out our visas. It rained almost the whole time – proper tropical downpours.
After travelling around more remote part of Indonesia it was a bit of a shock to the system arriving at Denpasar airport. It was taxi mayhem and we were pounced upon by drivers from all directions as soon as we exited the terminal.