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On To Raja Ampat

sunny

13 January 2019

Time to clean up the apartment, get packed and head to the airport. Mr Blue (our driver) picked us up at 1pm for the ride to Denpasar. An hour and a half with Mr Blue is too short. We had a chance to catch up and he had a chance to try out all his new bad jokes on us.

Regarding our apartment – I didn't really explain why we stayed where we did in Ubud. Originally, we had booked a cottage at one of the guesthouses closer to the city center.. One day on FB(Facebook), I noticed a posting from a woman we met in Karimunjawa last year -a lovely Australian woman who is a travel writer. We were there on holiday and she was there for work but staying in the same guesthouse. We got a chance to chat, share meals and I'm sure a beer or two. - but I digress. She is currently back in Australia taking care of her Mom and needed someone to take care of her cat, with the offer of free accommodations in exchange. We texted back and forth and decided it would work for both of us. Her great little apartment over Made's Warung was perfect for five days. No need to cook and we got to spend time with her tiny, honey colored cat – Madu (which in Indonesian means honey). It seems we might have been in need of kitty fix. Madu hung around quite a bit and took to sleeping at the bottom of the bed at night. Staying at Sally's gave us the true feeling of “living” in Bali...which for us – is dangerous... as we have talked for years about moving there. But...right now...it's not to be, so this was a great alternative.

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But it was time for us to leave ….????

We're off to the eastern end of Indonesia for a 12 day cruise on a traditional Indonesian sailing pinisi – the Ombak Putih. The ship holds 24 passengers and a staff of about 15 – we had no idea how many passengers there would be, though we knew there is a group coming from Australia with “ASA – Australians Studying Abroad”– similar to our Roads Scholar program.

Flight there was an adventure unto itself. The flight for Sorong, West Papua leaves at 5pm via Makassar, Sulawesi. The problem was that there is an 8 ½ hour layover in Makassar. With a little research, we found an IBIS hotel right at the airport and for $30 it was money well spent.

Waiting in Denpasar was also bit of an adventure. A strong storm blew in (we found out later, associated with this storm, there was a tornado in West Java that destroyed 300 homes). We got the weak end it, which was still pretty intimidating. Waiting at the gate, I started hearing water running. Looking behind us, we noticed a deluge coming from a light fixture and a hatch in the ceiling. Must not be new to them as they got the yellow “wet floor” signs set up and proceeded to mop up...all in a days work.

We arrived in Makassar at 8pm, got settled in the hotel with a 2am wake up call and headed back for our 0330 flight to Sorong. The airport was pretty busy for such an early hour and after discussion later in our trip, we concluded maybe it has to do with the hot weather and condition of the tarmac on the runway later in the day. Just a thought!!

Arriving into the small Sorong Airport, we grabbed a taxi for the quick 2km ride to our hotel (favehotel). After a slight date faux pas (on my part) which got settled, we got settled in our lovely little room. Really nothing to do in Sorong. If there is a next time, we would probably stay in Makassar for a few days. Our big adventure for the day was turning left out of our hotel and finding a grocery. I was on the hunt for a very light rain poncho...found...13950 Rp = about 1 USD. Fortunately, the hotel had a couple of US TV channels (though I think the shows were a few years old).

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Can anyone tell me what the last photo indicates????

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14 January 2019

Up early, breakfast. Our transport to the ship arrived at 0900. We were greeted by the smiling face of Nita, one of our tour guides on the trip. She filled us in on the days events. After dropping us off in the capable hands of the crew at the harbor, she was off to pick up the last of the guests. We were transported by zodiac out to the boat. Passing boat after boat in the harbour, the Ombak Putik appeared at the outer edge of the moorings – a sight to behold.

Most of the guests had arrived earlier from either Makassar or Jakarta. We were soon to get acquainted with our shipmates for the next twelve days. Besides us, the two lone Americans, there were two Canadians (Toronto), two from the Netherlands and the remaining fifteen were Australasian (some with the ASA trip and others on their own).

First things....find our cabin....#9 – mid ship but right at the bottom of the stairs. There are only twelve cabins – I don't think there can be a bad one.

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We met our other tour guide...the lovely Anastasia. Both Nita and Anas are Indonesian – Anas from Ambon and Nita...from (as she would say) all over!!

First things first – safety briefing and then lunch. It appears that customs here in Sorong works at it's own pace. The crew were anticipating a quick departure...which didn't happen. While we waited for customs clearance. Option #2 – a quick dingy trip to the island of Doom. Anas had arranged pedi rickshaws for us all and it was a quick trip around the small island. I'm not sure how many Westerners come to this island but we were greeted with smiles and waves.

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Returning to the boat, we found that we were clear to leave....anchor up and “Adventure is out there!!!”

Enjoying a little libation and the sunset, it set in that we were really here...

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Before dinner, we would get the first of our talks from Jeffrey Mellefont. Honorary Research Associate, Australian National Maritime Museum. Over the next twelve days, Jeffrey will educate us on the maritime history of Indonesia, it's culture and also the journey of Alfred Russel Wallace (who traveled in these same waters and was discovering the theory of evolution at the same time as Darwin.)

Dinner was a feast, as we would find each day to be. A collection of Indonesian dishes that satisfied both the carnivores and vegetarians alike.

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Food always brings people together and over these luscious flavors we started to get know those on the ship who were also up for this adventure.

Posted by pjburke 22:15 Archived in Indonesia

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Comments

Sounds like you are finding your way and enjoying every minute of your trip! Thanks for the update!

by Brenda

Great blog, I feel like I am right there with you. What a sense of adventure you and Jim have!

by Deb

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