Today we had to get up by 9am the latest but it was a heavy rain from about 6am and I was pretty much awake from then. I only got out from the tent at 9am though. Katherine went back to Barefoot to exchange their project proposals. I warmed up yesterday’s dinner and had some brekkie. In the meantime Harry said, the owner wants 400,000 as he has to pay for the gas for the boat for Melki too. We explained we have no more than 300,000 and Melki actually said it’s fine, he doesn’t want any money…. crazy. Katherine came back and we left. He drove us to manta sandy first but it was like 3 boats already full on with people so we asked him to take us to the ridge and then we will come back here. As we were driving to the ridge I saw something in the water. It turned out, it was a manta. Off we jumped, in the water, masks on and started the manta hunt. Katherine was luckier than me, she actually saw 2 of them, I only saw one quickly swimming away. I have seen mantas before, in Flores last year and they are amazing and mesmerising animals. There are 2 kinds, the white belly one is smaller (up to 5m) called the coral manta and the way bigger (up to 8m) is an all over black giant, the oceanic manta. I have seen both before and they are gigantic. They eat planktons so where you have water full of planktons, you probably find mantas around. And this water was absolutely full. As we didn’t see any more we got back to the boat and went to the ridge. Unfortunately after a half an hour swim, we didn’t see any mantas so we went back to the boat and headed to manta sandy again. On the way there I was actually thinking, the more time I spend in the water, the less I’m afraid of it. I remember how scared I was seeing these giants and every time I went into the water, I was worried about jelly fish and their stings and big animals and strange fish, etc. But today trying to find mantas… I was stung by millions of mini jellies, swam across of hundreds of small, transparent jelly fish and I didn’t care. Katherine said that unless they have tentacles, they shouldn’t hurt. They will sting me a bit which feels like a mosquito bite but nothing more than that.
Back to manta sandy we actually managed to see some but the best ever was when we stopped at a point behind manta sandy’s little wooden house (in the middle of the water) and there we saw very close a manta train. 3 mantas after each other like little ducklings. Giant oceanic mantas. And then they swam around for a bit and left. 10 mins later they came back. It was amazing. We stayed a bit longer after they left and we even managed to see a spotted ray under water. It was very shy though. It was Katherine’s dream to see these wonderful creatures and I’m so happy I could help her see them. A month ago she had no clue who I was and she could only dream of seeing or visiting Raja Ampat and it just changed within a few mins when we first met. ☺️ But I don’t mind, I learn a lot from her and that’s good. After seeing probably the best we could we went back to the camp, I made some pasta with bolognese sauce (no meat, out from a jar) but it was actually very tasty. While we had our lunch we actually got the news from Melki that he is happy to help us with the lifts in between islands. He takes us to Gam which is our next island but the money goes for our homestay owner, which is IDR 500,000 and then Melki would come and pick us up from Gam and take us to Kri -stay with us there for the 2nights- and then drive us back to Waisai and come back here. He asked IDR 1,500,000 for all of it. We originally planned to find someone on each island but being at the moment on our new island which is completely deserted, I’m so happy we took his help. It cost IDR 500,000 more than we originally counted (we thought it would be 500,00/island) but I rather pay than stress every time if we find someone. I will have an end count how much I spent on all the transport instead of the 7million I originally anticipated. Before we left we had to pay our homestay owner. We payed IDR 250,000/2nights for the camping, IDR 300,000/boat for the manta trip, we bought water which is IDR 18,000/gallon and then some cooking oil for IDR 10,000. I also payed the IDR 500,000/ boat for the ride to Gam.
Just before we got to Gam, Melki explained that find a beach where we can camp is difficult on Gam as all the beaches are taken by the homestays. So we could find a bit more rocky part or next to Gam there is an island called Bun which is a small island and it had a homestay on it but it is closed now due to family problems. A broken homestay still means shelter but it’s nothing to compare what we thought and what it is. The homestay is completely damaged, we can not use it, however there is a very long jetty and the view from there…. it’s fantastic. There is a very old diving shop but it’s more like the skeleton of it, just the actual poles. It still has shelter though and at first we thought to stay there but it is in the middle of a million palm trees and bushes, etc which equals millions of mosquitos. Besides, I really wanted to sleep on the jetty. I convinced the guys, we took all of our stuff and here we are sitting under the sky, we set our tents which fits all the luggage and 2 people and just having a tea, a little chat and just listening the nature. No light, no phone signal, no people just us, the sea, the jetty and some fish underneath. It can not get better than this. I also have my favourite friends in the water, the fluorescent planktons. I was playing with them and Katherine actually swam with them in the darkness. And if it rains? We haven’t figured out yet how we are going to fit all 3 of us into the tent but we will have a plan I’m sure. As long as it’s not raining, we will all sleep outside, under the sky. I wish I could picture what I experience but it is very difficult (since it’s pitch black and the only thing we see is the candle we brought).
Tomorrow is a new day and I’m very excited to see what the day brings