Last days in Paradise

On the second day of staying on ‘bread island’ was nothing but snorkelling around. Harry didn’t feel well so he left. He went back to Waisai. Katherine and I got up a bit late so we actually had some sleep without the disturbing rain. We decided we wanted to go for snorkelling but life changed our plan. We got a couple kayaking to our mini island. They are from the US but they lived with their 4 sons in Papua New Guinea for 15 years. They recently came to Raja Ampat to help a friend out who has a resort. In fact, this guy was the first who built a community and a resort about 20-25 years ago. Before there was no tourism and people just didn’t care for their environment. They did mining, fishing with dynamite, poison, etc. All these caused lots of coral damage. He taught the locals to protect their environment, he built a resort, gave jobs to locals and educated them. Since then more and more homestays opened all around Kri island. So these two guys were just having a quick break and Katherine started to talk to them just asking generally how is the current for kayaking. One word followed the other and they said if we have time and Melki can take us, we could go and visit them in that resort which is literally a 5-10 mins boat ride to just right in front of us. I made some rice and fried eggs and after they left we had some lunch. As we enjoyed our beautiful rice -again-, we noticed that the tide is so high now, it almost reached the tent. We decided to build a wall. Well, Katherine and Melki did it in the end while I was dipping into the turquoise blue water. They built a bit of a wall in front of the tent with a little ditch, in case of water comes up that high, the wall would stop it to flow into the tent. And it actually worked. We left the island to see the Americans, Mike and Lydia just after 2pm. At the resort we had amazing chat with these 2 guys. Mike told us about the life they had in Papua, the culture, how they taught them so much. They taught them how to write and read after they developed a new alphabet for them -since they didn’t have any-, they learnt their language without books so they could help them and explained them things like medicines and education. He told us how women being treated over there which is horrible. They are basically almost equal to an animal. A husband can beat his wife or sell or even kill her,no one cares. It is what it is,they are their property. Again,since Mike and his team went there as Christian humanitarians,they thought the tribe that actually women and men are equal. It did help a lot but there are still people who wouldn’t care. They really did a great job over there. And now,they are here to help here with different types of projects,mainly protecting the reef around Raja Ampat. We had a very long chat and it was amazingly educational. Lydia told us how they raised their kids in the jungle and even they went home every sort of 3 years for 9 months,the boys want to stay in Raja Ampat because they feel closer to this place. They don’t miss the western craziness,they are ‘jungle boys’ with western education and knowledge and they love it. I think it’s just amazing how they can be so cool about it. After a long chat we went into 3 diving centres to check if Katherine can dive but they were either busy or didn’t take outsiders -as in people who didn’t stay in their resort-. After lots of mo’s,we jumped into the water and snorkelled. I actually spotted a black tip coral shark which was patrolling just underneath me. I tried to sort of sign Katherine to see it but she was far so I was swimming to her like crazy and grabbed her leg to show her. Not because I was afraid,it was sheer excitement. I saw the same shark over and over again. It was so cool. He was like 5m away from me. We also saw lots of lion fish which could be dangerous but they are beautiful. We swam into hundreds of fish feeding themselves on the surface,it was a great little snorkel spot. As it started to get dark,we went back to the mini island. Made some quick din-din and we just sat by the beach on a tree trunk with Katherine and talked for hours. I was so sad I have to leave this place. It’s wonderful. I thought 10 days will be enough but it definitely wasn’t. As we were sitting there I saw someone coming into our island. It was 2 guys. One of them was a guy from the resort we visited today. Melki must have invited them but at first I was a bit concerned that we have 3 strangers (all men) and us on this tiny island and I wasn’t sure why those guys are here for. We kept our eyes open. One of the guy actually sat next to us and tried to talk asking if we have a boyfriend (well he asked at first if we have girlfriend 😁) but soon we realised his English isn’t that good the chat quietened. After chatting by the beach,we were ready to sleep but we weren’t sure if we want to go to sleep with 3 guys being on the beach. Thankfully the 2 guys left so we were ready to sleep but just as I was about to lay down,Katherine came in and we talked an other hour or so. We actually went to bed at 2am. We saw someone else wanted to come onto the island (wasn’t sure what happened last night) but they changed their mind.
I couldn’t sleep well. I was seeing lights all night long and worried if someone comes onto the island and also was worried about the high tide. But nothing happened so I slept till 8am. By the time I got out from the tent,Kathrine was already snorkelling. I got dressed and started to pack. Melki made us lunch and we packed everything,tent,cooking stuff,our bag and was ready -not really- to leave our beautiful island with its turquoise water and white sandy beach. We arrived back to Waisai at around 11.30am, said goodbye from Melki and walked back to Una’s. Here she showed me how to make my favourite,fried bananas,so I actually made them,Katherine made tea and we had a proper ‘English/Indonesian’ afternoon tea. It was so nice. Una is amazing. She is just so sweet,I like her a lot. We exchanged manta videos and pictures and now we are trying to decide if we should go out for dinner or eat here. We are heading back tomorrow to the ‘normal’ life and I’m really not ready. After seeing so much beauty,the only thing makes me happy is to see my family and friends.

People think Raja Ampat is very expensive. It is. Everything,the food,gas, compare with other places in Indonesia. But we managed to do it in a way where we saved a lot of money. I’d say,if you don’t mind spending your time in a tent and you are happy to camp and cook your own food and just ask people around whether they can give you cheaper prices -which is possible,I’m the example-, then you can get it cheap. One thing I’d suggest,if you decide to camp,don’t go alone. Maybe take at least 1 person with you for safety reason. We realised you can almost camp anywhere in Raja Ampat,you just need to be open for different solutions. Here is my calculation. I spent 10 days in Raja Ampat and I payed for 2 people (Harry and myself) the ferry,the taxis,the food, shopping and trips and I paid for all boat rides by myself (that was the deal). I spent around £420 for 10 days in Raja Ampat including food,land transport,ferry and shopping x2 and all the boats (3million + 2million). How did I do it for this cheap? I camped,cooked my own food,shopped when needed,didn’t spend on extras such as coffee,restaurant,drinks,etc and of course asked many people to find the cheapest solution. I also had luck and Harry who could help with the language. It is possible and it’s a wonderful place to be.
So if you think you are open enough and can deal with low cost budget life for a while but can be in paradise for exchange,meet lively people and see amazing wildlife and nature, jump into it and enjoy. It’s worth it, 100%!

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