I met with Tertius (the operator of Kayak 4 Conservation) today to go over my first trip.  He was very nice, and originally from South Africa. He’s called this place home for 3 years now. He was very helpful explaining the routes and gave me some good pointers.

I’ve decided to go on a shorter trip at first. It should take me 4 nights. My previous guide Ranny, asked me if I wanted to help her with a larger group on the 18th. I couldn’t pass that up so I agreed (yes man). Once I’m finished with that tour, I’ll hop back on the kayak for a week trip. The kayaks are fully booked afterwards.

I was able to leave my larger backpack at my previous homestay. It’s too large to fit in the kayak compartments. So I grabbed my necessities, put them in a large black garbage bag and off I went. The first leg is actually the longest between islands. I believe it was between 3-4kms. The kayak was a bit more wobbly then I imagined it would be. It took awhile to get comfortable but 4kms will do that. I made it to my first destination with no issues. Getting in and out of the kayak is the hardest part. I am relieved to have made my first crossing, from here on out I’ll be able to hug the coastline.

I left Kordiris en-route to my next homestay. I was given a map which helps with navigation. It’s somewhat outdated though, so the homestays listed may never have been built, or were built and aren’t maintained. This area is the wild-west of hospitality. Tourism and western customs are still unusual to the locals. For instance the concept of having three meals a day needs to be explained. Traditionally, Papuans ate once a day, which usually turned out to be early afternoon after their daily morning hunt.

The kayaking today was pleasant. The ocean was calm and no rainclouds to be seen. The area is ideal for kayaking if you can withstand the heat. I think 4-5kms were covered today.

I saw what looked to be a homestay beside a small town. I paddled up and asked a woman if it was a homestay. She said yes, but the place was deserted. No visitors or employees to be seen. Then a gentleman walked over and explained as best he could that Maria (the owner) was in Wisai. I got the feeling it was still okay to stay.

I saw the gentleman again after a snorkel and asked how much to stay the night (previous experience has proven it’s better to agree to a price before any service to reduce awkward and frustrating situations later). He gave me a figure that was twice the amount of my previous homestay. It didn’t seem right, and I didn’t even know if this person worked here. I told him what I paid at the last homestay. If I can’t stay for that amount then I’ll find somewhere else to go (all these figures were written in the sand). He agreed, the price was fine.

This homestay has a lot of potential. The accommodations are spacious, however it looks as though no one has stayed here for quite some time. The homestay consists of three bungalows along a dock. Each bungalow has a beautiful terrace with steps reaching the water.

I walked up to the main building when it started getting dark. This is usually the time a generator is turned on so guests can charge their devices. It was completely dark now and I was wondering if these people had forgotten about me. I finished my water earlier today. I needed to refill it for tomorrow.

Finally I see a light coming towards me… dinner! It consisted of a large bowl of rice and and a fish about the length of my index finger. Thankfully I wasn’t too hungry. A couple of 10 year old boys sat down to watch me eat.

With only my headlamp for light, I tried my best to communicate with them. I’m sure they had no idea what I was saying but we still managed to share some laughs and smiles.

I gave them the rice after a few bites. They seemed very happy about the offer as they devoured it. They both walked me back to their house so I could charge my phone for a moment. This was not your average homestay, but I enjoyed it none the less. There were many weird moments; a trip into town, and some laughs for half the price!

As I was walking back to my bungalow along the dock I noticed the stars. This was the first time I can really look up for a moment and stare. So I laid on the dock and enjoyed the show. The only sound to be heard were bats flying all around – clicking, trying to find their next meal.

I still can’t believe I am here.

Subsequent original blog posts listed below:

Click to read – Air Conditioning

Click to read – Plans Change

Click to read – Important Contacts

Click to read – Imagination

Click to read – Clean Raja Ampat

Click to read – Success

Click to read – Farewell Raja Ampat

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