Ridiculously Illogical Folklore
The folklore behind Raja Ampat is as mythical and mysterious as the name suggests. Once upon a time, King Waikew found six eggs in Waigeo, five of which broke and four of them became the Kings of four different islands, namely, Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool. (You could Google to find out what happened to the remaining two eggs.) Sounds ridiculous? Yes I absolutely agree. The word “ridiculous” is one word that I’d like to use to describe the experience in Raja Ampat and almost everything else I’ve seen over there.
Ridiculously Long Journey
The brightly-lit night skies of Singapore disappeared in the darkness as we were lifted off into the sky. Jakarta and Makassar stopovers were a whirl. Stepping out of the plane at Makassar, we were greeted with the morning sun’s first streaks of light. It was a breathtaking display of radiant colors; a prism of bright streaks of red, pink, and orange, creating a perfectly blended canvas. Arrival at Sorong the next day, it was a mix of relief and excitement.
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] Ridiculously Comfortable Boat
I love stories. MV Putiraja is one boat with a story to tell. It is a beautiful, classic Indonesian Pinisi that was originally used to transport cargo. Under the loving hands of Ken and Jo Wiedenhoeft, it was transformed into one that has carried the family across the oceans on diving adventures, and one that has brought numerous divers to the exotic places that existed in their dreams. Each cabin is fitted with a private bathroom, there’s a cozy lounge area on the second deck, and a communal dining area. The kitchen is my favourite place, chatting with Jo and checking out the utensils and appliances, asking her about cooking stuff, about diving in Indonesia while shares the stories of the boat and the family with me. Every dish that is served is wholesome goodness, with no MSG, just lots of love and fresh ingredients. It was home away from home.
Ridiculously Wonderful Crew
Under the water, the diving crew are the ones that make the experience whole. They are mostly native Papuans.The ratio was a comfortable 4:1. The coolest thing that I’ve yet to figure out is how good they are at spotting pygmy seahorses. I requested to see a pygmy seahorse every single dive, and somehow, they can find one for you. Those tiny little things that clung onto the corals, that are of a ridiculously small size of probably 0.5mm? It is amazing. I was obsessed with trying to find one on my own for the subsequent dives after the first one, but alas, no luck. And somehow, natives are just natural with music. Folk songs about Raja Ampat along with the strumming of the Ukulele and guitar after the day was just… magical.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
Ridiculously Amazing Dives
Every dive has a surprise waiting for us. There is one Wobbegong almost every single dive! The most memorable dive personally was the one at “Y Reef”. Now, you must be wondering what the big deal is with a coral reef. We’ve read so much about the disintegration of coral reefs all these while and coral bleaching. And it is true. If you have watched one of those promo videos about Raja Ampat, you’d have seen the coral reefs featured within; they are underwater canvases of the perfect blend of colours, masterpieces created by Mother Nature. Table Corals that spread to almost two metres, gorgonians in a paraphernalia of colours acting as a haven to macro creatures, anemones that swayed gracefully with the waves, as if they were playing hide-and-seek with the clownfish. Occasionally, a school of fishes swim by, encircling you in their embrace before moving on. The glistening sun rays shone through the waters and hit the reefs, forming curtains of scattered crystal tassels in the water. It was absolutely surreal. There is a certain magical feeling that I do not quite know how to describe it when the only thing that you see is the expansive blue waters around you as the boat cruises in the ocean.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]A Ridiculously Lucid Dream
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream —
Lingering in the golden gleam —
Life, what is it but a dream?
– Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]All photos used in this post are credited to Andrew Fuentes.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]