Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
Kri is my new paradise. It is a small island located in Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia. I lived there like a princess, a short week.
Bungalow facing the sea. White sand and deserted beach. Intense light, filtered by the palms of coconut palms and other trees whose name I do not know. Welcome to Soriday Bay, on Kri Island. My new paradise!
At the end of the pontoon, there is a blue hole, formed by a huge ring of coral.
Opposite, a sandbar, which appears and disappears with the tides. Sometimes a boat docked there and disembarked its passengers, tourists or fishermen. We think we see people walking on the water.
In the axis of the sandbank, there is an island flanked by a hut in the local fashion, made of braided coconut leaves, which serves as shelter. On the horizon, a mountainous line, often hemmed in with clouds, which swell with rain throughout the day.
No noise. Just the gentle surf of the sea, the murmur of the trees agitated by the sea breeze, the sizzling of the insects and the songs of birds.
Yes, life is hard ...
Of Black Manta at Kri Island
Return to March 5, 2012. My cruise-diving on the Black Manta is over, but I'm not going back to Sorong with the other divers. I'm not flying back the next day like them, no! I'm staying at Raja Ampat!
I made all the arrangements before I left. Five-six days on a boat seemed like a very short time for an exceptional destination like Raja Ampat... Even if I have to go so far, even if I have to break my piggy bank, I might as well make the pleasure last a little longer! So I decided to extend my stay, but on land, in a resort.
I reorganize my bardas (clothes, photo equipment, splash bag), before saying goodbye to Miyo, my great diving buddy, whom I'm still a little sad to leave. Then I hastened to distribute many hugs to the Americans forming the rest of the group of divers.
I'm light-hearted, smiling up to my ears. I'm so, so happy to be able to stay a little longer in this incredible archipelago!
I'm boarding the dinghy where the staff has already dropped off my bags. Cedric, our cruise-leader, is launching the engines. I happily wave my hand towards the others, who stay on the Black Manta. Set course for Kri Island!
I am a princess
I booked at Papua Diving, at Kri Island Resort. But it is closed for the week, for various maintenance work. No big deal ... Instead, I'll stay at much more classy Sorido Bay Resort neighbor!!!
Yes. I've been "upgraded" gracefully, because both resorts have the same owner. A Dutchman by the name of Max Ammer, "pioneer" of diving in Raja Ampat. A character, an adventurer, an incredible storyteller, settled there for twenty years, and I had the pleasure of meeting during my stay.
I learned the good news about the resort change on the Black Manta, by Cédric. Papua Diving sent a message on his mobile phone, to warn me. At first, I think that Cédric makes a joke, that he jokes. But no.
He makes me read the message: I'm really going to stay at the Sorido Bay Resort! Classy. I can't believe how lucky I am. It's a princess resort. The kind of resort I never thought I'd set foot in. The kind of resort that wasn't in my budget, even when I was pumped to the max with my big money-breaker.
The kind of resort where there is all the comfort that can dream of a paddler weighed down with fragile technological equipment and practicing underwater photography: huge air-conditioned bungalow, with a work surface fitted out for rinsing the watertight box and equipped with electric sockets to recharge the batteries, hot shower, king-size bed, wifi, fridge, safety-box, staff with small care ... Raaaahhh....
Anyway, anyway. I feel like a princess when I set foot on the Sorido Bay Resort pontoon. And I am greeted like a princess by the adorable Jimmy and Julia, the managers, a couple of thirty year olds, themselves divers, who tell me another very good news: I am the only client, that week, to dive!
Apart from my little one, there is only one family of Dutch expats, who only snorkel (fins-mask-snorkel). So I will have a guide for me alone under the water and it is I who will decide the program of the day ...
I love it!!! 😄
I'm a princess, really. Besides, it's not the first time. Already last summer in Komodo, I was more than glazed over, with a cruise ship all to myself: Read → My princess boat
Jimmy is Belgian by origin and speaks very good French. Julia is German and understands it as well. The time of my stay, our conversations will be half in English, half French. They have been managers for other luxury resorts around the world, including the Maldives and Seychelles. Indonesian Papua is a new experience for them, a new challenge.
Jimmy and Julia are a nice couple, open, warm. I get along very well with them right away.
As there aren't many people that week, they regularly come diving with me. Natan, who is from the area, is my guide for most of the dives. With him, I feel safe underwater, I can take my pictures quietly. He has his eye on everything!
After Miyo and Cedric, on the Black MantaSo I'm still making new friends here on Kri Island ... I often say, solo trip is not synonymous with loneliness, quite the contrary!
Luxury, calm and voluptuousness
Obviously, this princess stay was an enchanted parenthesis. A dream. Enjoy all the modern comfort or almost, in the middle of this wild archipelago, is an unheard of luxury. So I savor, blissfully.
Luxury, calm and voluptuousness... Every morning, I rave about the fabulous view that I discover from "my" beach.
To take pictures, I venture once barefoot on the pontoon, until the burning of the wooden slats heated by the sun forces me to run... Ouch, always put on your flip-flops to go on the pontoon!
Fortunately, the coralline sand of the beach, so white, so fine, never burns his feet.
At low tide, the extent of the immense reef protecting the island is better measured. I contemplate, fascinated, the coral outcropping, flush with the surface.
We see schools of small fish playing around the pillars, perfectly visible from the pontoon. Juvenile batfish live here, at the edge of the blue hole, they are at the same place every day.
Every evening, after the dives, I give myself a moment of rest in my hammock, on the terrace of my bungalow, facing the sea, while the light decreases. I then join the main building, at the time of the aperitif and I offer myself a Bintang, the Indonesian beer. There is a living room with sofa and armchairs where you can sit and read or chat. I show the Dutch my photos of the day before dinner, taken together at the big table of the restaurant ... We sympathize.
It rained every day, I think. But most often at the end of the day. And I love the cool tropical raindrops drumming on the leafy roofs of the resort. I gradually get used to the weird chuckles and squeaks that come out of the foliage of the trees and the jungle around us.
Sometimes a monitor of fairly good size comes rode near the bungalows. One night, Jimmy, with a flashlight, managed to show me a couscous, those funny fur and long-tailed animals of the marsupial family that live in the trees.
I was only on Kri Island for a short week. But these few days of relaxation and diving, in the middle of a still virgin, preserved nature, left me a dazzling memory. I have only one desire: return to Raja Ampat !