Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text:
Kri is my new paradise. It is a small island located in Raja Ampat, in Indonesian Papua. I lived there like a princess for a short week.
Bungalow facing the sea. White sand and deserted beach. Intense light, subdued by the palms of the coconut trees 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.
In front of it, a sandbank, which appears and disappears according to the tides. Sometimes, a boat accosts there and disembarks its passengers, tourists or fishermen. We believe to see people walking on the water.
In the axis of the sandbar, there is an islet flanked by a hut in the local fashion, made of woven coconut leaves, which serves as a shelter. On the horizon, a mountainous line, often hemmed in by clouds, which swell with rain as the day goes on.
Not a sound. Just the soft surf of the sea, the murmur of trees shaken by the wind from the sea, the crackling of 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 am not going back to Sorong with the other divers. I don't fly back the next day like them, no! I will stay in Raja Ampat!
I organized everything before leaving. Five-six days on a boat, it seemed to me very short for an exceptional destination like Raja Ampat... If I had to go so far, if I had 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 reorganized my bardas (clothes, photo equipment, diving bag), before saying goodbye to Miyo, my great diving buddy, whom I was a bit sad to leave. Then I hurriedly gave many "hugs" to the Americans forming the rest of the group of divers.
I have a light heart, a smile up to my ears. I am so, so happy to be able to stay a little longer in this incredible archipelago!
I board the dinghy where the staff has already put my bags. Cedric, our "cruise-leader" starts the engines. I cheerfully wave my hand to the others, who remain on the Black Manta. Set course for Kri Island!
I am a princess
I had booked at Papua Diving, in 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 was upgraded for free, as both resorts have the same owner. A Dutchman named Max Ammer, "pioneer" of diving in Raja Ampat. A character, an adventurer, an incredible storyteller, who has been living there for about twenty years, and whom I had the pleasure to meet during my stay.
I heard the good news about the change of resort on the Black Mantaby Cedric. Papua Diving sent a message on his cell phone, to warn me. At first, I think Cedric is joking with me. But no.
He makes me read the message: I am really going to stay at the Sorido Bay Resort! Classy. I can't believe my luck. It's a princess resort. The kind of resort I never thought I would ever set foot in. The kind of resort that didn't fit in my budget, even when I was pumped up with my big piggy bank breakage.
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. I feel like a princess when I step on the Sorido Bay Resort's pontoon. And I am welcomed like a princess by the adorable Jimmy and Julia, the managers, a couple of thirty years old, themselves divers, who teach me another very good news: I am the only customer, that week, to dive!
Apart from me, there is only one family of Dutch expats, who only do snorkeling (fins-mask-tuba). So I will have a guide for myself underwater and I will decide the program of the day...
I love it!!! 😄
I am a princess, really. Besides, it's not the first time. Last summer, already, in Komodo, I was more than varnished, with a cruise ship all to myself: Read → My princess boat
Jimmy is Belgian by origin and speaks French very well. Julia is German and understands him well too. During my stay, our conversations will be half in English, half in French. They have been managers for other luxury resorts around the world, notably in the Maldives and the Seychelles. Papua Indonesia is for them a new experience, a new challenge.
Jimmy and Julia are a nice, open, warm couple. I immediately get along with them very well.
As there are not many people that week, they regularly come to dive 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 an 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 pleasure... I am ecstatic, every morning, 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 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, one can better measure the extent of the immense reef that protects the island. I contemplate, fascinated, the coral that is 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 allow myself a moment of rest in my hammock, on the terrace of my bungalow, facing the sea, while the light decreases. Then I go back to 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 one can settle down to read or chat. I show to the Dutch my photos of the day before the dinner, taken in common at the big table of the restaurant... We sympathize.
It rained every day, I think. But mostly at the end of the day. And I love the gentle coolness of the tropical showers drumming on the resort's leafy roofs. I'm slowly getting used to the odd chuckles and squeals that come out of the foliage of the trees and the jungle around us.
Sometimes, a varan of rather beautiful size comes to roam near the bungalows. One evening, Jimmy, with a flashlight, managed to show me a couscousThese funny animals with fur and a long tail, from the marsupial family, live in trees.
I only stayed a short week on Kri Island. But these few days of relaxation and diving, in the middle of an unspoiled nature, left me a dazzling memory. I only have one desire : return to Raja Ampat !