Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the strange sentences and the funny mistakes that could gave been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here PetitesBullesdAilleurs.fr
" So ? Tell! "Tell Raja Ampat, not so simple. I feel like coming back from the end of the world. I do not know where to start ...
Back to Papua
Above, the spectacular viewpoint on the islets of Fam, emblematic of the Raja Ampat landscapes... We can see Otto, my super Papuan dive guide, and my buddy Sarah.
Raja Ampat are karst rock crumbs covered with primary forest in the middle of a sea of coral. It is an archipelago of Papua, ruled by Indonesia. It is a nature (still) preserved (but for how long?) Where the National Geographic comes to film sharks and manta rays. It is a biodiversity paradise for divers eager for underwater wonders.
To reach the island of Kri, in Raja Ampat, I traveled 14,994 km exactly from Rennes, according to the site Tripline with which I drew the itinerary below. The end of the world.
In January 2015, nearly three years have passed since my very first trip to Raja Ampat. The archipelago is located in West Papua, in the far east of Indonesia. I dream of going back there. That's where I did the most beautiful dives of my life.
I take the plane a few days after the attacks against Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher of the Porte de Vincennes in Paris. After the horror, I have in my line of sight two weeks of vacation and carelessness.
This departure makes me the effect of a balm after these terrifying events. There is something soothing to contemplate the Earth from above, to glide over the time zones at night, to leave one world for another. The iPhone is transformed into moment sensor.
It's a long journey, then. It starts in Rennes station, with the TGV that takes me directly to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. About 3 hours of travel.
First aerial section: Paris-Jakarta via Dubai on Emirates Airlines. About 14 hours in the air and a short stop in the middle. Upon arrival, I planned a night of rest near Jakarta airport before taking off again the next day for Papua.
Second air journey: Jakarta-Sorong via Makassar on Garuda Airlines. Nearly 6 hours in the air with a stop a little longuette in the middle.
I arrive in Sorong at dawn. There is only about a fifteen minute drive to the pier and an hour and a half of fast boat crossing to reach my goal: Kri Island.
I am often asked the question of the time spent in transport ... For this trip, ladle from Rennes, it is about 24 hours in all. With stops and if we agree a night of rest, it takes a total of two days to rally Raja Ampat from Europe! But it's worth it.
During the crossing between Sorong and Kri, a school of dolphins crosses our path, like a happy omen. When the familiar triangle of Kri begins to become clear on the horizon, I do not hold it anymore!
I'm going to find the island I've been dreaming of for so long months. I will see again the pontoon of Sorido Bay Resort and his incredible blue hole in the middle of the coral. And above all, this fabulous, extraordinary, unique profusion of life under water. Raja Ampat, finally!
A brief historical-political reminder: the western half of the island of New Guinea, once colonized by the Dutch, was annexed by Indonesia in 1963. The Indonesians acted as invaders and the army committed massacres. A Papuan separatist movement continues to take action and the Indonesian authorities do not hesitate to brutally repress any demonstration, even peaceful. Just recently, in 2017, almost twenty years later the Biak massacre (1998), the Indonesian military and police have carried out mass arrests in Nabire and Sentani, whilea petition for West Papua tries to make the voice of the Papuans heard on the international scene. I close the parenthesis, but when we go there as a tourist, we must be aware that the region is unstable and not quite a "paradise" for everyone ...