Monday, December 11, 2017

Waisai musings

Anchorage near Kabui Pass on the way to Waisi
We stopped at Waisai for a couple days to get some provisions. While there, we enjoyed some tasty, cheap eats and took advantage of the availability of Internet and ice-cream. As in Sorong, we (mostly Matt) attracted a lot of attention everywhere, with calls of 'Mista! Mista!'

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Raja Ampat Pictures

Bluefin Trevally
We're currently in Waisai for a couple days, getting some fresh produce and enjoying a bit of 'civilization'. Here are some pictures from our time so far in Raja Ampat.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat is renowned for diving. It's also a huge area with relatively few people. So far, we have been to a couple of spots in Wayag and an isolated anchorage called Uranie. Any one of these anchorages could be used as a base for weeks upon weeks of diving. The other day, we were with our friends on Field Trip, talking about our cruising experiences (they have been out six years to our five). We all marveled at how many more cruising boats there were in the U.S. and Caribbean than in this neck of the woods. Here, there are live aboard dive boats, fishing boats, and tourist speed boats. We even met some of the crew from the jaw-dropper Octopus, owned by Paul Allen of Microsoft fame. But, besides each other, we have seen only three other cruising boats in the month or so that we have been in Raja Ampat.

True to its reputation, the diving has not disappointed. The variety and number of coral and fish is impressive. In many cases, it seems the best diving corresponds with strong currents. It is good to have two boats of certified divers and two dinghies so that we can coordinate the best way to approach various dives, including having someone sit in the dinghy during some dives (thanks Mary Ellen and E!).

On one recent dive, Matt and Mark on Field Trip got a good long look at a wobbegong shark who patiently sat still like a well behaved dog while Matt clicked off photo after photo from just inches away. Unfortunately, Matt's footage was lost when the Faux Pro (an Akaso--a less expensive Go Pro-like camera) went missing somewhere between when Matt hooked it onto his BCD and when he got back to the boat. The camera wasn't expensive but finding a replacement in these parts isn't going to happen. I'll save the story about the expensive Ikelite camera housing and strobe debacle for another time. Let's just say that Ikelite is a bad word around here lately.

Since Sorong, we have celebrated Thanksgiving and Mark's tenth birthday. We're waiting to hear from a haul-out facility in Indonesia before we decide if and when we go to Darwin. Something as simple as a price quote gets to be very complicated without a cell phone signal and not speaking the local language.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Idiot Tax

The first replacement Automatic Voltage Regulator
Our friend Matt Myren refers to The Lottery as the 'Idiot tax.' We apparently have our own version of the 'Idiot Tax' on Perry. Basically, it's the extra money (and time) we spend because we are too optimistic about how well any given boat project will go (and consequently how long it will take and cost). But moreso, we really need to learn that if it ain't (completely) broke, don't try to fix it.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Around Sorong

Sorong is not a picturesque city, but it has a lot of energy. It is our first stop in 'Asia' and the differences with the Pacific Islands we have frequented in the last couple years are a shock to our systems. There is much more of everything: supplies, cars, roads, people, pollution, garbage.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Tricks for Treats

Conrad is Napolean (I think the others are self-explanatory).

Halloween this year was in the middle of our long haul from Papua New Guinea to Sorong. We had been sailing during the day and stopping at night to avoid the logs that had wreaked havoc on our propeller and engine. We were with our friends on Field Trip again and had hoped to have another beach party like we had the previous year. The beach we found had a great surf but was all but nonexistent at high tide.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

How much does it cost to swim with whale sharks?

Mark with a 'small' whale shark
On the journey from Vanimo to Sorong, we visited Cenderawasih Bay, where big fishing platforms/boats called Bagan attract whale sharks. We got to swim with a couple of 'small' ones that were about 12 feet long. The fishermen threw little baitfish on top of us as we swam in the water so that the sharks would come right up to you. It was disconcerting to see a huge mouth headed for your face, even if it wasn't filled with big teeth.