Family Magazine

Raja Ampat: Lingering with Friends

By Behan Gifford @sailingtotem
I suppose if we were determined to tick the boxes of "things you are supposed to see and do" in Raja Ampat, we would have left our teacup anchorage after another day. But it's friends who make a place memorable, and we are having too much fun with our friends on Nalukai and Muscat to contemplate a move. Our days blend together.
The children run and swim and hours of freestyle playing and exploring, just as they should. There are endless jaunts between the boats and a small beach where they have set up camp, complete with hermit crab forts and sand castles. They can jump right off the boat to swim around to the coral garden, or just to paddle around. Siobhan provides a ferry service to Willow in her new SUP/kayak style.
Siobhan paddling Willow
A bird of prey (sea eagle?) treats us to wheeling and diving right behind the transom. He misses this one, but caught others.
missed that one!
Around the corner from our little nook, there's a beach with a few shelters used by itinerant fishermen (and the odd foreign kayaker, it turns out). It is the perfect spot to kick around in the afternoon.
There is a swing, and a line of patient children who wait their turn.
waiting patiently to swing
Fiercely competitive bocce ball breaks out.
Serious bocce game
The beach is nicely shaded for much of the day: a bonus in this heat. We string up a hammock to make the most of our pretty spot.
Swinging in the hammock
The snorkeling just off the bay is spectacular, and this side of the island is just outside the conservation area- so spearfishing is ON.  The grouper are large, and at least initially, are unfazed by our presence- excellent dinners are procured. Jeremy is a spearfishing newbie, but proves lethal. Jamie lands some beauties. I still can't reload the spear on my own- that's a problem that needs fixing!
Fish, hours from the sea, cooked on a beach fire. It doesn't get much better than that.
Fish on the grill
The firepit has a rough table and bench; with a few camp chairs added, it's the perfect place to get together for dinner. A bag of marshmallows is found in some corner of the bilge, and the kids get to have a roast.
beach bonfire
We're joined on our last night by a fisherman who paddles into the beach. He's hard for me to understand because he doesn't have many teeth, but we get that he'll use one of the shelters overnight, and is pleased to share the spot. We share our dinner with him, and Muscat give him some gas for his outboard. It turns out he's quite a long way from home but had been paddling to conserve fuel. With the generosity of those who have little to give, he insists on giving us a beautiful fish from his catch.
Visitor
Beautiful


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