Friday, August 10, 2012

Palau Pef (Raja Ampat)

Paradise found!!!!    Palau Pef is formed from small limestone islets.   There is a new eco-resort here, built and managed by Maja, a Swedish woman.    Bungalows on the beach, cooled by sea breezes, sinks made from a solid stone, everything as natural as you can possibly get it..   We arrived for the two week maintenance closure as our luck would have it, but Maja was very welcoming. 

   When we arrived we were directed to go anchor behind the resort in a cove that is not shown on the charts.    We entered the cove between two rock monoliths and anchored in 80 feet with perfectly still water and quiet except for the chatter of jungle birds. 

 Jo, of Island Time, and I snorkeled the reef in front of the resort and we both had to say it was the best snorkel ever.     The reef system in Raja Ampat is almost pristine and the variety of hard and soft corals and fish is just awesome.  

  The weather soured on us but even on the worst day we dinghied around the coves, under mangrove arches into small lagoons and snorkeled again on a protected reef.   Could not have been better and we could have stayed there a week at least.    But duty, as it were, called us and we had to get to Sorong on Papua, Indonesia, for checkout before our visa expired.

  And here is a great way to do your work......

 As always, it's hard to say goodbye to new friends.  Hopefully, we'll see Matt and Jo of Island Time again when we get to New Zealand next year. 

We were dreading the checkout.   I imagined we would be hung up for days, arguing with officials about the export documents and dealing with corruption.   Nothing could have been further from the truth.    The customs officials actually picked us up, took us to their office, had the documents ready, even working overtime to make a couple of corrections, and then took us to port authority for clearance.   Everyone was above board and completely professional and helpful.   We were out in under 2 days.    But as we left the harbor, I noticed the boat wouldn’t go where I wanted it to go and in fact we were heading in the path of an oncoming ferry.   In this part of the world, ferries rule, and they don’t slow down or change course.   The wheel did complete circles…..the steering was broken.   Jim hurriedly went down to see what happened and quickly fixed the problem but only temporarily.    From there for the next 500++ miles, Jim had to go down every hour  and tighten one screw.    

Cruiser notes:   Anchorage at Palau Pef  (00 26 542S; 130 26.639E) 80 feet.   This place is magic, deep in a cove with jungle sounds around you.   There is a dock where you can land your dinghy, then walk on the boardwalk through the swamp to the Raja4divers resort..   Maja was closed for maintenance but welcomed us anyway, even offering us employee meals.   Jim and Matt helped her solve a radio issue she had so she gave them beers and cokes.     Internet available even.     Nice walks around the area and QUAD A snorkeling, the best ever.    Dives available at around $60 per dive.     The rooms are beautiful.  Cost to stay at this resort would be about $450 a night all inclusive (3 dives per day).

1 comment:

  1. Jim & Joy, have really enjoyed your blog as we are following just behind you! I want to comment that we did not find Pef nearly as friendly as you did. To anchor next to the island (not going ashore, not using any resort facilities) they wanted to charge us 25 Euros per person per day. With our children we have five people on board. That is more money for one night than the annual pass for the park (who advertises the island but wasn't aware of fees). I don't mind paying for a service, but what they are doing is not the norm here and definitely did not feel friendly in the delivery. We weren't wanted. It was too late in the day to move, so we left in the morning, but with a bad taste. We were happy to pick up a mooring at Mansuar for $20/night from another resort (I'm paying for a service, and it was pretty fantastic to have a mooring during the 40 kits of squall instead of 3:1 scope in the deep water!). Anyway- it was minor in the scheme of things as Raja Ampat was SPECTACULAR. We hope to see Kelaerin in SE Asia - maybe later this year?