The sun is shining in Manokwari… well at least metaphorically if not physically. Simon is getting stronger everyday although small jobs and physical activity still take it out of him. For example the generator which he pulled into a million bits searching for the fuel blockage, only to find the vent on the fuel cap was blocked. Also, while he still can’t climb the palms, he can at least now open the coconuts to keep up the daily supply I’ve become accustomed to. Jean, our new crew from the US is getting into the electrolyte properties of the coconut after scrubbing the bottom of the hull – nothing at all to do with the rum…
With the swell rolling in from the ENE, and the wind on the nose it made for a bit of a slow trip with a shortage of anchorage choices. One good score was the lovely calm anchorage and friendly town in Sansapor where we made it to town in perfect timing for the local weekly soccer match. We were met at the wharf by a million smiling children and a very kind local who became our guide for the afternoon.
While the passage to Manokwari, and Jean’s first overnighter did include 30 hours motoring into the wind and current, the clear waters, whale, dolphins and huge Wahoo more than made up for it.
Our first stop in Manokwari couldn’t have been nicer, white sand beach, crystal clean water and chilled tunes from the shore welcomed us at the local weekend spot for family picnics. Before long we had many visitors swimming out to the boat – still a bit unsure of safety in Papua, the adults bobbed around in the water clinging to tyre tubes and water bottles for flotation while the curious children poked their grinning faces into every window they could, squealing with delight in between, “shhhh’s, Simon tedore” (Simon’s sleeping).
At our next stop, Mansinam Island we really knew we were in Papua. We followed a bougainvillea lined path and brightly coloured houses to tunes of the singing in church. Slowly the locals began to pass us, dressed in their Sunday best, beautiful Batik dresses and shirts with big betel nut grins.
After a stop in Manokwari town proper for supplies, we’re heading south into the famous Cendarawasih Bay where the underwater marine life is prolific and the whale sharks swim.