Our trip to Jayapura is colored with village life. We visited island after island of the kindest and most gentle people we have met. A surprise, as at first glance the Papuans dark skin, curly mops and incredibly strong bodies cut an intimidating figure. Wherever we sailed, we were greeted by a dugout with cries pointing to the best anchorage and assurances that it “ Dis ini aman” (Here is safe). Our days were filled with laughter.
Here are a few glimpses of some of the incredibly humble, happy and gentle Papuans we met along the way.
Our days in Kapung Warosa were filled with a steady stream of visitors. Children are the same wherever you go, and they all managed to find small scratches to get plasters.
Incredibly poor, most of the children were running around in 4th and 5th hand clothes, if at all and often gender was difficult to decipher with baby boys wearing pink frills. Max and Nadine’s baby clothes were much needed and greatly appreciated!
Max & Nadine are our lovely previous crew from Germany who brought a huge Maori suitcase all the way from Europe of donated childrens clothes that we’ve steadily been distributing for the last few months – it’s been a fantastic idea – wherever we go and one child gets some clothes, steadily all the children are brought out for a treat too – seeing these children wearing nice clothes is a real pleasure.
One of my favourites was P. Wakde where we were befriended by Macolod, we were all taken in by his gentle manner and tales of the islands history. A colourful history too as we discovered when Macolod and his friend Victoria kindly showed us around the island. We found Japanese gun boats riddled with bullet holes. An old overgrown runway used by both the Japanese and then the allies during the war. They even had a single dog tag from an American soldier. The island has plenty of bird life and even spotted cous cous.
We managed to discover WWII wrecks around the island with the help of drawings in the sand. Unfortunately visibility was poor due to recent rain and even waiting the squall to clear didn’t help so we’ve marked the waypoints and saved these for next time!
Saying farewell to Wakde and Macolod was particularly sad. It marks the completion of a great passage we’ve shared with Jean, and brings closer the end of our West Papuan adventure… I hope we come back this way again and see our newfound friends. On the bright side, at least we a travelling on Thyme and not the well loaded Perentis ferry!
Here's a map of our route over West Papua. I think waiting to later in the season (November being the NW transition) has paid off as we've experienced much better weather and less unfavourable current than normal. Let's hope it stays that way for our journey into PNG.