My version of the movie “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”.
Jakarta to Raja Ampat. One of the factors that makes this region so revered in the minds of adventurous divers is the sheer difficulty in getting there coupled with unforgettable diving. It took a full day to get here from Jakarta, starting with a 3:30am wake up call to catch the flight to Sorong.
I dreaded the flight, but the Express Air plane, though an older 737, was fine. My only beef was with the 20kg checked luggage limit (mine weighed in at 41kg). But in a world where every most U.S. airline charges for checked bags…the $50 I paid was a bargain. More importantly…they didn’t weigh the carry-ons…filled with 30kg of my precious camera gear! They even fed us…twice! Take that United!
We were met at the Sorong airport by the folks from Raja4Divers, handed over our baggage claim checks and loaded into taxis. Here’s where it got interesting. My cab:
Love Bug racing stripes, bodykit front bumper, #46 decal and incredibly…sponsored by Playboy! NASCAR in Indonesia. This guy was a real player. Check out the interior:
What attention to detail! I did notice a couple of flaws though..
Note the bald tire and missing lug nut. And the guy was hot wiring the car to start the engine (BTW…this vehicle was in much better shape than many taxis I saw in the airport parking lot). Oh well, it was only a quick jaunt to the harbor to catch our waiting speedboat for the three hour ride to Pulau Pef island. Here she is:
Now, she may look humble…but looks can be deceiving. It had all the necessities: luxurious cabin, meal service:
And even a head!
OK, its not very private and it gets a little breezy since its on the bow, but it technically meets my mom’s criteria for a boat she’s willing to get on!.
All joking aside..the boat was propelled by brand new twin-150hp outboards and it was every inch a speedboat. The narrow design actually made for a very comfortable ride, even in choppy seas and the cabin kept us dry when it rained. Three hours later, we were met by local musicians and given coconuts with straws in them...heaven. Finally, after three days of travel…I’m on vacation!