We arrive in Ternate to the sound of the Imam calling the faithful to prayer. It is the height of Ramadan and we are in the North Maluku archipelago where we are to board the Dewi Nusantara for the fourth time. We speed out past a huge green mosque where our three-masted home for the next few days is anchored. She really is a splendid vessel, 5 metres wide and 60m long. The staterooms are luxurious with huge king size beds and a spacious en-suite with piping hot water – just what’s needed after an hour-long dive.
No dive trip is complete without a shore visit. The first village is on the island of Roon where they have just had their 2018 festival. We are greeted by the village elder and his tiny daughter decked up in a grass skirt and looking overwhelmed. The welcome committee extends to a local band playing on bamboo flutes and locally-made drums, and then a procession of grandmas, sashaying along the main road, at right angles ot the extraordinary statue of a missionary that dominates the square. Continue reading →
Here I am sitting among boxes as I wait for the packers to remove our final belongings as we prepare to leave Singapore. It’s been an experience, mostly wonderful. We came here as refugees – from the emotions surrounding the loss of our daughter Louise and the wish to mourn in a private and fulfilling way, by adventuring and ringing the changes. The deep sense of grieving never goes away and, as I have said many times, time is NOT a healer; but it is possible to fill your mind and your heart with happy experiences that take the raw edge off that insistent nagging realisation that every day you wake up is another without her. Continue reading →
Me chilling above the reef (photo Janusz Draminski)
Eleven days ago we set off for Bali to kick off another bucket list adventure: a trip to dive with manta rays and see the Komodo dragons, aboard the luxurious vessel, Dewi Nusantara (we sailed round Raja Ampat on the Dewi 18 months ago and loved it so much we vowed to return!) Continue reading →
peering through a window in the reef, current surprisingly strong so quite difficult!
In front of the Dewi Nusantara, sails unfurled
The 10 days in between the two Indonesia trips has passed in a flash and suddenly we are boarding a plane to Bali where we spend two nights. The hotel, the Puri Santrian, is rather tired, décor definitely more 90s than noughties, but the people are friendly. But we hit lucky with the taxi they book to take us to the ancient temple of Uluwatu. Widi speaks good English, but even better Japanese. He tells us he spent four years in Japan working in a factory. When he returned he had enough money to build a house, buy two taxis and start a business, plus educate his four children. Now he wants to go back so he can put them through university. His wife gets up at 3.30 am to go to the market – every day! He is a good guide, and even helps some silly tourists who have their prescription glasses stolen by the notorious temple macaques. We are forewarned and he is forearmed with a big stick!