Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Our last travel-related blog ended with us making our bedraggled landfall in Sydney, Australia after a somewhat traumatic crossing of the Tasman Sea from New Zealand.

By way of catching up, we spent a lovely few weeks in Sydney, including a visit from my sister Jody and her good friend Valerie. Cruising your own boat past the iconic Opera House and under the Harbour Bridge is an impressive experience, to say the least! Epic, in the newfangled definition of the term.

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Jody (left) and her friend Valerie, as we cruise the Harbour on a perfect day.
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Stan, Valerie and Jody, happy hour at anchor near Manly, Sydney.

We then made haste up the Australian coast, it being cyclone season in that region. We cleared out of the country in Cairns on April 11, then proceeded directly to Sorong (a 6-day passage), in Raja Ampat, eastern Indonesia.

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Our route from New Zealand (lower right) to Australia, then north and west to Raja Ampat.

Raja Ampat is a gorgeous collection of islands that is sparsely populated, and little visited by foreigners except for being a world-class scuba diving destination. It is blessed with a large variety of colorful soft and hard corals, plentiful reef fish and lots of manta rays.

We are not very good underwater photographers, but here is a sampling:

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In terms of anchorages, we found several lovely spots, and given our timing at the end of the diving season, we were alone in almost all of them. Our favorite was Wayag (pronounced WHY-ah) in the north, an otherworldly collection of densely covered, conical islets scattered in warm, placid water. Nobody around except us, and the wildlife.

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At anchor, Wayag.
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We put table and chairs in front of the Matrix deck one evening for dinner.

Exploring by dinghy, we discovered lots of adorable little sandy beaches, and reefs ripe for a quick snorkel to cool off from the equatorial heat.

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We only had a couple of weeks or so in Raja Ampat, but it was a perfect time-out for us to simply chill and relax, before moving on again toward Palau, and then Japan.

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