8 – 28 February 2010

Sorido Bay Resort

A panoramic view of one of the most comfortable and elegant lounge and dining areas we've been to here in Indonesia! High end Papuan art of tapa bark cloths, woven Papuan bags and intricate highland wood carvings tastefully decorate this place giving off a feeling of a comfortable gallery of Oceanic art

A panoramic view of one of the most comfortable and elegant lounge and dining areas we’ve been to here in Indonesia! High end Papuan art of tapa bark cloths, woven Papuan bags and intricate highland wood carvings tastefully decorate this place giving off a feeling of a comfortable gallery of Oceanic art

All too soon, it was time to say our farewells to everyone from this lovely resort. We spent quality working time here often leaving the resort at eight in the morning and coming back, still dripping wet, at seven in the evening when everybody had started with their dinner.

Pioneering flying Dutchman Max Ammer. Boy, did he have stories to tell us about wild wild Papua! We couldn't have enough of it

Pioneering flying Dutchman Max Ammer. Boy, did he have stories to tell us about wild wild Papua! We couldn’t have enough of it

Yogi met the legendary Max Ammer for the first time in the Duesseldorf dive show BOOT in January 2009. As serendipity would have it, Max saw Yogi loitering around the show one early evening, eyeballed Yogi’s name tag, grabbed him and talked about Papua Diving’s Raja Ampat. His opening line was “I saw 10 mantas upon leaving the jetty to start my long journey to come here!” When Yogi explained our WWF Coral Triangle photo expedition to him, Max said to come during the low season and to stay at least two weeks!

It was an absolute surprise to find out Max is also a pilot with a pretty yellow toy plane! We thought "this man is going to be our new best friend!"

It was an absolute surprise to find out Max is also a pilot with a pretty yellow toy plane! We thought “this man is going to be our new best friend!”

Our 3 week stay in Sorido Bay Resort culminated our whooping 8 month activity in Indonesia for this expedition. What a way to say goodbye to Indonesia!

Both Claudia and Leon HAVE been bitten by sharks in the Bahamas - hence their professional name!

Both Claudia and Leon HAVE been bitten by sharks in the Bahamas – hence their professional name!

We were well cared for by the energetic Leon Joubert and Claudia Pellarini-Joubert. Too well in fact as we’ve gained so much weight and seriously have to stop eating.

 

Absolutely fresh & delicious food prepared everyday to perfection by Sorido's local Indonesian chefs

Absolutely fresh & delicious food prepared everyday to perfection by Sorido’s local Indonesian chefs

Claudia and Leon manage the resort, simultaneously operating the only full service Underwater Imaging center in the Raja Ampat, using their professional expertise in underwater imaging to educate and inspire their dive guests. If they have the time to spare, they also do international marketing trips to encourage divers to come to Raja Ampat.

The cottages are hidden in thick pandanus and tropical trees by the white beach of Cape Kri

The cottages are hidden in thick pandanus and tropical trees by the white beach of Cape Kri

It is a great challenge to run a remote luxury dive resort. Dive guests come and go but what they don’t seem to realize is what great difficulties lie behind having an efficient, well oiled machinery that services a descerning dive industry in a far flung area. Electricity have to be powered and water has to be made. Local people are trained from scratch in housekeeping all the way to diving. English lessons to the Papuan staff were even ongoing while we were there!

Who can beat this smile??? We were met with fresh watermelon juice after our first morning dive . . .

Who can beat this smile??? We were met with fresh watermelon juice after our first morning dive . . .

And our rooms were massive with a dedicated table for underwater camera equipment! I could rollerskate in here . . .

And our rooms were massive with a dedicated table for underwater camera equipment! I could rollerskate in here . . .

And of course, the diving. That was after all why we all come here. The dive sites around the resort went on and on, we were spoilt for choice. We had two superb dive guides – Otto and Dolvinus.  Otto is a man of few words. One time, Yogi asked him if there would be a wobbegong shark in Pulau Lima. His cryptic answer was “wobbegong is not a giant clam”. Oh we rolled in laughter! Serves Yogi right for asking silly questions.

Otto in the dark . . .

Otto in the dark . . .

And then there was light . . .

And then there was light . . .

Dolvinus, Solomon & Victor, our Papuan dive guides in silhouette. And where do you find big fan corals like this shallow, not twenty minutes away from the resort???

Dolvinus, Solomon & Victor, our Papuan dive guides in silhouette. And where do you find big fan corals like this shallow, not twenty minutes away from the resort???

And finally, this resort loved our WWF flag. Here we had the most use of this adorable WWF logo in every way possible.

Two local staff help me prepare the flag for the aerial shoot

Two local staff help me prepare the flag for the aerial shoot

Up and down the Panda went. And I pose with the lovely local staff . . .

Up, down and up the Panda went. And I pose with the lovely local staff . . .

Resort staff came out in the searing noon sun saying "panas" hot, but still laying down for the shot

Resort staff came out in the searing noon sun saying “panas” hot, but still laying down for the shot

And one more before we hit the road. The Freund Factory with Claudia, Max and Leon. Until we meet again dear friends . . .

And one more before we hit the road. The Freund Factory with Claudia, Max and Leon. Until we meet again dear friends . . .

And our next destination??? Apo Reef, Philippines.

Indonesia! So long & thanks for all the fish!

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