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Published: July 30th 2014
Morotai 1944 to 1945 RAAF ACS 14
Landing Ship Tanks filled with men and equipment approaching the beach-head at Morotai.
July 30 2014
Well...the last few days have been just a tad stressful. On Friday evening an email from Garuda Air (our airline from Melbourne to Jakarta) appeared in my inbox letting me know that our flight departure date has been changed from Wednesday 20th to Thursday 21st. Panic stations for a bit as I'm fairly sure Rob has already booked his flight from Mildura for Tuesday 19th and he is currently out of mobile range in Thailand. Taking calming breaths I decided not to panic and to check on Garuda's website to see what was happening. Seems they have changed our direct flight to the Thursday but there are still flights going via Denpassar on Wednesday, which just means having to haul our bags off at Denpassar, check through customs and reboard the flight from Denpassar to Jakarta. No problem, just makes the trip another 2 hours longer. So after calling Garuda's Melbourne Customer Centre our flight has been changed back to Wednesday 20th via Denpassar at no extra cost! So I say a very big Thank You! and top service from the lovely Customer Service ladies at Garuda 😊
Having just created a trip map I've realised that Dad's route to Morotai was quite a bit shorter, and much more direct! The Service Records for Dad don't give specific dates for their departure from either Darwin or Hollandia. From Darwin they went to Hollandia, now called Jayapura, in West Papua; not sure if it was a flight or ship. From Hollandia they embarked on Landing Ship Tanks for Morotai. Looking at photos these ships were fully loaded, the decks covered with equipment, so I really wonder what the conditions were like for the men below. I imagine probably very hot, cramped and crowded; you can see in some photos the men had erected tarpaulin "tents" on the deck amongst the equipment. I also wonder if Dad was seasick as the seas around Papua and Indonesia can be very rough at times.
Anyway, in comparison, our timeline is thus:
Tuesday 19th Rob flies from Mildura to Tuallamarine and then to Mornington.
Wednesday 20th we leave Mornington at an ungodly hour, probably around 6am, and fly out at 9am, arriving in Denpassar at 1.14pm. We then haul our bags through customs, wait around for a little under 2 hours, then board the flight to Jakarta, which arrives at 3.45pm.
Thursday 21st we have a nice rest day in Jakarta.
Friday 22nd we arise at another ungodly hour, will need to leave for the airport at around midnight, for the 2am flight from Jakarta to Ternate, arriving at 8am.
Saturday 23rd we hop onto a boat with our guide Alex and wait till it fills with other passengers, hopefully not too long, and get to Sofifi at around lunchtime. From Sofifi we get into a share taxi, hopefully not waiting too long to fill and drive for 4 hours to Tobelo. At Tobelo we hop aboard another boat for the hour and a half trip to Daruba, Morotai Island.
There is also an alternative of taking a larger speedboat from Ternate Island direct to Morotai Island, a trip of about 5 hours. If this is our option I really hope it's the boat in the Google photos with 3 outboard engines, that the weather is fine and the sea calm lol, and I hope I don't get seasick!
This is the start of our tour with Alex then we repeat the travel backwards, again with overnight stays in Ternate and 2 final days in Jakarta.
It was quite an undertaking to align all the dates for flights and hotels so I really hope I've got it right. That said, I'm starting to get quite excited about going and have been eyeing my suitcase in the wardrobe wondering if it's too soon to get it down 😊
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