From Bali to Manokwari

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Asia » Indonesia » West Papua » Sorong
October 25th 2011
Published: October 27th 2011
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As soon as we topped up with fuel, we departed and our 7 day voyage to West Papua was underway. Our journey was generally moving in the direction of ENE of Bali, with many islands to zig zag around along the way. Bali is just one of nearly 13,500 islands in Indonesia, and between all of those islands are around 240 million residents. Most of the islands are quite populated, even if you've never heard of them. Most are quite poor as well. We went by countless islands where there were hardly even any sort of lights lit at night, but there were definitely a lot people there, kickin' it old school.

Our trip brought us through a whole side of the world that is completely new to me. The way that I saw it as new was through looking at our navigation charts everyday. In the past, I had always kind of looked at Indonesia in a very nonchalant, unimpressed manner, somewhat like, "ok, a bunch of islands in the pacific". Once you travel through these areas, you can really get a feel for where you are and what surrounds you through examining the charts and putting names to

Passing thru a narrow strait just west of Sorong.
bays, points, rivers, lights, etc. that you see along the way. We passed through several different seas, most of which I'd never heard of, such as the Bali Sea, the Flores Sea, the Banda Sea, and the Ceram Sea.

One of the coolest parts of our trip was from when we were in the Banda Sea. We were standing on the sundeck around 3 in the afternoon, and could see this large group of birds from a mile away. We were heading right towards them, and the closer we got, the more that we could see that there was quite a disturbance from fish at the waters surface. By 'quite a disturbance', I mean, the sea looked like it was boiling, like there were a million fish were freaking out just below the surface. We had stumbled upon an incredible survival of the fittest event. It was straight out of the David Attenborough 'Wild Pacific' series.

The area, that was absolutely teaming with fish, was approximately the size a football field, and within that there were concentrations of even more intense activity. The activity was caused by a large school of some sort of bait fish, that was getting attacked from literally any and every angle possible. There were hundreds of birds were dive bombing from the air, large yellow fin tuna were attacking from below and we could see them jumping out of the water at the surface, and there were even three 40'+ whales in the mix. There were most likely many other predators lurking around in the surrounding depths as well.

After admiring the natural beauty of the massacre happening in front of us for about one minute, me and one of the other guys ran down and grabbed the fishing rods and threw a couple lines out, hoping to score a big tuna for dinner. The captain drove us all around and through this massive feeding frenzy while we trolled with two lines out. Unfortunately, our lures literally passed right through these massive bait balls, so my suspicion was that there was so much activity happening below that there was absolutely no way our lures were going to attract any attention and it would have been a complete accident/act of God if we had actually caught something. The pictures will not do the spectacle any justice whatsoever.

The wind picked up on the last day up to nearly 30 kts, but besides that, it was a really nice trip up.

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13



It was calm enough to stop in the middle of the Banda Sea, shut off the engines, and go for a swim.
Land HoLand Ho
Land Ho

The rugged jungle of West Papua in the distance.
Immigration OfficialsImmigration Officials
Immigration Officials

About 15 people had visited the boat, all at once, when we first arrived, including the Coast Guard, the Park Rangers, the agents, the police, etc. This was an immigration official that needed to check our passports--door to door service.

27th October 2011

Just a job
Pretty amazing day at the office. The feeding frenzy must have been an incredible sight to see. Lucky you! Happy Halloween wherever you are. Big Hug!

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