Sophie crossed the equator today as we traveled northwest to the Raja Ampat island of Wayag. This is our second crossing of the equator and took place at 00.00.000 North, 130.03.193 East, which is 6,060 nautical miles west of where we crossed it in March of 2013. Appropriately enough, we were surrounded by a school of small jumping tuna during our crossing today, and we could actually see a waterspout 10 miles off in the distance. Jenna got the photo. The children offered cookies to King Neptune, and Jenna poured a shot of vermouth into the deep. Leo then shared the following with us:
“Two years ago we crossed the equator. The first time on Sophie but our second time. We had become Shellbacks! We had an excellent time in the southern hemisphere during which we crossed the Pacific Ocean. Now we cross again, and we will continue onward. May good winds and gentle seas come with us as we follow the sunset.”
Very nice. Then it was back to school.
We wound up spending four nights at the Raja4Divers resort. They charge $20 per night per adult for yachts to use their mooring and facilities. That can seem a little pricey for some cruisers, but it includes use of their grounds, wifi, garbage service, and laundry facilities, along with being able to join them for their guest happy hour. They cater to German and Swiss tourists, and one night one of the guests served up swiss cheese and deer sausage from back home. It was delicious.
We wound up doing a trade with them, where they gave us free moorage in return for our taking their guests and some staff out for a sunset cruise. Unfortunately, it has become somewhat rare for us to simply go out for a sunset sail, and last night’s cruise was tremendous fun. We had a gentle breeze and a warm sunset.
The resort is a good stop for cruisers as long as you know that you should take advantage of what they offer. If you are living back on land and are looking for an exotic scuba diving vacation, I cannot imagine a better place to go. Please check it out. http://www.raja4divers.com. Tell them Jamie sent you.
After the equator crossing excitement, we passed through five more schools of small jumping tuna. We had no hits. Nothing. So I swapped out our big hoochie lure for our smallest little squid. Within 5 minutes we had a nice 4 pound albacore on board. I threw the lure back in, and ten minutes later we had another hit. Leo reeled it in, and Hazel did the netting. Call it a double kid takedown. I now think we can catch small tuna at will in this part of Indonesia. I was beginning to worry.
Then we entered Wayag. Holy Cow. We’ve never seen anything like this. Easily the nicest anchorage we’ve ever been to. Anywhere. Ever. Imagine hundreds of little mushroom shaped limestone and palm tree islands, with mini beaches and coral reefs scattered among them. No one lives here, and Sophie and Per Ardua are the only boats. Manta rays are doing double backflips every few minutes. Birds are singing in the trees. We’re anchored in 40 feet over sand. Our plan was to spend 9-10 days here, and we are already trying to figure out how to extend our stay. It’s that nice.
The 3,500 mile push from Fiji is increasingly becoming a distant memory. We are heading into the holidays with a sense of reflection and sharing. We miss our friends and family back home, but we love this adventure we are on. Especially right now.