Showing posts from August, 2011

Call of the mosque and the joys of karaoke

I am sitting on the boat at night in the small harbour at Jayapura where the lights of the bay spread up the hill. It is not quiet, though I would imagine that many locals will be sleeping. It is the last week of Ramadam and the largely Muslim population cannot eat or drink between 5am and 6pm. They get up at 4 in the morning to eat before their day of fasting begins. In every town in Indonesia and Malaysia that we have anchored in over the past year, the sounds of the mosque or 'masjid' have been our companions. Each mosque is surrounded by its own village, and each town has any number of mosques. Each of them has a number of loud-speakers fixed to the roof and the imam's call to prayer rings out every four hours through the day and night. There have been many nights when we've woken at four to this call and though Scott grumbles about being woken, I think that the sound of the mosque's song will be something that I will miss. When I am lying awake in the early…

Jayapura at last

As suspected, the opportunity to update our beloved blog have been few and far between. We are sending this from Jayapura, our last stop in Indonesian Papua before we head into PNG for the last two months of our trip. Jayapura looks like an interesting sort of town and we plan to spend a week here filling the boat with food to last us the next couple of months – plus plenty of items for trading in exchange for shellfish and bananas.  Thankfully, we have been having a far better time over the past few weeks than when we wrote from Bitung and Sorong. Papua remains somewhat of a mystery to me, however – it feels nothing like Indonesia and yet is part of that country; its people as we have come East are uniquely Papuan and the link to the administering country seem weak. There are periods of huge civil unrest and instability and the 'free Papua' movement has an large international voice. In the islands where we have been spending our time over the last couple of weeks, however, th…

Plodding through Papua

A brief internet interlude in the town of Manokwari, at the top of the Cenderawasih Bay in Papua, before we are out of range again - so a quick hello to all our blog friends. Hmm, what to say about Papua? Well, it is not the kind of cruising ground that makes you want to buy a boat and head off into the blue. Coming here as a land-based tourist would probably be quite different, with the few people that come here mainly taking dive tours with everything organised for them. Coming here on our own boat brings some administrative challenges and we haven't felt comfortable to leave the boat unattended so that limits how much we are able to see. Papua certainly has a wealth of beautiful islands and the interior sounds fantastic and untouched by the Western world, but if it doesn't come with a good anchorage, we can't see it! We are still heading East and are optomistic that PNG should be far more fun than Moluku and Papua have thus far been. 

Papua, as you will know, has seen it…