Kri: The most popular island on Raja Empat! The main part of the island has like five bungalows in a row, plus an eco resort and an upscale dive resort. It’s a pretty small overall, but it gets more people than most because it’s the best spot to base your diving. I went without reservations but I was still able to find an open bungalow quite easily at a place called Koranu Fyak. The homestay also ran a small-scale dive shop as well, with western, English speaking guides, which is really convenient, as most of the Papuans really don’t speak much English. My plan was to do the vast majority of my diving here. Kri also has a really nice house reef, so if you’re ever bored, you can always get the snorkel out and try to find some cool marine life.
I snorkelled that first evening and as I was walking down the beach I ran into Harjeet, who was staying a few bungalows down. We went down to the jetty, which is where everyone goes to watch the sunset and have beer if you'd like. And the sunsets in Raja are spectacular! So many nights the sky would be lit up with amazing oranges, pinks, and purples in the clouds. It really is a great place. So Harjeet and Suk filled me in with all the cool places to go around the island, which boat trips to do, and the basic information I would need.
I headed back to my bungalow to eat dinner and meet the other people staying there. There was an American, two Germans guys, and a French/Filipina couple couple, all of whom I'd be hanging out with a lot over the next few days. And to my surprise they served fried chicken! I was liking this place already.
The next day was Sunday, so they weren't doing any diving, so we had a chance to get some quality snorkelling time in. We walked to the neighboring island nearby, which we could because of the low tide, and then snorkelled all the way back. And what tremendous snorkeling it was. Lots of huge pufferfish and porcupine fish, batfish, some a few black tip reef sharks darting around, blue spotted rays, and turtles. So many turtles! We saw at least 10 or 11 in that one trip. A pretty good first day!
Now it was time to really start diving! The dive shop's equipment wasn't exactly the best, but it would do. It was about $40 a dive, which was also a little less than I was expecting to pay. I did two dives every morning and then took it easy during the afternoon. Normally in beachy locations I get bored after a while, but not in Raja Empat! The dives were really nice, tons of fish, lots of small stuff too, but not so great visibility. Kind of a shame, but what can you do. We saw all the usual big stuff, sharks, eels, rays, turtles, etc. The combination of the untouched beaches, the scenery, the diving, the snorkeling, the atmosphere really makes Raja an awesome place.
I stayed on Kri for a week, and I wasn't ready to leave after my time was, but my visa was running out and I wanted at least a night or two on Bali to party it up a little bit. And it was in Bali that I decided on a new course of action, a whole nother continent, Africa!