The Lesser Known Wayag, Dapunlol Island

The Lesser Known Wayag, Dapunlol Island

Explore Raja Ampat Islands: explore the lesser known Wayag


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There are times in your travels when incredible opportunities arise from nowhere. This is one of those times.

Those of you who have heard of Raja Ampat know at least one of two things. 1. That it is the final frontier of the scuba diving world boasting highest marine biodiversity on the planet, and 2. Those envious pictures of the green, mushroom shaped islands surrounded by a turquoise paradise are called Wayag. Knowing both of these we wanted to make sure that our time encompassed both underwater and overland adventure in Raja Ampat.

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With no plan upon arrival we caught up with a friend over coffee who convinced us to go on his 7 day diving liveaboard in one weeks time. Well sold Ricky ;p. Excited to delve into the underwater world, we were also really looking forward to having one week to roam free and explore Raja Ampat by land. Making headway quickly, we left mainland Sorong (or So-wrong as many call it) for Waisai town on Waigeo Island, the heart of Raja Ampat. Stepping off from the karaoke-induced ferry into the newly renovated pier we meet Fikri, the tourist officer of Raja. Hastily he gets us sorted. He finds us accommodation, makes an appointment to meet with him the following morning and also drops the news that we cannot go to Wayag (those envious pictures of the green, mushroom shaped islands surrounded by a turquoise paradise fade into the abyss). Currently there is political unrest between the locals and the conservationist government (now isn’t that a new concept) over mining and the wayag people have barricaded the islands from tourists.

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Wayag, Raja Ampat Islands
Leaving Misool By Ferry

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With this information in mind the following morning we set-off to Weiwo in the west (via a ridiculously expensive taxi ride) hoping to find something special or at least beautiful about Waigeo. So far for us, Waisai has been noisy, expensive and unexciting and leaving the place seems the best part. Loosing our battle (and loosing 300,000 rupiah for a ten minute taxi ride), we discover that Weiwo is a not a town, it is accommodation. False information written on every map, every brochure and all over the internet lead us to an overpriced, underwhelming, isolated resort with no appeal in the slightest – awesome. Disheartened, frustrated and tired we ask the taxi driver to turn back around and take us back to the port – we wanted to get off this island stat. Just as we begin to feel sorry for ourselves, loose control and begin to think Raja Ampat is one big farse our phone rings and Fikri (the tourism officer) offers us a deal. A deal to come with him by ferry overnight to the southern island of Misool and explore for 6 hours whilst he checks out a new government subsidised home-stay. Dying to leave this place we accept yet Fikri still feels he needs to convince us. He whips out a few photos of a stunning Wayag-esque lookout, tells us its virtually unexplored territory and non existent on Google and we are on that ferry leaving as quickly as you could say “goodbye”.

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Sun creeps through the blinds of the cabin. Our sleepy eyes stir before opening, meeting each others knowing smiles; We are on an adventure to somewhere map-less and unexplored.  The remote-less air-con whirls vigorously, panting from its overuse. So chilled, the small room feels almost sterile. Unwrapping ourselves, slowly easing out of bed, we immerse into the world beyond our room. A frenzy of action hits us just as our cool skin greets the moist humid air of Indonesia. Men hang from the edge of the ferry smoking and drinking their morning coffee laughing as if they are without a care in the world, others are busily clogging the hallways with their luggage excited for disembarkation and a family reunion. A hive of boisterous activity, nothing a strong coffee can’t handle. Beyond the ferry, a gateway of islands leads us into Misool. The sun’s vivid wakeup has softened into a tender yellow glow, collecting the clouds as they hold onto the islands warmth. The scene before us is heightened in our minds by the certainty of the unknown adventure which lies beyond it.

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Wayag, Raja Ampat Islands
Homestay in Misool

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After a quick breakfast at the Harfat Jaya homestay, the boys get to work surveying the buildings whilst Becks and I use the spare time to take a look around the place. Pulau Yapale is a scenic little island full of colour, life and a crystal clear lagoon which fringes the narrowing beach, it was inevitable we would be easily captivated. Rustic jetties finger out into azure waters, their pylons fight alongside the palm trees and against the vibrant corals from below for a mirror image reflection on the waters surface. Adults are nowhere to be seen, instead we find kids running rampant and free around the island. The braver ones climb up the tall coconut trees while others play with marbles on the pier, the little cheeky ones chase the tired dogs around the sperm whale skeleton (yes that’s right, a Sperm whale skeleton?!!!). The shy ones are sniffling behind us watching our every move and the rest are greedily munching on fluorescent sugary delights in hidden corners away from their parents not-so-watchful eyes.

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Leaving together by dingy we zig-zag between the mushroom shaped islands we dreamed that Wayag would consist of, before eventually mooring up in a shallow lagoon for disembarkation. Completely lost by the sheer enormity of our surroundings, we make headway up the cliff via the rickety logs ingeniously placed for easier access. Aaron our guide and the home stay owner found this place six months ago on his own expedition and on the 21s of December 2013 built the path up to the summit of Dapunlol Island which we are now walking on. On the way up with each step higher and with each breath that gets deeper, the view begins to evolve and transform.  We begin to piece together our guides motives for building the path and for trying to promote tourism here. Shards of electric blue pierce through the dense jungle encouraging your legs to pick up the pace and make it to the top and then that moment when you do reach the top…. well its absolutely breath-taking. Everything we ever dreamed of.

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Wayag, Misool, Raja Ampat Islands
Misool View

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Drooling is disbelief after absorbing the views from each compass baring, we are dumfounded when the proud builder of this extraordinary lookout congratulates us for being the very 1st English person to step foot on this lookout along with the 2nd Australian. Now with 22 foreign visitors to boast climbing his path, Aaron is so proud to have us come here and fall in the love with the place, Funny huh? He has no idea how lucky we are to firstly know about this place and secondly to have come here. Thank you sir for finding something so beautiful and making it accessible.

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A final tour before intercepting our rather large ferry’s journey back to Sorong (another classic story on its own), we detour via the 5-10,000 year old cave paintings which are stunningly splayed on the limestone cliffs above the waters reach. The ancient history of Papua is so rife and vivid here and these delicate displays are one of four of their kind in Indonesia. A final goodbye to Misool we leave back through the gates of dotted Islands heading north out into the open ocean bound for West Papua. What a way to spend 6 hours, what an adventure!

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Back to our destination guide: Raja Ampat Islands

 

 

 

 

Written by

Prue Sinclair is a twenty-six year old Aussie who for the past five years has been exploring the furthermost reaches of Asia. Living anywhere but her homeland, she now resides somewhere in the Americas where she writes about her adventures. Her travel ideals are simple: Plans are not made, visa are not obtained and routes are not sketched out, but wherever she ends up you can be sure she’ll be writing about it.

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Hi we're Prue and Becks, travel writers and photographers who have been travelling the world together since 2012. Without taking ourselves too seriously, we divulge the lesser known, out of the way places and give you the tools to replicate it. Want to know more? Click on our pic.
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