Our plan for Christmas is simple. Get to a quiet anchorage on a tropical island loaded with a bunch of fresh groceries and booze, then proceed to eat and drink it all in-between various water activities. Not much different to our usual cruising plan, but on this special occasion we don some Christmas hats.
The quiet anchorage is provided by Padaido Islands, a few hours sail from Biak.
We kick things off with a party on Toc on the 24th for my birthday, followed by a traditional Christmas Eve German celebration the next day on Zig Zag. Actual Christmas is postponed until 26 Dec to be celebrated on Family Circus. When cruising, calendars are optional - we make our own rules.
Three days of partying ensue, interspersed with water sports and snorkelling. We miss our family but at least internet is kind enough to let us video chat a couple of times. If we are not spending time with family, then our friends from Zig Zag and Family Circus sure make up for it, as a friendlier and more generous crowd you would be hard to find anywhere. After three days, Jake declares this to be the best Christmas ever, a relief after all the anxiety about being away from home for the first time.
On 27 December, the never ending quest for west calls again, and we head to an anchorage in northwest Biak recommended by some guy someone met in (the town of) Biak.
It is a beautiful spot and we could easily spend a month not moving. This is becoming a bit of theme so I’ll spare you. We swim, snorkel, play on the beach etc etc. A boatful of friendly locals dingy up to us and insist on coming onto Toc to take lots of group photos. I am sure there is some Indonesian website where ‘selfies with a foreigner’ pay a decent fee judging by the number of photos I’ve been asked to pose in.
Manokwari is colourful and full of interesting locals. The place where we dock our dinghy is basically a slum built over water filled with rubbish and the unpleasant products of a sanitation challenged city. While looking at the water is to be avoided and falling in absolutely forbidden, the streets are clean and the people exceptional.
There is a lot of laughing, joking around, posing for pictures etc. At one point, we are surrounded by what feels like hundreds of locals on the wooden dock suspended over water, all speaking at the same time, small kids being passed around from local to local, hurried plans made on what needed to happen next, photos, you get the idea. Hectic but so much fun.