I have to admit, I am very sensitive to the weather. I love the heat and the sunshine and feel miserable if it rains for days and the weather gets cold and grey, which is often the case in Switzerland in fall. I’m therefore in the perfect place in Raja Ampat, utterly enjoying the hot and humid days (ok, I could sometimes do with less humidity…) and complaining immediately if the temperature drops a few degrees. Fall in Switzerland - as beautiful as a hike in the mountains on a sunny day can be - regularly brings me to the verge of depression whenever it shows its wet and cold side for days or weeks.
Many of my European friends say they like our seasons, the change they bring, and that they would miss this a lot in an area without seasons. Not me! I do like to go skiing in winter and love to walk through the fresh snow on a sunny day. But I can perfectly do without, as long as I have the sun and the warm temperatures to make me happy.
People often ask me about the best time for a visit to Pulau Pef. My answer is always the same: basically, all year round. We have no rainy season, nor do we have a dry season. You can be lucky or unlucky every month of the year. Last year, for example, was a very dry year - at least the second half of it that I spent on the island. It hardly ever rained, and the usually lush green vegetation was beginning to look a little yellow and thirsty.
This year, however, it has been very tropical, with a little rain almost every day or night. The rainfall could range from 3 minutes to a few hours, from a light drizzle to torrential downfalls with winds, thunder and lightning. But luckily, we never have big storms as Raja Ampat lies in the center of the equatorial belt. A typical day may start with some rain in the early hours of the morning, some clouds but dry weather during breakfast, beautiful sunshine and hot temperatures in the afternoon and a gorgeous sunset with the perfect number of scattered clouds in the sky to make for beautiful pictures. Repeat the next day.
«Four Seasons In One Day» is a song by the Australian/New Zealand band Crowded House which I like very much. It perfectly represents the weather we often have on Pulau Pef and illustrates why no weather forecast will ever be able to predict our weather. But who needs to know upfront what the weather will be in paradise? If there’s rain, you know that soon after there will be sunshine again. And if you’re going diving, you’ll get wet anyway!
I notice that I don’t mind bad weather that much anymore when I’m in Switzerland, because I know that I will go back to Raja Ampat and enjoy the warm tropical temperatures again. Even though the island’s beauty does have a tendency to become normal after a while, I will never get tired of the – in my opinion – great climate of my second home.
There’s just one aspect about the humidity that I don’t like, which has to do with the fact that we – luckily - don’t have air conditioning in our bungalows: my clothes, towels and bed linens are never really dry. On hot days, I don’t mind. But on wet and cooler days, I would give a lot to have dry clothes to slip into in the morning or a dry bed to lie in at night.
But hey, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, can you?
I never even dreamt of working on a remote island in Indonesia, but life has a way of taking care of itself…