Pulau Pef is nature at its best. It’s pure and wild and lush and in most parts untouched. There is only us and the jungle on the island, no one else. It’s what we all love so much about this place and one of the reasons our guests choose Raja4Divers over other resorts closer to civilization. Being located only 48 km south of the equator, we are within the equatorial belt and therefore not at risk of tropical storms or Tsunamis as you may encounter in other areas of Indonesia. I have also never heard of a big earthquake in the region. And I’m really glad about that!
But once in a while, we do get a little storm that can mess the resort up a bit. It apparently happened 2 days ago while I was in cold Switzerland, nicely tucked up in a warm blanket in my heated living room. There was heavy rain and wind on the island and the waves were high enough to wash some sand, coconuts, wood and – yes, unfortunately – also some plastic onto some of the jetties and terraces. There were branches and leaves from the palm trees everywhere. Luckily, we regularly cut the branches and coconuts over buildings, walkways and jetties so as not to put any people in danger!
These little storms are usually very short. This week, it apparently happened during the night, which on the one hand is good because there are hardly any people outside. On the other hand, it’s a little difficult to fix things in the dark before they get blown away. But like many times before, nobody was hurt, and nothing was badly destroyed.
It just reminds you that we live in the wild and that nature can be very powerful. I sometimes have a tendency to forget this because everything is so well organized and running smoothly in the resort. You have the comfort of feeling one with nature and still enjoy the amenities of modern life to a certain extent. But you can’t have the cake and eat it too, as they say. If you want to hear and feel nature as closely as you do in our open-structure bungalows, you also feel and hear the waves, the rain and the wind. It’s a great experience if you let yourself in for it, lying in your bed with the windows and the sliding doors safely closed and listening to the sound of nature. The power it has is incredible and to feel it so closely is rather impressive.
I know that our buildings and structures are built to withstand the type of weather we have in the area, because we used the knowledge and experience of local people when building the resort. And most of the time, it’s sunny anyway, and there’s only a slight breeze on the island, just as you would expect in paradise. When my friends ask me about the best time to come to Raja Ampat, I always say that any month is a good month. It can be dry and sunny or wet and cloudy any time of the year. December is usually calm and tropical with a little rain every other day or so. But it can also be wet and windy, as we just experienced. That’s probably one of the big differences between my new home and my old one: in Switzerland, weather forecasts are pretty accurate most of the time, whereas predicting the weather for Pulau Pef is very difficult. You just get up in the morning and look outside (or listen) to find out what the weather is like.
If I had been in my boss’ shoes ten years ago and someone had shown me this wild and uninhabited island to build a resort on, I would probably have denied. I’m too much of a sissy when it comes to the jungle and wild nature. Not that I’m scared, but I’m just rather meticulous about cleanliness (ask my kids, the poor guys had to put up with a lot of nagging…) and don’t particularly like hermit crabs and sandy floors in my house. You wonder what I’m doing on Pulau Pef, then? Well, the beauty of the island helps me forget the humid clothes, the little creepy-crawlies and the occasional stormy weather. The latter is just part of the deal, just as November rain is part of the deal if you live in Switzerland. The less you think about it, the less it bothers you and the more you enjoy the sunny dry days!
I never even dreamt of working on a remote island in Indonesia, but life has a way of taking care of itself…