This week, we finally got some rain again! It hadn’t rained properly since I got here, we only had one or two hours now and then and never got big quantities of water. Apart from the drinking water we buy in Sorong in big refillable gallons, we get our water from a well at the back of the island and filter it before using it for washing and showering. With very little rain during the last months, the water was getting a little salty as it tends to mix with sea water. This, on the one hand, is inconvenient for our guests and employees. On the other hand, it also damages our machines, especially the washing machines. So, we were all praying for rain and even considered doing the rain dance (coming from rainy Switzerland, I never imagined one day actually wishing for rain!). Apparently, some of us did dance, as now we finally got a few hours of heavy rain.
Just like the waves, the rain also drowns all other noises, and so the island became strangely quiet with just the sound of the raindrops falling on roofs and palm tree leaves. Even the birds almost stopped singing for a few hours. The horizon was covered by an undefined blur of clouds and the raindrops looked as if they were happily jumping up and down on the surface of the sea. The only colors we saw for a while were the multicolored umbrellas we provide for our guests to prevent them from getting soaking wet between one building and the next. It was funny, however, to see divers and snorkellers return from their boat trips in wet bathing suits, but still holding up umbrellas against the rain so as not to get wet from above as well…
Our guests sometimes ask us what we would do if there was no rain for a very long period of time. Apparently, they were faced with an extremely dry season once on Pulau Pef that lasted many months. There was still water from the well, but everybody had to help save water and it turned rather salty. This reminds me that we live in the jungle. From one moment to another, we may be faced with difficult situations here that back home would never be an issue.
Our bungalows do not have normal showers, but traditional mandis. They consist of a big wash basin made of a massive piece of rock that you fill up with your mix of hot and cold water. You then use a ladle to pour water over your head and body. It seems like an archaic method at first, but after two days, you’re so used to it that you don’t waste another thought on it. It’s very easy to use. And it saves a lot of water! It allows us to continue using the well water instead of having to install an expensive desalination system that uses a lot of energy and produces big amounts of salt we would have to get rid of.
We are not an official eco resort, as there is no such label with reliable standards in Indonesia. But we try to save energy and run our resort eco-friendly whenever possible. They may be little things like switching off the generator at night to save electricity or only offering bungalows without showers nor air-conditioning, but we are convinced this is the way to proceed if we want to preserve this paradise as it is for as long as possible!
I never even dreamt of working on a remote island in Indonesia, but life has a way of taking care of itself…