|Jake and all the local kids on Savannah. |
Raroia, Tuamotus, 2011
But we have an answer...we have three answers. For the most part Andy and I both agree that the Tuamotus, Micronesia, and Borneo were our favorites. It's the order in which we would rank them that we differ. A brief description of why we think they're our favorites. If you want to relive it with us, just click on the links to go to our previous blogs (don't forget to click on 'older posts' if you want to see the full experience).
Very hard to get to and extremely isolated, this is the place for lonely loners who love the water (i.e. Andy McKaskle)! The diving was great, the people were friendly and for us, the weather was gorgeous. The Tuamotus is a group of 90something atolls in the middle of the South Pacific ocean, technically part of French Polynesia. We spent six weeks exploring only four atolls and had we not been running out of basic provisions like flour, rice, milk and beer (yes, beer was considered a basic provision), the captain would have stayed much longer (well, that whole visa thing would have been tricky, but you get the point). Jake got to participate in the French Polynesian games at a local school in Raroia and Andy got some of the best shark pictures of his career in South Fakarava and Tahanea. This was pretty early in our trip so I have to say I was still adjusting to the life. While I thoroughly enjoyed myself, I had yet to be inducted into the hermit club, so I was desperately seeking girl time, grocery stores and civilization.
Most people we talked to outside of our little cruising life had no idea where Micronesia was. I often described it as "half way between Hawaii and Japan." Micronesia is what people think of when they think of the South Pacific (although it's not in the South Pacific at all). Small islands, clear water, beautiful reefs, and locals who still fish for their food, pound out their taro and collect their own water. I wrote several blog posts on our experiences there, so I won't repeat it all, but our time in Micronesia changed our outlook on life forever (we're still wondering why we didn't accept that plot of land in Yap). And by this time, I was a full fledged member of the hermit club and was thoroughly enjoying the isolation provided by the remoteness of these beautiful islands.
Having just visited the Philippines, we were acclimated somewhat to the SE Asian way of life, but our visit to Borneo was our first introduction in to the melting pot of cultures that exist in this part of the world. Malaysians, Indians, and Chinese... Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus, all living in harmony (somewhat). And the food.... wow, the food. But most of all, we enjoyed all of the eco-type activities available up and down the west coast. Our favorite inland trip was visiting the Deer Caves but our favorite excursion was our 60 mile trip up the Rajang river. The only downside to Borneo was the lack of clear, swimmable water (crocodiles were pretty much everywhere due to all the rivers). But the beautiful landscape and people more than made up for that.
So there you have it...our favorite places.