On The 28th February, eleven guests staying at Kri Eco Resort exchanged a day of diving for an extreme experience in Yerweser with the students of the RARCC education center. It was described as a Rambo kind of adventure.
When the guests arrived at the small village in Batanta, the students gave them flowers and played recorder and sang songs to welcome them.
The group, accompanied by the dive manager at Kri Eco Resort Tom Boxler, wanted to hike to the mountain to see how the local people plant their vegetables and fruits. However, the pigs often destroy the plantations, so not many people plant there anymore.
The hike was supposed to take an hour, but it took almost all morning because the local man who guided the group had to use a short machete to chop his way through the jungle.
“After a 20-minute climb, we reached the top of the hill, and had a decent view of the ocean and the village below. No clear evidence of farming, but there was a small broken fence that somebody has put up a few years back, maybe for livestock or to keep the animals out,” Tom Boxler told us.
After stopping to get some tiny oranges from a tree, which was “nice”, “as the terrain became more dense, we were in the jungle canopy and not able to see far in either direction”, he added.
“Low-level dense mangrove lagoons were soon noticeable, and the walking went more intense. With absolutely no trail to follow, we simply started wading through the mangroves, in the dark, muddy waters, each step carefully chosen as it would not take much to fall all the way in (…) Finally, the ocean and beach were in sight, but little did we know, we were on the opposite side of the island, and getting back was to a mission (…) As walking the beach back became the logical direction, I just carried on. As each sandy beach ended at a rocky point, unable to cross the rocks, swimming seemed the easiest choice”, Tom Boxler described.
Half of the group decided to head back into the jungle to find a better way back.
“By this time, I now found myself alone, with either the other guest far behind me or back in the jungle. As I rounded the last point, I could now see the village again in the distance. Happy to say that after another 45 minutes, the rest of the group started to funnel back into the village, tired, thirsty and with a few cuts and scrapes”, he reported.
In Tom’s words: “At one point I was drenched in water and wearing ‘rags’ and felt like Rambo…It was exciting then.”
Some of the guests were picked up by Papua Diving crew.
During the walk, some children showed their big hearts by giving the guests their sandals, and they weren’t shy to try to speak in English. On the way, they learned about the village from one of the teachers Ritly Risakotta.
One of the guests couldn’t join, so he decided to go fishing with the pastor. When they caught a fish, the guest released it to the pastor’s great surprise. He also went around to see the village.
The guests and the children had lunch together close to the beach and after that, they visited the school and talked to the children about their professions. It was quite a lesson for the students who could know, for instance, what a sociologist, a breathing teacher, an osteopath, an electrical power engineer and an IT software engineer do. Most of the students dream to become teachers or dive guides because they don’t know other options.
On their way back, the group did a dive to see a wreck of an airplane close to Batanta.