Selamat Hari Natal!

Happy Christmas from Indonesia!  It’s going to be a new and different experience for us this year, and despite not being able to have the company of our loved ones we’re determined to make the most of it and embrace our new experience of a Raja Ampat Christmas.

We make a trip to the nearby island of Arborek to see how the locals celebrate. Whilst Sorong and Waisai are definitely multi-cultural and multi-faith, the majority of local Papuans who live on the islands of Raja Ampat are devoutly Christian.

The island of Arborek
The juxtaposition of new technology and traditional village life
Toucan and Jams at anchor off Arborek
Traditional Papuan carving
They like visitors here
The shrine to the early evangelical missionaries
local kids at play

But how do you celebrate Christmas on a tropical island? With ingenuity of course, and some clever recycling ideas.  

How’s this for a clever use of plastic bottles?

Without a ready supply of Christmas trees, the traditional Papuan christmas decoration is a nativity manger, built by each household in their front yard.  They come in all shapes and styles, from the humble to the truly ostentatious and there’s obviously a significant competitive element, much like the Christmas light displays back home.

There’s your traditional thatched manger…
The basic but sturdy..
The colourful..
the funky complete with boombox…
going up in the world..
Surely this one needs a building permit.. we could almost live here

And if you can’t get christmas lights? Well, just make your own out of recycled plastic cups!

It’s a pretty island with well-swept paths and fences
The main Street of Arborek
The jetty – good snorkelling and diving under here

We’ve also been hearing traditional drumming emanating from the local village across the water on Gam Island. It starts about 8pm and finishes around midnight, every night.  That’s a lot of drumming! I’ve yet to find a local who can tell me the significance and whether it’s part of the Christmas festivities, but hopefully the mystery will be revealed soon. We’re not complaining mind you, it all adds to the atmosphere of a tropical, exotic Christmas.

We’re now anchored at Frewin Island where we can get some internet to call home on Christmas day – and hopefully watch the start of the Sydney-Hobart on Boxing Day.  There’s a few other cruising boats here, so it’s a safe bet that there’ll be a gathering or two on the beach over the next couple of days!

We’re truly blessed to have so many friends and family scattered around the world, and we’re so glad to be able to share our adventures with you via this blog. Thank you for reading, and from Toucan to you, we send you all our very best wishes for a merry and peaceful Christmas and a truly spectacular 2020.

Toucan’s in the festive spirit – but will Santa find us??!!
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2 Responses to Selamat Hari Natal!

  1. PAUL GASKELL says:

    Happy Christmas from Northern Ireland!
    Thanks so much for writing and sharing everything you’re experiencing. It’s genuinely lovely, and fascinating.
    Love from Paul and Jill, and Chris, and Fiona and Jason and Alexa (we’re all reading!)

    • svtadmin says:

      Thanks so much for your message Paul! A very Happy christmas to you all in N Ireland too, we hope you’ve had a great family time. Wouldn’t mind a little bit of your cold weather, just as I’m sure you wouldn’t mind a bit of our heat!
      Our very best wishes for a wonderful 2020.

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