days seventy-six thru eighty-seven: december 14 thru 25:

We decided to break up our 11 day trip into three separate posts. The first is about the boat and the crew, the second highlighting our land excursions and the third specifically diving. Enjoy!

After barely making our flight to Sorong, we were greeted by Gian Paolo, the Italian owner of the Samambaia, the liveaboard we would spend the next 11 days on. Samambaia is a brand new Phinisi, which is a traditional Indonesian wooden sailing vessel.  

Gian Paolo spent the past year with famous Bugis boat builders in Sulawesi during the build of this incredible boat. As part of the process of berthing a ship in Indonesia includes the sacrifice of an animal comparable to the size of the vessel. In this case, a goat was sacrificed. The hind legs of the goat are tied to the back of the boat and the head and front legs to the bow. They are to stay there until they fall off on their own and if not, it's considered bad luck. So yes, that's a goat's head hanging from the bow in the photo above. Pretty intense. 

Johannes, our cruise director, was from Germany and  spent the past 4+ years on liveaboards sailing around Raja Ampat. He was quite knowledgeable about the region and had some great impressions and accents. Jonathan's favorite was his Singaporean taxi driver. Before his time in Raja Ampat, he backpacked around the world. In addition to his duties as cruise director, he also acted as a dive guide on many of our dives.

Jack, the 21 year old self-proclaimed "fish bender", was our second dive guide. When Jack was in high school he was scuba certified in school. When he graduated, friends and family asked him if he was going to college. He held up his dive certification card and said, "Why? I have this!". He's been diving ever since.

Mato, on the right, was the chef and his brother, Jojo, assisted him in the kitchen. We got to pick our breakfast every morning and lunch and dinner consisted of Indonesian and Italian cuisine. Needless to say, our stomachs were always full with good food. 

Danny was in charge of the dining area, taking our daily breakfast orders and always available. It was nice to wake up to someone with a smile. He loved to sing and I heard him belting All for One's 

Erwin and Indra were our two speedboat drivers. 

The captain had an attraction for onesie jumpsuits. He had two on board, an orange one and a red one. 

Fendi (pronounced Pendi), was always all smiles. As a bonus on the previous cruise, they rewarded Fendi with an opportunity to snorkel with the manta rays. Once he saw the mantas underwater, he freaked out because he thought they were going to eat him.