Just wanted to share a real find in kayaking destinations in the coral triangle.
Sourcing a high quality touring kayak in remote places is always difficult. You often end up slogging a folding kayak around the world, ending up with a soft hull craft with all its disadvantages. Not so in Raja Ampat, since Tertius, a young South African and a team of Papuans began building kayaks on Kri Island kayak4conservation.com . The brainchild of Max Ammer, who by now is a legend amongst the pioneers of dive resorts in Indonesia ( www.papua-diving.com ), Tertius has started producing excellent kayaks based on a design by Kaskazi from Cape Town. Not only was it a pleasure to paddle the kayak through the islands of Raja Ampat, but meeting a young guy full of energy, ideas and the drive to make a difference in this world will always be remembered. So highest marks for the kayak and Tertius and his team. Tertius is about to train local guides who can accompany guests on multiday kayak trips and some local people built ``homestays`` with the support of kayak4conservation. So kayaking with little logistic hassle.
Raja Ampat itself is a place in transition. 20 years ago when Kri Eco resort was set up it must have been literally a place removed from time. Even today you paddle over stretches of intact reefs, camp on secluded beaches, see parrots dart among the rain forest and marble at orchids growing from the edge of the the limestone islands. But by now you can slowly feel the burgeoning towns of Sorong and Waisei, the impact of 40 live aboards and several resorts. Papua is part of Indonesia, a country with a rapidly growing population and all the problems of the developing world. So depending on currents some of the ``pristine`` beaches are strewn with rubbish of plastic bottles and if you are unlucky, as I was on my first day, you have to paddle through large carpets of accumulated plastic dumped in the seas. You are reminded that you are not on a remote archipelago in the outer Fiji islands, on the clean coast of New Zealand or an atoll in Polynesia. Accepting that, Raja Ampat is still a great place to spend a few days or even a few weeks kayaking and diving. I have only seen a tiny part of the ``four kings`` what Raja Ampat means. So possibly further up north there are still areas clean and pristine as Europeans given to romanticizing would wish for.
I found great pictures on kayaking Raja Ampat on the walkaboutalex