Vacation doubts are starting to fester. The first two legs of this journey were bearable. You’ve done the long haul to Asia, with the connection to Jakarta, before. Even the last flight wasn’t too bad. The anticipation built over the four hours to Sorong. A guide met you at the West Papuan airport to drive to the port. You had coffee and breakfast while your luggage was loaded onto your resort’s custom-built speedboat. Now it’s a four-hour ride through the Raja Ampat Islands.
That doesn’t sound horrible. The Raja Ampat Islands lie off the northwest tip of New Guinea in eastern Indonesia. The 1,500 islands and cays straddle the equator. They’re part of the Coral Triangle, an area known as the Amazon of the Seas for its marine biodiversity. Plus they’re beautiful. The little green islands are ringed by white-sand beaches and clear, turquoise water. So what’s the problem?
It’s pure exhaustion. You have no idea what time, much less what day, it is—either here or back home. You haven’t had a shower or a proper meal in days. Sleep has come in such tiny spurts that it hardly counts. So you can barely keep your eyes open as you cross the Seram Sea.
The captain suddenly cuts the engine. The islands around you are no longer a blur. The speedboat rounds the northeast tip of Batbitim Island and turns into its North Lagoon. Villas are perched in the coconut groves on either side. Water villas stand on stilts above the house reef. Plus a sparkling beach sits in the curve of the lagoon. As the boat glides up to the wooden dock, your fatigue dissipates.
Welcome to Misool. The eco-resort was created by an Englishman who worked on boats in the area. He leased the uninhabited island, designed a sustainable resort, built villas out of reclaimed tropical hardwood, and established the Misool Marine Reserve, a nearly 200-square-mile no-catch zone, around the island. It’s considered an underwater paradise for its pristine coral, abundance of fish, and exciting dive sites.
You quickly discover that everything above the water is pretty luxurious, too. The Dive Centre is on one side of the beach. It has a huge work station in the wet area, a lounge in the dry area, and the island’s only WiFi. The open-air dining room is tucked under coconut palms. It’s where four meals per day—a mini breakfast is served before the first dive—afternoon tea, and sunset cocktails are served. Spa treatments, featuring natural products whipped up in the kitchen, are set up in either the villas or the Lookout, the highest point at the resort. While shaded verandas and hammocks pop up in the most perfect and unexpected places. Actually, the entire resort is in the most perfect and unexpected spot. There are no doubts here.