Raja Ampat: a week at Yenros Homestay, eastern Gam

Raja Ampat, a well-known bucket-list destination, and oh so worth it! Previously I had been intimidated by the complicated logistics and high costs. Well, stayrajaampat makes it pretty darn easy to organize your trip, and you can get a very good idea of just how much everything costs. That’s important because you need to bring all your cash with you, and, yes, it’s expensive.

It took us 26 hours and three fights to get from Antalya to Bali. You might think then that we’d be practically in Raja Ampat, right? Nope, another three flights and another 22 hours.

For Raja Ampat we flew in and out of Sorong like most tourists do. We were in Papua less an hour when Ferda was learning how to chew betel nut from the salak seller where the ferry departed for Waisai.

Welcome to Papua.  Ferda learns how to chew bettle nut. by bryandkeith on flickr

Melki met us on time as planned at Waisai,

IMG_20221216_121255 by bryandkeith on flickr

and we were on our way to paradise.

IMG_20221216_121307 by bryandkeith on flickr

We didn’t know it at the time, but our bungalow at Yenros:

IMG_20221216_135759 by bryandkeith on flickr

was perhaps the most comfortable of the six we stayed at in Raja Ampat. The Raja Ampat homestays run generators from about sunset to midnight so everyone can charge their devices. My biggest concern was that there is no fan or a/c. Indeed we did have some hot nights but not at Yenros. Here we needed a blanket every night.

IMG_20221216_142611 by bryandkeith on flickr

Here is the view from our balcony

IMG_20221219_141303 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20221221_064502 by bryandkeith on flickr

and from the dining area where we ate meals with the other guests.

IMG_20221216_171034 by bryandkeith on flickr

But we didn’t come to Raja Ampat for the view, of course. It’s all about the snorkeling. Yenros has a good house reef.

20221217_114454A by bryandkeith on flickr
20221217_095811A by bryandkeith on flickr
20221217_102320A by bryandkeith on flickr
20221218_104859A by bryandkeith on flickr
20221218_100200A by bryandkeith on flickr

My notes talk excitedly about black-tipped reef sharks, turtles, blue-spotted rays, moray eels, parrotfish, anemonefish (aka clownfish) — all things that we would see in abundance almost everywhere we snorkeled in Raja Ampat.

Unlike in Wakatobi we saw very few chocolate chip sea stars in Raja Ampat. Yenros was the exception.

20221217_162342A by bryandkeith on flickr

Ferda and I were very excited to see our biggest clam ever, bigger even than anything we saw at the Toli Toli Labengki Giant Clam Marine Park near Kendari. That record wouldn’t last long.

20221222_095721A by bryandkeith on flickr
20221219_092240A by bryandkeith on flickr
20221218_142619A by bryandkeith on flickr
20221218_150815A by bryandkeith on flickr
Hawksbill turtle

Ferda spotted this flounder:

20221219_152600A by bryandkeith on flickr

Marianne, a grandmother from the US, arrived at Yenros the same day we did. She was at the end of her second trip to Raja Ampat. The three of us had an excellent excursion one day to Friwen Wall, known for sponges and tunicates, rather than fish and coral. The colors were stunning: bright orange, red, purple, pink, yellow, green. We also saw seven different species of anemonefish. I had no idea there were so many different ones. We probably doubled that count before leaving Raja Ampat.

I don’t remember now if it was poor light or poor visibility or a dead battery, but this is the only decent photo I have from Friwen Wall.

20221219_114650 by bryandkeith on flickr

We did a lot of fantastic snorkeling where we have no photos for any number of reasons. Even when we do have photos, they hardly do the reefs justice. You have to go check it out for yourself.

I guess the best excursion we did from Yenros was to Kabui Passage where the three of us were also joined by a German couple, Kai and Ínes. The boat trip along the convoluted north coast of Gam was beautiful. We felt like we were in an Amazon nature documentary.

IMG_20221220_092703 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20221220_091203 by bryandkeith on flickr

The highlight was snorkeling the Kabui Passage. From my notes: “the colors are unbelievable. Orange, red, purple, pink, blue, and so many shades between white and pink and red and orange. The colors look fake. You can’t imagine that so many vibrant, fluorescent, psychedelic colors really exist in nature. There were lots of sponges, and all sorts of crazy “flowers” Melki called them — red stems with glowing orange flowers. Everything was unbelievably exaggerated.”

I only have three photos that maybe sort of start to give an idea.

20221220_111951 by bryandkeith on flickr
20221220_112337 by bryandkeith on flickr
20221220_112754 by bryandkeith on flickr

On the way back we jumped in the water at what I described as “the best hard coral garden that I’ve ever seen”, another superlative that was exceeded three days later.

20221220_133907 by bryandkeith on flickr

Other guests at Yenros were Ashley and Jordan, Canadians teaching in Dhaka. Twice they took Ferda and me out for night snorkeling where we saw walking sharks, a Spanish lobster, a moray eel, and a fantastic sighting of a blue-spotted ray.

One afternoon sitting on the balcony of our bungalow with Ashley and Jordan, we watched three pods of dolphins cavorting in the water for about 45 minutes, sometimes only about 10m away! From the same spot Ferda twice watched a manta ray jump and twist! I haven’t been so lucky.

Melki and his family took good care of us at Yenros with plenty of good food (though the fish they served was some of the boniest fish I’ve ever had to deal with). Melki took us one afternoon to his village, Yenbeser, and the nearby Persiapan Raswan village.

IMG_20221221_170145 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20221221_170448 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20221223_083818 by bryandkeith on flickr

I don’t have many people pictures, but here’s Marianne:

IMG_20221223_083354 by bryandkeith on flickr


IMG_20221223_084001 by bryandkeith on flickr

and Melki’s brother (or his wife’s brother?).

IMG_20221223_083506 by bryandkeith on flickr

Thank you for a great Raja Ampat introduction. Next up, the Pam Islands.

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4 Responses to Raja Ampat: a week at Yenros Homestay, eastern Gam

  1. Mike Painter says:


  2. Curt Bradner says:

    Wow! I think that’s all I can say, other than Wow!
    On another subject – hoping all your family and friends in Turkey are okay –

  3. Jennie Jackson Werner says:

    So sorry to hear about Turkey’s losses, especially those of your friends and relatives. I’ve been thinking about you so much. But what a fabulous trip you are having to one of my bucket list places. I’ve loved so much about Indonesia but have never made it to Raja Ampat. I’m keeping this blog and hope to do this someday!!!! Sending love and good wishes to both of you!! Jennie

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