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Depapre Bay


Depapre is a small village situated on a beautiful, sweeping bay to the west of Sentani. After getting off the bemo and walking to the jetty, a local man greeted us. For a reasonable price, he offered to take us across the bay to a nearby white-sand beach in his boat. Astounded by his good English, we discovered that he had lived for a long time in Papua New Guinea (PNG). At the beach we borrowed some snorkeling gear from a group of American ex-pats camping nearby to have a look underwater, but the coral was badly damaged from fish bombing. Later, we ran into two Indonesians who were walking down the beach. One was wearing “city shoes” that were falling apart after the long walk from town. After stopping in a stilt village, we gave them a lift back to Depapre with our rented boat. One of them was from Tanah Toraja in Sulawesi. We described our visit there last year. Did he know our guide, Yonas Silambi? He did. Did he know our favorite restaurant in Rantepao, the Gazebo? He did. He was even a regular customer. Did he know another guide we had befriended there, someone with an unusual name? Wait a minute… it was Ruslan! We had met several times in Rantepao at the Gazebo. He was working for Adventure Indonesia, organizing tours to the Baliem Valley in the Papuan Highlands. In Sentani that evening, we took Ruslan and his friend Usman out to dinner for a meal of grilled chicken and fish. A friend of theirs in the Baliem Valley could help us find a guide.

Depapre stilt village

Before leaving Sentani we went to the market to buy supplies for the highlands. Walking down the street were two Papuan men with furry “couscous”, a kind of arboreal marsupial, climbing on their shoulders. Asking where they were from, we reached out to pet the soft, frizzy hair of the animals. The boss, excited to see our interest, came over to talk. He caught the animals in the nearby forest to sell. One was a female with a newborn. The boss opened the furry pouch on her abdomen, showing us the tiny pink baby inside. We wondered if he sold the animals as pets or for food. Did we want to accompany him to the forest to go hunting for more? Maybe another time…