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Sorido Bay and Kri Eco Resort. Accommodation is simple but charming; each spacious villa is set on a stretch of butter-soft sand sheltered by spindly palms. Sorido Bay is the newest, with air-conditioning to combat the humidity, but Kri Eco Resort’s romantic stilted villas have soul on their side. Ammer plays a hand in Raja Ampat’s conservation by discouraging unsustainable fishing methods, but his plans also help locals support their way of life without harming the ecosystem. For instance, the Kayak4Conservation project employs islanders to help build sleek fibreglass kayaks (with moulds imported from South Africa) and trains up prospective local guides. There’s also a dedicated scientists’ complex in the works to house the marine biologists that study here – perhaps most talked about is Dr. Gerry Allen, who recorded 374 species of reef fish in a single dive on the house reef, Cape Kri. New species are discovered regularly, alongside the resident blue-ringed octopus, venomous sea snakes, bizarre wobbegong sharks and huge oceanic manta rays. It’s here that I listen to the echo of birdsong against the cliffs, swim in bays populated by a thousand stingless jellyfish, claim driftwood as a picnic table on a deserted beach, seek out the elusive bird of paradise in the jungle canopy, and spend so much time in the ocean that I might’ve grown gills. My final night culminates in a trademark fiery sunset and, a couple of internal flights later, I find myself on the enigmatic, volcano-studded island of Java. Landing in the cultural hub of Jogjakarta, known for traditional weaving, dance, music and silverwork, I’m driven through dense forests to my lavish countryside retreat, Amanjiwo, to catch a couple of hours of sleep before rising in darkness. The call of prayer swells against the Menoreh Hills as I make my somnambulist’s trip to the greatest sight in Central Java – Borobudur Temple, where sunrise coaxes mist from the earth and bell-shaped stupas glow pearlescent in the light of dawn. On the horizon, the silhouettes of Merapi and Sumbing, two of Java’s 39 sacred volcanoes, appear suddenly and then vanish like a magic trick, engulfed by some imperceptible haze. “In summertime, the sun rises right between those two peaks,” my guide murmurs, shading

Profile for Runwild Media Group

Marylebone & Fitzrovia magazine January 2017  

Welcome to the latest edition of Marylebone & Fitzrovia magazine, celebrating the dynamism of the area and bringing you the latest features,...

Marylebone & Fitzrovia magazine January 2017  

Welcome to the latest edition of Marylebone & Fitzrovia magazine, celebrating the dynamism of the area and bringing you the latest features,...

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