Back in the day, Simon & I made a deal. We promised each other that every year that we had dependent children, we would go on at least two vacations every year. One would be a family vacation, and one would be just us. The goal was to periodically refresh our relationship and get a chance to go diving at least once a year.
We made this deal before Joey was born. In 2013, we went on many trips as a couple (I was pregnant, but we decided it still counted) and traveled with Joey to Sequoia National Park, San Francisco, and Virginia. In 2014, we took Joey on a sailing adventure in the Caribbean and to New Zealand. We started planning our dive trip eight months ago, and today we embark on our first trip without him.
We’re writing to you from Washington Dulles International Airport, en route to Tokyo then Jakarta. From Jakarta, we stay one night in a hotel before climbing aboard an island hopper flight that will eventually land in Sorong, West Papua, Indonesia. In Sorong, we will be collected by boat and taken to Papua Paradise Dive Resort in Raja Ampat, Indonesia for eight days. Get excited- there will be many fish pictures coming soon! We are on a special hunt for an anemone with a clownfish for our nephews, in addition to our other favorites.
What we didn’t realize ahead of time was how very hard it would be to leave Joey. We know that he is in excellent care (grandparents’ resort) and we are not worried about his well-being, but we miss him! We made this deal before we knew how attached we would be to Joey, how much fun he is, and how much joy he brings into our lives. We expected it to be tough to leave him for a week, but definitely did not understand just how tough it would be.
At the same time, we are so excited to get in the water together and visit such an amazing place! Raja Ampat hosts some of the finest coral reefs in the world, at the center of marine biodiversity in the coral triangle. The jungle is equally spectacular, and hikes to search for rare birds of paradise are a regular activity there. We will be staying in a hut over crystal clear water, with an abundance of tropical fish and juvenile reef sharks schooling below. It is going to be an amazing week.
So was it a good idea? We’ll report back after we return on that front. For now, we are reassuring ourselves that we just had a wonderful Christmas with Joey and left him in a wonderful place. We think that we owe it to him to come back with amazing stories and photos if we are going to leave him for a week and a half.