Lefkada, like most Greek islands, is a rocky and mountainous island on the Adriatic coast of Greece. I have never seen forests of wild cypress trees before, but you can see a lot of those beautiful green needles sticking out from the rocky landscape in the area. The island is a very popular place among tourists, especially the little Lafkada town at the end of it, but there a lot of wild and secluded beaches, where access is often very difficult by land or they are only accessible by a boat. We managed to get to two of those beaches to swim and dive into the beautiful and clear turquoise waters.
On our last day on the island, I managed to film the beautiful waves of turquoise blue water, crashing against the long and empty pebbly beach on the wilder west side of the island. You can see the video here: https://youtu.be/UII-OBU_Vlg
On a cold, gray winter day, I was wondering where I want to go next and I thought to myself: “I want to go to some very wild tropical islands, with no towns and cars and crowds of tourists”. So I googled “wild tropical islands” and started looking at the pictures that came up in the search. I saw one picture that looked amazing. After a quick research, I decided – “That’s it, I am going there!”. The islands, that I saw on the picture were a part of a big protected are in West Papua, called Raja Ampat and within the Borders of Indonesia. In order to get there I flew to Bali and then took an internal flight to the furthest eastern side of the Indonesian archipelago. I must say that this pristine natural paradise, exceeded my expectations – it is just a place of pure natural paradise.
The coral reefs there were the most abundant with life in all shapes, colors and forms, that I had seen. I was so blessed to dive into this incredible underwater world for more than two weeks. As I wasn’t a certified scuba diver, I didn’t hire any equipment and I just did snorkeling. Nevertheless, having enough experience in freediving, I managed to record some pretty amazing stationary underwater scenes by putting my camera with it’s underwater box on a tripod onto the ocean floor. It wasn’t an easy task and involved a lot of diving, but for the whole duration of my stay, I filmed a large enough collection of underwater scenes, that made it possible to make a three hour long relaxation video with no repeating footage in it. You can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/uyb0wW0ln_g There’s also a one scene only version of it here: https://youtu.be/_05mQPHk46Q
Unfortunately, I also saw coral reefs that were dead, lacking their colours and abundant life. It made it clear to me, that coral reefs and in BIG danger and we can loose a whole world of incredible biodiversity in the length of just one human lifetime!
I was staying in different beach hut, with different hosts taking care of my accommodation and food. Conditions were very simple and I quickly learned to properly tuck my mosquito net under the mattress and to make sure that there are no holes in it so that I don’t get any unwelcome insect visitors at night.
The Papua people that lived on those islands, were nice and friendly. Be careful to arrange all prices in advance though, so that you are not unpleasantly surprised in the end.
The food was also very basic, but tasty and very nutritious. I have never in my life eaten so much fish and bananas in all sizes and shapes 🙂 It was so tasty though and I was so hungry from diving, that I enjoyed it every time.
What really liked seeing is the life that the kids there had. They were playing outside all day, swimming and fishing. They didn’t have ANY modern devices. In fact in many places there was even no phone signal. But those kids looked very healthy, warm hearted and cheerful. There were no cars or even roads in those villages. People were travelling only by boats… Which reminds me of my only disappointment… I came to these islands in order to escape from the noises from all the machines that exist everywhere in our modern world. I wanted to record clean nature sounds, but as it turned out, boats were travelling between the island all day long. So, after many frustrating hours of attempts, I managed to successfully record some good sounds and footage. Here you can see different scenes from an incredibly beautiful and wild beach, where I stayed for a few nights: https://youtu.be/UyZfCrrdbm8
On this same beach, twice I was woken up by a loud bird song around 4 or 5 a.m. The second night I got up and recorded it: https://youtu.be/lFVsoRmQWSc
In the summer of 2010 I visited a number of alternative building projects in Wales. Built out of simple natural materials and covered with green roofs, these houses blend into the lush landscape. The beauty and tranquility of the Welsh countryside, along with the hobbit-like buildings, created an enchanting atmosphere and made me believe that is possible to live in a fairy tale, even in our modern world.