I live in the Jayapura region of Papua. The most famous site in this area is the Sentani Lake, or Danau Sentani. This amazing lake, around 96.5 square kilometers, stands 75 meters above sea level. I’m also told it’s “very deep,” although I’m unaware of the actual amount of meters. It’s with 19 small islands, most of which tiny fishery villages occupy.

The following information are wise tales that I’ve been told, although I’m sure most of the information is true: The lake used to be a saltwater lake, as it once upon a time belonged to the ocean, but due to the earth shifting and doing what the earth does the lake became a section excluded from the ocean. Because of this fact until recent the lake had fresh water sharks in it, though they’re now extinct due to over-hunting. The lake is still home to many incredible fish that aren’t found many other places in the world, in addition to alligators! So I don’t recommend going swimming there.

Although an incredible site that any adventuress tourist would want to see, there are no organized tours or ways for people to discover the lake. Therefore you must hire a boat or canoe to take you out onto the waters. You can also hike or drive along the shore of the lake, although there are no roads that completely circle the lake, and even those that go a way are quite rough and bumpy, and sometimes nearly impassable.

I was lucky enough to have Rachel de Fretes, one of my first friends in Indonesia from the dormitory in Salatiga, offer me a free boat ride on the lake. She knew a family from her church who live on the lake and were willing to give us a tour. So after a few failed attempts, finally in March I met up with Rachel and Onay, her husband to be on April 30th, and we explored the water, sunset and sites of Danau Sentani.

I thought I would give you some perspective of what I'm talking about. So here's a map. Maybe you can visualize it all a tiny bit better. (If you click on this picture, it will enlarge it on a new page.)

An evening view of Lake Sentani.

Preparing to explore the lake on the boat (pictured here). The family who lives in this blue house on the lake attend Rachel's church and graciously let us explore the lake in their boat free of charge.

A Papuan sunset - always beautiful, always different.

Rachel and two of the children from the family who owned the boat.

Another sunset photo. I have at least 15 of these. I had to make cuts. It wasn't easy.


A silhouetted sunset.

A young Papuan beauty.

Okay, like I said, it was hard to make cuts. The mountain Cyclops is in the background and is also famous in the Jayapura area.

We stopped at a house on the lake - another family of friends who attend Rachel's church. This is one of many very traditional/typical houses lining the lake of Sentani. They're built on stilts, yet are amazingly strong. Most people on the lake fish for a living, and have sets of nets built up in the waters beside their houses.

An example of fishing on the back porch of a lake house.

Goin' fishin'. Wouldn't that be nice? To sit on your "front" porch and catch a fish for dinner, just like that?

Yay! and he caught one!


The boat waiting for his passengers to return.