Indonesia: Weda [Halmahera] + Bangka [Sulawesi] - March 2013

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March 2013. Bangka Island, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. My new home, for a few days, is called Coral Eye. "Coral Eye", what a beautiful name!

Marine biologists

In March 2013, I returned to the island of Bangka, which I had loved so much, during my previous stay in North Sulawesi, three years ago. (Not to be confused with the other island named Bangka, near Sumatra.)

At the time, in 2010, I had tested two diver's springs: the excellent Murex Bangka and the very nice Mimpi Indah. This time, I wanted to discover Coral Eye.

I had seen the project come up in 2010 (I mention it here in the article Back to Indonesia). And then, their website, which I stumbled upon by chance, in early 2013, while researching Bangka, piqued my curiosity... So I got in touch with them and went to spend a few days at the Coral Eye. Very good pickaxe!

→ Read also here : Bangka Island 

The boat of Coral Eye. Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia. March 2013.
The boat of Coral Eye. Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia. March 2013.

Imagined by young Italian marine biologists, Coral Eye welcomes students, researchers and scientists throughout the year. Recently, the place has also opened to tourists.

But it does not look like any of the other resorts or dive centers in the area ...

Zen atmosphere

Here, there is a large building in hard, harmoniously designed for life and work in community. A little behind the beach, it is hidden behind the coconut trees.

Coral Eye. Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia. March 2013.

Downstairs, a vast living room, open to the outside on all four sides, around which are distributed other smaller rooms: a library, an office, sanitary facilities, the kitchen...

The rooms - immaculate - are upstairs, far from everything that crawls, trots or spades. Two stairs without ramp lead to a wooden mezzanine, which goes around. Facing the sea, a large terrace with day beds to read quietly or admire the sunsets.

Coral Eye. Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia. March 2013.

Coral Eye. Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia. March 2013.

We find ourselves downstairs at mealtimes, to eat at the same table, a large square wooden surface, with benches and benches, which can accommodate a dozen guests.

Coral Eye. Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia. March 2013.

Above, the huge roof. It is traditionally built in dried palm leaves, supported by a spectacular frame, which rises very high.

White walls, minimalist decor. It's beautiful, sober and elegant, very zen. I love.

Coral Eye. Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia. March 2013.

Coral Eye. Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia. March 2013.

Marco and Clara, two of the young Italian marine biologists who initiated the project, bring the place to life and take care of everything with a good mood, from cooking to diving, with a small Indonesian team, very friendly.

Coral farm

Next to them are the cottages where they live, and another, smaller building, which houses the diving center and work rooms with aquariums.

At high tide, you can swim (and really swim) in front of the white sand beach. At very low tide, the top of the coral potatoes outcrops.

Coral Eye Beach. Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia. March 2013.

Coral Eye Beach. Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia. March 2013.

The house-reef (the part of the reef just in front of the beach) has become a real coral farm, with "nursery" and "cultures" carefully maintained near the pontoon.

Clara takes new "cuttings" of coral. Coral Eye, Bangka Island. Sulawesi, Indonesia. March 2013.

One afternoon I accompanied Clara on a dive, in 3 meters of water, to see her accomplish this patient work which consists in fixing broken pieces of coral on stable supports to encourage their "regrowth". Coral is not a plant, so we can't really talk about "cutting", but that's the idea.

(Click on the pictures to see them big.)

It reminded me of the project Biorock from PemuteranIn Bali, "Reef Gardeners" are working on the same principle, recovering and attaching pieces of coral to artificial structures - metallic, in the case of Biorock, to stimulate coral fixation and growth by means of electric current.

Let go

I loved the atmosphere Coral Eye. We are far from everything, quiet, in a beautiful environment.

Coral Eye Beach. Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia. March 2013.

Marco and Clara live and work there most of the year. Clara and her Indonesian husband Danny have a little girl who has, pretty much, to be the age of Coral Eye.

The nearest neighbors are Indonesian families, who also live on the beach, in rustic wooden huts and palm leaves. We meet some fishermen in traditional boat. Sometimes visitors from Sulawesi or other divers arrive to take a break.

Danny and Clara. Coral Eye, Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia. March 2013.
Danny and Clara. Coral Eye, Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia. March 2013.

It's quiet here. There is nothing ... The other resorts on the island are not nearby. And you have to walk a good time in the jungle to reach the village. All trips are by sea.

I knew it: Bangka is really the perfect place to let go!

😎

  Indonesia: Weda [Halmahera] + Bangka [Sulawesi] - March 2013

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  1. This place seems idyllic to me and the architecture of the place, harmoniously arranged, really elegant; ah! do you hear the little sigh of envy? 😉

    1. @Ysbilia: yes, I had a big crush on the place... I would have stayed longer, I must say. There's no denying it, they know how to do things with style, the Italians... 😉

      And besides, the food is to match: what happiness to have homemade bread, fresh salads, pizzas, pasta, etc. well prepared, which vary from the traditional and monotonous rice-chicken or rice-fish ...

  2. If you had not mentioned that the two owners were biologists, I would have guessed! The worry of melting in the landscape and less impact ... It's superb!

  3. so cool !!
    and you're right, we're talking about coral cuttings, it's true that it's a bit strange to "cultivate" an animal but it's the right term! 🙂

  4. Hello,

    To say that I am jealous would be an understatement! I have to move to places like this ...
    I hope with all my heart that this place stays so long.
    One day maybe you won't be able to go back? Anyway enjoy and make us enjoy it's perfect, we all need to dream 😉 !

    1. @Eric: For now, I have this chance to leave, and I take advantage, yes!
      I'm sharing these happinesses not to make you jealous, eh, but on the contrary, to make others than me want to leave... 😉

      As for Bangka Island in North Sulawesi (like the other Bangka Island near Sumatra, already devastated by mines), it is unfortunately threatened by a mining project that could well be implemented in the coming years ...

    2. Long life and continues to make us dream. In terms of making me want ... it's only a problem of finance, time etc. nothing in fact! no? for envy believe me there is no problem

      eric 😉

  5. Hello Corinne,
    First of all congratulations for your site which is a real treat for the eyes! We are (my husband and I) very big fans of your work. We are also passionate about travel and diving (still amateur compared to you).
    I want to tell you that I particularly liked your report on Weda Bay because I work for this project in Kuala Lumpur. Being a friend of underwater life and working for a mining project is therefore compatible. Indeed a lot of work is developed within our company to carry out this project in all respect of nature and people, glad to see that you felt it on the spot 🙂
    I'm going for a tour late August to Weda for work (for the first time), and I hope to have a chance to put your head under water to see the wonders you've photographed.
    For the record, we discovered a few days ago talking during a party that we had common knowledge: Greg and Amelie. We would have liked to meet you to discuss our common passion, unfortunately we will not be there this weekend.

    Keep making us dream like you do.
    Alexandra.

    1. @Alexandra: thanks!!! It was nice of you to take the time to leave a little note!!! 🙂
      Too bad we're missing each other, yeah... Who knows, maybe we'll have the opportunity to cross paths again somewhere in Asia 😉

  6. Hi Corinne,

    Always 1000 bravo for your site is becoming more beautiful, a real treat for the eyes as Alexandra says ...

    A new address in my list to do, thanks again to you ❗

    Thanks again…

    1. @Martinoo: Thank you for your little note, it makes me happy 🙂
      Yes, I highly recommend Coral Eye. A real nice place and very nice people. I would have stayed there a little longer ...

  7. Good evening little bubble,

    We were at Coral Eye in October 2012.
    We knew this place by chance thanks to the Italians with whom we had plunged at Bastianos in Lembeh.
    We loved and highly recommend this destination.
    See comment on Tripadvisor
    http://www.tripadvisor.fr/ShowUserReviews-g3203856-d3170913-r147501647-Coral_Eye-Bangka_Island_North_Sulawesi_Sulawesi.html#UR147501647
    Marco, Carla, Yuri and Ricardo (a student preparing his thesis in such a place, the poor! ...) have made us spend beautiful moments, under the water and around this table or tasting the grilled fish of the Indonesian chef we do the diving again ... and the world.
    For several years we fall back on your blog according to our research for our next destination, we apparently have the same affinities for Southeast Asia and it's fun because a sudden you precede us, another time we're there went before ... maybe one day we will meet in real life! (the world is finally quite small)
    Our next trip will be in October-November maybe to Raja Ampat, following your advice, if the "fuss of the piggy bank" does not put us completely on the straw!
    Reading you is always a pleasure, it's the beginning of the journey, continue as well.
    Good bubbles.
    Bruno and Nelly

    1. @Bruno and Nelly: Fun, yes... We're going to meet eventually!!! 😉
      I would have to take the time to put a word on Tripadvisor, me too, Coral Eye is really top.
      Good piggy bank breaking for Raja Ampat, you'll see, it's really worth it ...
      : Mrgreen:

  8. Hello Corinne,

    I am Didier, 58, living near Carpentras.

    With my wife, I plan to go to Coral Eye in November. My main archi goal is snorkeling. Is this enflroit adapted ?.
    Thank you for yes info and see you soon.

    1. @Didier: Hello! Yes, the Coral Eye beach is perfectly suited for snorkeling, with its pontoon over the corals. I guess they can also take you to other spots by boat. Good preparations! 😎

      Below, a photo I posted on Instagram during my last visit in July 2015:

  9. Thank you Corinne for this beautiful testimony!
    I follow your advice and check your blog every time I look for a beautiful place (Raja ampat, Komodo, Alor, philippines...) and so far zero disappointment 🙂
    I'm going to Coral Eye next September and I hope this little paradise has kept its beauty.

    1. @Yasmine: thanks for your trust and thanks for taking the time to leave this little message, it's very nice 🙂 I went back to the Coral Eye in 2015, after that first stay in 2013, and it was still great... I don't think it's changed much since then. I went back to Sulawesi this July 2017, and if I had another week, I do believe I would have gone back to land a few days in Bangka at the Coral Eye, again. I really loved this place!!!

  10. Thank you Corinne for your answer, I can not wait to be there.
    I'll give you a return if you're interested, of course.
    I am looking for a destination for my next trip that might be Kimbe Bay.
    I saw that you've already been there as usual you're everywhere 😉
    Did you like ?
    Thank you
    Yasmine

    1. @Yasmine: yes, feel free to tell your own impressions when you get back... 🙂
      As for Kimbe Bay, it's in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and I've never been there, no ... I went to Raja Ampat, in the province of West Papua, which is part of the territory of Indonesia. Sorry, then, that I can't meet you on Kimbe Bay... One day, maybe 😉

  11. Hello,
    I would like to spend a few days at the Coral Eye but I can not contact them. Do you have an email address?
    Thanks in advance for the answer

    1. @Alessandra Moretti: the info is on the "contact" page of their site:
      https://www.coral-eye.com/contact/
      By clicking on the envelope at the bottom of the page (between the Facebook and Instagram logos) it launches your email software with sending to the following e-mail address (I do not put it with the @ to avoid spammers robots mails):
      info [AT] coral-eye.com

  12. Hello Corinne

    We are returning from 6 nights at Coral Eye. My impression is really mixed. The place is not really as you described it in 2013. The business has taken over. The atmosphere is relatively cold. The locals are exceptionally little smiling. I feel them "exploited" by Marco and Ilaria ...

    Meals were not as good as it is in quantity as sometimes in quality ...

    In short we will not go back.
    For those who want more infp you can contact me or watch on a well known dive forum or I made a complete account of my stay.

    cordially
    Hugues

    1. @Hughes: thank you for your report, it is always interesting to have fresh feedback and news from other travelers-divers. Really a pity that you have not found the same atmosphere as me ... My stays at Coral Eye are great memories, anyway ...

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