A yellow pygmy hippocampus, as big as the fingernail of my little finger. (Bunaken, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2007.)
A yellow pygmy hippocampus, as big as the fingernail of my little finger. (Bunaken, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2007.)

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  Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2007

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

Already my last day at Bunaken ! I have new neighbors at Nyiur Melambai: Olivier and Ariane, and their three daughters, Alizé, Flore and Jade. From Grenoble, arriving from Bali. We take our meals together in the evening in the big desert restaurant and we quickly get on well with each other. I'm a little sad at the idea of leaving tomorrow.

I'm already starting to take my little habits here. To do to mosquitoes (Nyamouk) at the shower fresh and salty mandi (hard to get fresh water on this island!), grilled fish and rice in the evening, the fabulous lunch buffet at the Froggies, to the inexhaustible kindness of the locals.

The beach, Pantai Liang, at low tide. Bunaken, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2007.
The beach, Pantai Liang, at low tide. Bunaken, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2007.

I like it, the island of Celebes alias Sulawesi... In any case, what little I have been able to see in five short days from North Sulawesi: that is, for the moment, a tiny piece of island, streets congested when crossing the Manado and the airport road ...

There are few or no veiled women here: we are in a Christian enclave, in the largest Muslim country in the world. There are lots of kitschy churches lining the roads: many Adventists, evangelists, some Catholic buildings.

The government has tried to build mosques in every Christian city and village, but they remain empty because there are no faithful ... On the road, we see cars that display on their windshields "Jesus is my pilot". It seems that even the logo of the famous pub Pentium "Intel inside" was here diverted into "Jesus inside"

Manado Tua, the island-volcano in front of Bunaken, seen from Pantai Liang. (Bunaken, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2007.)
Manado Tua, the island-volcano in front of Bunaken, seen from Pantai Liang. (Bunaken, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2007.)

I went for a walk quickly last night, before nightfall (and it falls early, in these latitudes, from 18h-18h30), in the tiny village located above "my" beach, that of the west coast of Bunakencalled Pantai Liang.

You have to climb a long steep staircase, then follow the path between the banana trees and the coconut trees. Rocky huts with chickens pecking in the courtyard, on the doorstep, alternate with dapper little houses with a big TV and plush living room furniture, which can be seen through the open French windows.

I don't know if it's because it was Saturday night, but everyone had their sound system on full blast... Karaoke atmosphere in the village! People were a bit surprised to see me go by, but everyone was going on with their own music. "hello!" and a small gesture of the affable hand. I counted three churches, just for this handful of houses.

I did not have time to go to the "village" of Pantai Pangalisang, the mangrove beach located on the eastern tip of the island. But by the way, with the diving boat, you can see a big construction like birthday cake, another church ...

From the sea, we can see the Pantai Pangalisang church. (Bunaken, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2007.)
From the sea, we can see the Pantai Pangalisang church. (Bunaken, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2007.)

I'm trying to learn some extra Indonesian words, but my progress is slow ... In the evening, I'm too tired for holiday duties and language exercises. Especially since I am building the rest of my stay.

After long discussions with Ariane and Olivier, who, like me, have not planned anything definitive, and on the advice of Tommy, the Indonesian who leads Froggies with Christiane, we decide to give up the natural park of Tangkoko, infested, he told us, with mosquitoes and frightening gnats that sting like sandflies (bites without gravity, but itch terribly) ...

TomohonIn the mountains, near Manado, seems to us a much more pleasant stage: there are volcanoes more or less asleep, lakes, therefore a lake of sulphur, and nice walks to do, accessible to all legs.

It's decided. I still planned to spend three days diving at the beginning of this trip, but on the island of Lembeh, where I'm moving tomorrow.

Located on the east coast of the peninsula, the island is just over an hour's drive from Manado, then twenty minutes by boat from the port of Bitung. After that, I'll go green for a couple of days at Tomohon, dry a bit and see something other than fish. At the same time, I do not get tired of it, poiscaille (except on my plate) ...

And I'm not a little proud to have succeeded, after many unsuccessful attempts, the cliché of this tiny hippocampus, below, no bigger than the nail of my little finger ...

A yellow pygmy hippocampus, as big as the fingernail of my little finger. (Bunaken, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2007.)
A yellow pygmy hippocampus, as big as the fingernail of my little finger. (Bunaken, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2007.)

It is beautiful again, I happily enjoy the last bubbles in Bunaken. The fauna of all these falls is rich, varied, but less spectacular than Sipadan, in the same sea of Celebes, off the Malay side of Borneo. (Read my story from July 2006: Sipadan: swimming with sharks.)

Well, I'm going to stop making my diver spoiled ... There is still a lot of fun here with the "little". And we all the more appreciate to cross the "fat", on occasion. Like this big turtle, who came to say goodbye. A bit in spite of herself, the poor ...

Hello the turtle! (Bunaken, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2007.)
Hello the turtle! (Bunaken, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2007.)

It came under my nose, abruptly drawn from his nap in a cavity of the wall, by my repeated flashes. I blocked the exit, monopolized as I was by the exquisite details of a new nudibranch and the recalcitrant focus of my macro mode ...

Needless to say, she took off into the blue without asking for the rest!

  Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2007

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