Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text:
I was (again) gone. A short trip of 15 days in Indonesia. On the program: rest and diving, in Halmahera (North Moluccas) and in Bangka in North Sulawesi.
Stage 1: Halmahera, Weda Bay
Three weeks ago, I redid my bagagain. This famous wheeled bag acquired three years ago, which has since become the faithful companion of my travels.
It doesn't look like much. But as it contains my diving equipment and my underwater lighting gear (flash, battery and charger for the waterproof housing of my camera), it weighs a little. 28 kilos at the start, 29 at the return, once it is soaked in the humidity of the tropical climate...
At the pier of Sofifi, in HalmaheraOn the large island of the Moluccas (an archipelago located in the far east of Indonesia), he took his place in a red wheelbarrow, with the cardboard of a brushcutter.
After getting off the boat, I freeze for a moment in the crowd of the pier, in the middle of the calls of the porters who rush on the packages and luggage of the speed-boats. A dizzying sensation, exhilaration mixed with fatigue.
Indonesia, I'm there!
I am exhausted after the long flight from France, the very short night near the airport in Jakarta, followed by a dawn take-off on Lion Air to reach Ternate, dominated by the Gamalama volcanothen the crossing in speed-boat from Ternate to Sofifi. But so happy to be here!
Now, for me, it's easy. A guy from Weda ResortI was greeted by the person I contacted before my departure and he took care of everything.
He takes me to the air-conditioned car that is waiting for me on the disgusting parking lot of the Sofifi landing stage, strewn with plastic waste - bags, bottles, wrappers, cups - scattered to the four winds. Forget the clichés of paradise islands that you have in mind... This is also Indonesia. Here, we do not care about the consequences on the environment. For the moment.
We still have about 3 hours and a half of road, in the jungle, from village to village, until the superb bay of Weda, on the other side of the island.
Here I am in Halmahera, first stage of my journey. I discover. I have never been here before. I love it already.
In Weda Bay, the dives will be beautiful and peaceful. Quiet days, disconnected from the rest of the world. Pure happiness...
Stage 2: North Sulawesi, Bangka Island
The second leg of this little Indonesian journey, a week later, will be the island of Bangkain the north of Sulawesi. Here I know. This is my third visit to the region.
The first time was in 2007 I had discovered the island of Bunaken, the Lembeh Strait and the region of Manado.
The second time was in 2010 I had gone back to dive in the Lembeh Strait, but then I had opted for the small island of Bangka, not very far from Bunaken, but much quieter and less crowded. During this 2010 stay in Bangka, I had stayed at the excellent Murex Bangka Resort, then to the very nice Mimpi Indah.
At the time, during a trip on Mimpi Indah's boat with other tourists, Italians, we went to a nearby beach.
People lived there. There was an Indonesian flag and an Italian flag at the end of the pontoon, a building under construction under the trees at the back, a few tents on the beach, between Indonesian shacks made of palm leaves.
I had briefly exchanged a few words with a young guy from the beach, an Italian, who had explained to me the project they were launching: to build a center to welcome scientists and students in marine biology, to develop a coral farm, to carry out research on the environment...
Three years later, during my research on the internet, while preparing this new Indonesian trip in March 2013, I discovered the existence of a new diving center on the island, named Coral Eye. The project of the Italians has become reality. They even welcome, now, tourists.
I sent them an email. It was Marco, the young guy I had met three years earlier, who replied. He remembered our visit and our brief conversation. I made a reservation with them.
I loved this new stay on the island of Bangka, which I had already loved so much during my previous visit in 2010.
Coral Eye is located on a beautiful beach, not far from the Murex resort. The beauty of the place, the atmosphere of the center, the dives, the peace of the island filled me with joy.
Mini 360° realized with the iPhone from the pontoon:
I just got back (sigh). I came back to France a week ago, with my big 29 kilos bag full of tropical humidity, my holiday tan, my mosquito bites and my coral scratches. Indonesia never leaves me unscathed...
I took the thermal shock, the jet lag. I had to get used to the cold of this icy spring, to the grey Breton sky. Back to work newspaper and dive back into the cauldron of current events.
But I have a lot of memories in my head and a lot of pictures in my hard drive. I will tell you soon, in the next articles, the terrestrial and underwater pleasures of this new trip...