Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:
I was (still) gone. A short trip of 15 days in Indonesia. On the program: rest and dives at Halmahera (North Maluku) and Bangka in North Sulawesi.
Step 1: Halmahera, Weda Bay
Three weeks ago, I redid my bag. This famous wheeled bag acquired three years ago, who has since become the faithful companion of my travels.
It looks like nothing, like that. But as it contains my diving gear and my tackle for underwater lighting (flash, battery and charger for the waterproof case of my camera), it weighs its small weight. 28 kilos at the start, 29 at the return, once gorged with the humidity of the tropical climate ...
At the landing stage of Sofifi, Halmahera, the big island of Maluku (archipelago located east of Indonesia), it took place in a red wheelbarrow, with the cardboard of a brush cutter.
After getting out of the boat, I freeze for a moment in the hustle and bustle of the pontoon, in the middle of the arrests of the carriers who rush on the packs and luggage of the speed boats. Dizziness, excitement mixed with fatigue.
Indonesia, I'm here!
I'm exhausted after the long hours of flying from France, the very short night near the airport in Jakarta, followed by a dawn take-off on Lion Air to join Ternate, dominated by the Gamalama volcano, then the Ternate speedboat ride to Sofifi. But so happy to be here!
Now, for me, it's easy. A guy from Weda Resort, with whom I made contact before departure, welcomes me and takes care of everything.
He drives me to the air-conditioned car waiting for me on the disgusting parking of the Sofifi landing stage, strewn with plastic waste - bags, bottles, wrappings, goblets - scattered with the four winds. Forget the clichés of paradise islands that you have in mind ... That's also Indonesia. Here, we do not care about the consequences on the environment. For the moment.
We still have nearly three and a half hours of road in the jungle, from village to village, to the beautiful bay of Weda, on the other side of the island.
Here I am at Halmahera, the first leg of my trip. I discover. I have never set foot here yet. I already love it.
In Weda Bay, the dives will be beautiful and peaceful. Quiet days, disconnected from the rest of the world. Pure happiness ...
Step 2: North Sulawesi, Bangka Island
The second leg of this little Indonesian journey, a week later, will be Bangka Island, in northern Sulawesi. Here, I know. I am on my third visit to the region.
The first time, in 2007I had discovered Bunaken Island, Lembeh Strait, and the Manado area.
The second time, in 2010I had returned to the Lembeh Strait, but I had opted for the island of Bangka, near Bunaken, which was quieter and less popular. During this stay in Bangka, in 2010, I had stayed at the excellent Murex Bangka Resort, then to the very nice Mimpi Indah.
At the time, during a ride on the boat of Mimpi Indah 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 hutches of bamboo and palm leaves.
I briefly exchanged a few words with a young guy from the beach, an Italian, who had explained to me the project they were launching: building a center to welcome scientists and students in marine biology, develop a farm of coral, conduct research on the environment ...
Three years later, at the chance of my research on Internet, while I prepare this new Indonesian trip of March 2013, I discover the existence of the Coral Eye. The project of the Italians has become reality. They even welcome, now, tourists.
I sent them an email. Marco, the young guy I met three years ago, answered me. He remembered our visit and our brief conversation. I booked at home.
I loved this new stay on the island of Bangka, which I had already loved so much in 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.
Mini 360 ° made to the iPhone from the dock:
I'm just coming back (sigh). I came back to France a week ago, with my big 29 kilo bag full of tropical moisture, my holiday tan, my mosquito bites and my coral scratches. Indonesia never leaves me unharmed ...
I cashed in the thermal shock, the jet lag. It was necessary to get used to the cold of this icy spring, to the gray Breton sky. Take the job back to the newspaper and plunge into the cauldron of news.
But I have memories full of my head and lots of photos at the bottom of my hard drive. I tell you very quickly, in the next articles, the terrestrial and subaquatic happiness of this new voyage ...