On the way to Bangka Island! (North Sulawesi, Indonesia, March 2013.)
On the way to Bangka Island! (North Sulawesi, Indonesia, March 2013.)

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

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: 

I was gone (again). A short trip of 15 days in Indonesia. On the agenda: relaxing and scuba diving, in Halmahera (Northern Moluccas) and Bangka in North-Sulawesi.

Step 1: Halmahera, Weda Bay

Three weeks ago, I packed my bagagain. This famous wheeled bag acquired three years ago, which has since become the faithful companion of my travels.

It looks like nothing, as it is. But as it contains my diving equipment and my underwater lighting gear (strobes, battery and charger for the waterproof housing of my camera), it does weigh a little. 28 kilos at departure, 29 on the way back, once soaked with the tropical climate's humidity...

The pier of Sofifi. Halmahera, Indonesia, March 2013.
The pier of Sofifi. Halmahera, Indonesia, March 2013.

At the pier of Sofifi, in HalmaheraOn the big island of the Moluccas (an archipelago located in the east of Indonesia), it took place in a red wheelbarrow, with a brushcutter's box.

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 hours of flight from France, the very short night near the airport in Jakarta, followed by a takeoff at dawn on Lion Air to reach Ternate, dominated by the Gamalama volcano, and then the Ternate speedboat ride to Sofifi. But so happy to be here!

Jakarta airport, take off on Lion Air. Indonesia, March 2013.
Jakarta airport, take off on Lion Air. Indonesia, March 2013.
Ternate, Gamalama volcano. Halmahera, Indonesia, March 2013.
Ternate, Gamalama volcano. (Halmahera, Indonesia, March 2013.)
The speed boats from Ternate land baggage and passengers at the port of Sofifi. (Halmahera, North Maluku, Indonesia, March 2013.)
The speed boats from Ternate land baggage and passengers at the port of Sofifi. (Halmahera, North Maluku, Indonesia, March 2013.)

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 takes me to the air-conditioned car waiting for me in the disgusting parking lot of the Sofifi jetty, strewn with plastic garbage – bags, bottles, wrappers, cups – scattered to the four winds. Forget the clichés of paradisiacal islands that you have in mind... That's Indonesia too. Here, there is little concern for the consequences on the environment. For the time being.

The parking of the landing stage of Sofifi. Halmahera, Indonesia, March 2013.
The parking at the Sofifi landing stage is littered with rubbish and plastics. (Halmahera, Indonesia, March 2013.)

We still have almost 3 hours and a half of road left, in the jungle, from village to village, to the magnificent Weda Bay, on the other side of the island.

The jungle Halmahera, drowned in a haze of heat. (Indonesia, March 2013.)
The jungle Halmahera, drowned in a haze of heat. (Indonesia, March 2013.)
The road stretches through the jungle and spans rivers, between the port of Sofifi and the bay of Weda. (Halmahera, Indonesia, March 2013.)
The road stretches through the jungle and spans rivers, between the port of Sofifi and the bay of Weda. (Halmahera, Indonesia, March 2013.)
The Weda Bay Resort, finally! (Halmahera, Maluku, Indonesia, March 2013.)
The Weda Bay Resort, finally! (Halmahera, Maluku, Indonesia, March 2013.)

I am here in Halmahera, the first stage of my journey. It is a first discovery. I have never set foot here before. I love the place already.

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 was in 2007I had discovered Bunaken Island, Lembeh Strait and the Manado region.

The second time was in 2010 I had returned to dive in the Lembeh Strait, but I had then opted for the small island of Bangka, not 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.

The beach at Murex Resort, Bangka Island. (Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010.)
The beach at Murex Resort, Bangka Island. (Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010.)

At the time, during a ride on the boat of Mimpi Indah with other tourists, Italians, we went to a nearby beach.

People used to live there. There was an Indonesian flag and an Italian flag at the end of the pontoon, a building under the trees at the back, a few tents on the beach, between Indonesian shanties made of palm leaves.

Bangka, Coral Eye Beach. (Indonesia, Sulawesi, July 2010.)
Bangka, Coral Eye Beach. (Indonesia, Sulawesi, July 2010.)
Bangka. Construction of the Coral Eye. (Indonesia, Sulawesi, July 2010.)
Bangka. Construction of the Coral Eye. (Indonesia, Sulawesi, July 2010.)

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, while preparing this new Indonesian trip in March 2013, I discovered a new diving center on the island, called "The Diving Center of Indonesia". Coral Eye. The project of the Italians has become reality. They even welcome, now, tourists.

I e-mailed them. It was Marco, the young guy I'd met three years earlier, who wrote me back. He remembered our visit and our brief conversation. I made a reservation at their house.

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.

Coral Eye Beach. Bangka Island. (Sulawesi, Indonesia, March 2013.)
Coral Eye Beach. Bangka Island. (Sulawesi, Indonesia, March 2013.)
Coral Eye. Bangka Island. (Sulawesi, Indonesia, March 2013.)
Coral Eye. Bangka Island. (Sulawesi, Indonesia, March 2013.)
On the way to Bangka Island! (North Sulawesi, Indonesia, March 2013.)
On the way to Bangka Island! (North Sulawesi, Indonesia, March 2013.)

Mini 360 ° made to the iPhone from the dock:

I just came back from (sighs). I came back to France a week ago, with my big 29 kilo bag full of tropical humidity, my holiday tan, my mosquito bites and my coral scratches. Indonesia never leaves me unscathed...

????

I've weathered the heat shock, the jet lag. I had to get used to the cold of that freezing spring, with grey Breton skies. Going back to work newspaper and plunge back into the cauldron of current events.

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 ...

????

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

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  1. 🙄 Merci pour tous ces récits, c’est toujours un régal de vous lire, particulièrement quand on apprécie cette région du monde, on s’y replonge à chaque ligne, si je peux me permettre….
    🙄

  2. A CR always interesting, on a beautiful place.
    The return is actually very rough this year, I was in Panglao last week ....

    1. @Alain: oh there, yes, the transition must have been tough for you too ... I was left, optimistic (telling me that spring would be here on my return) with only a thin polar on the back and barefoot in my canvas sneakers. I curdled on the platform of the station, the descent of the plane, waiting for the train that was to take me back to Rennes ...
      😆

  3. Merci encore Corinne de nous faire partager tes allées et venues, le retour a dû être vraiment glacial… Rennes/Vannes même froid ces derniers jours, mais te lire me réchauffe le coeur, la tête et me donne envie de partir encore plus. 🙄

    1. @ Celine: hey, hey, happy to help you warm (virtually) a little ... If more, it gives you the desire to start, it's perfect!
      🙂

  4. It reminds me of my stay in the Togians, not far, all that. I do not dive (just snorkeling) but in the peaceful island category I thought it was excellent. It's as quiet as the Bangka Togians or not?

  5. Again thank you for these texts, these photos that give me almost goosebumps, as the beauty of the place, the peaceful atmosphere of indonesia shine and give this very strong desire to return as soon as possible. on our hunger ... .what pretty window you open to us !!!!

  6. For once I have never put a toe on this end of the world, but sure: as soon as I decided to do it, I read your (many) articles with pleasure to inspire me ...
    Welcome back, and good luck!

  7. I sympathize for the thermal shock! It was almost 40 degrees in Bangkok, and with the heating almost at home, I was cold !!!
    The good thing about Indonesia is that there are so many islands that every trip you will do there, you could discover a new one ... at least ... for our pleasure when you come back.

  8. Dear Corinne ... ..Ah Indonesia, we go there for the first time and then we can not do without it ... so many islands for lovers of diving and tranquility!
    I'm proud of my photo book on Java and Bali, I ordered the one on my Bali-Komodo-Bali dive cruise ... in the absence of a personal blog (I will not be able to compete with you anyway!) ... my books with my most beautiful shots give travel desires to those watching them. For my September holidays I had thought of Mozambique to dive with big but I will surely follow your steps in Sulawesi ....
    I'm going to NYC in late May, I'll think of you from the top of the Empire State Building by day & by night.
    Kisses to you and we await more details on your discovery of the Moluccas!

    1. @Lisemet: thank you for your little word! Yes, Indonesia, we become addicted, so it's beautiful ...

      For Mozambique, I dream of going there, too, especially since I have friends who run a center there: Odyssea Dive.
      http://www.odysseadive.com/fr_ody.php

      As for my stay in New York, there are still many things that I did not find time to tell: the walk on the High Line, crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, and then all walks in different neighborhoods ... I can not update the blog in real time anymore.
      😡

      Sulawesi, I love it. I highly recommend, in any case, if you do not know yet (do not hesitate to write to me in private if you want information).

  9. hello corinne,
    I did not have time to go before on your site, because I just came back from koh Tao weekend.
    you were right I loved the island, its relief, its big boulders ....
    I did some nice dives and snorkeling with little black tip sharks!
    I will try to quickly put the story of this trip on my site, but if you wish you can see some excerpts on the blog
    http://mescarnetsdeplongees.blogs-de-voyage.fr
    I am waiting for the rest of your photos, the first ones are always so beautiful!

  10. Hello,
    Congratulations again for all your pictures and information, thanks to you I had discovered Bomba and your sister also that I had met.
    Are prices for living in Papua really higher?
    A question for Bangka:
    I do not see any of the hotels you mention in Lonely 2013?
    coral eye, murex, mimpi ....

    And there is no indication of price on the site of coral eye
    the Murex announces a double between 40 and 60 euros with prices per person per night, full board, I do not really know what it means, is this pension full?
    if you find a moment to answer it would be nice

    1. @Pierre : Hé, hé, oui, ma sœur m’avait parlé de cette rencontre… 😉
      So, to answer your questions:

      - Yes, you need to plan a bigger budget for Papua, especially if you want to dive. But if you have the soul of a real backpacker that a summary comfort does not bother, that you have a little time in front of you to possibly improvise on the spot, there is way to stay elsewhere than in a resort of divers and spend less under ... See the section on homestays and some comments from other travelers at the bottom of this article:
      http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/plonger-raja-ampat-voyage-20130303/

      – Pour Bangka Island dans le Nord-Sulawesi, je suis bien contente que les resorts de plongée dont je parle (ce ne sont pas des vraiment des « hôtels ») ne figurent pas dans le Lonely Planet, ça évitera qu’ils soient envahis quand je voudrai y retourner, hé, hé… 😉

      - Yes, full board, it means full board. Anyway, it's still like that for this kind of isolated islands resorts, because there is no restaurant or any way to easily find food around (or so you have to fish, or go to the village that is not very close, or go back to the mainland shopping!).

      - Rates are therefore usually "fullboard" (ie the room + all meals of the day). You will find the information on their respective sites and I recommend the three addresses to have tested them myself (Murex Bangka, Mimpi Indah, and Coral Eye). All three are very good in their genre (but better to be a diver, I think, anyway, otherwise we have to bother a little).

      - For Coral Eye, send them a little email to make you specify their current rates, it runs around 40-45 € (full board, so) for the best rooms (which have their own bathroom), it must be cheaper for those where there is a bathroom to share (the place is impeccable, the food is very good).

      The best, to compare, it is to send e-mails, to ask the tariffs, by being made clear what is understood or not if you have doubts ... I obviously can not answer for their place! Only they can tell you all that.

      Bons préparatifs !!! 🙄

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