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The rest of my trip to Sulawesi (Indonesia) during the summer of 2007 ... On the program: the Togian Islands. A little paradise at the end of the world!
Monday July 16, 2007: Here I am in the Togian Islands. On the southwestern tip of Batudaka Island, at the well-known resort Island Retreat, near the village of Bomba.
Calm and pleasure under the coconut palms. I will stay a week at Island Retreat!
We arrive by a huge wooden pontoon overlooking a transparent water. Arriving, I can hardly believe my eyes: a cute beach fringed with coconut trees serves as a haven for a dozen wooden bungalows.
Azure water and white sand. The beauty of the place immediately captivates me.
Sylvie Manley, the American who manages the resort, and who made the trip with us by boat from Ampana, smiles to see us so amazed.
My Dutch friends, Johan and Suzanna, are allotted with their three children the huge bungalow called "family" or "honey moon" facing the small beach of the pontoon. I have the next bungalow, smaller, but cute. The night + the three meals included are 150 000 Rp (10 €).
The comfort is simple (no running water, the staff will draw for you large tubs to the well), but each bungalow is large, tastefully decorated and has a terrace. I sigh of comfort and hangs my hammock directly.
A week of pure idleness will follow, where I will alternate walks, swimming and diving. Here, there is no mobile phone network, we are cut off from the rest of the world. And of course, no internet. Finally, a real holiday! 😀
But it deserves, paradise! We arrive exhausted, after a long day of travel from Lake Poso.
Yunus, our driver, drives us to Ampana, where we are lucky enough to arrive on a day when Sylvie is there, with the boat that she uses for shopping. We will take advantage of the crossing, without the need to spend the night in Ampana, without struggling to find a boat ...
These are Olivier and Ariane, met three weeks earlier in Bunakenwho warn me when we arrive in Ampana. French people, traveling with their families, too, with their three daughters. I kept in touch with them by SMS during my journey.
They have just left Island Retreat and headed south to visit the Toraja country. They are delighted with their stay in the Togian Islands and tell me in their message to quickly go to Marina Cottages Ampana, where is docked Sylvie's boat.
After a waking up at dawn Siuri Beach to accomplish six-seven hours of driving, we are therefore investigating two hours of boat in the same day. Few waves, the crossing is pleasant. And the reward on arrival is worth it.
What's more, cooking here at Island Retreat, is the best of all we have tested for many weeks. We are a little tired of nasi goreng and mie goreng basic (rice and fried noodles), often greasy and tasteless in guesthouses, restaurants and cheap boui-bouis where we stop. It feeds, but it lacks refinement.
At Sylvie, who has trained her own staff, it's the other way around. Every day the menu changes, and the evening meal, shared by all guests at the restaurant's main table, is inspired, tasty and subtle.
There are fresh grilled fish, mixed salads rich in a thousand scents of herbs and an incredible soup, made from pumpkin and coconut milk, delicious.
And then there is bread, real French bread, prepared and cooked on the spot! ! ! And even potatoes and homemade pizzas, with real cheese on them, that make children (and grown-ups) happy. Because rice, by dint of eating every day for weeks, we get tired ...
Short. Sylvie succeeds in the feat of offering the best table that is despite the isolation of the island ... Hat!
This stay in the Togian will be for me a bubble of happiness, absolute relaxation. I will make small excursions between two dives: the nearby village of Bomba, through the jungle, with a visit to the stinking bat cave, or to the nearby island of Poyalisa.
In Bomba, where I go with my blond Dutch friends, we will be the attraction of the day.
I'll be back soon to tell you, in a future article, my dives in the corner ...
Video: ride in the Togian Islands
In the meantime, you can do a little stroll on the azure waves of the Togian Islands with the small video below.