Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2007
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The continuation of my trip to Sulawesi (Indonesia) during summer 2007... On the program: the Togian Islands. A small corner of paradise at the end of the world!
Monday, July 16, 2007: here I am in the Togian Islands. On the south-western tip of Batudaka island, precisely, at the well named resort Island Retreat, near the village of Bomba.
Calm and voluptuous under the coconut trees. I'll stay a week at Island Retreat!
We disembark by a huge wooden pontoon which overhangs a transparent water. When we arrive, I can hardly believe my eyes: a cute beach fringed with coconut trees is the setting 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 assigned with their three children the huge bungalow called "family" or "honey moon" facing the small beach of the pontoon. I have the neighboring bungalow, smaller, but very cute. The night + the three meals included are 150 000 Rp (10€).
The comfort is simple (no running water, the staff will draw large tubs from the well for you), but each bungalow is large, tastefully decorated and has a terrace. I sigh with ease and hang my hammock directly.
Then, a week of pure idleness will follow, where I will alternate walks, swimming and diving. Here, no cell phone network, we are cut off from the rest of the world. And of course, no internet. Finally a real vacation 😀
Poso-Ampana-Togian: a long day's journey
But you have to earn heaven! We arrive exhausted, after a long day's journey from Lake Poso.
Yunus, our driver, drives us to Ampana, where we have the chance to arrive right on the day when Sylvie is there, with the boat that she uses to do the shopping. We will thus enjoy the crossing, without having 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 are heading south to visit the Toraja country. They are delighted with their stay in the Togian Islands and tell me in their message to hurry to the Marina Cottages in Ampana, where Sylvie's boat is moored.
After a waking up at dawn Siuri Beach to accomplish six-seven hours of road, so we take two hours of boat in the same day. Few waves, the crossing is pleasant. And the reward at the 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's, who trained her own staff, it's the opposite. Every day the menu changes, and the evening meal, taken together by all the customers at the large table of the restaurant, is inspired, tasty, subtle.
There are fresh grilled fish, mixed salads rich with a thousand flavors of herbs and an incredible soup, made of pumpkin and coconut milk, delicious.
And then there is bread, real French bread, prepared and baked on the spot!!! And even potatoes and homemade pizzas, with real cheese on it, which make the children (and the adults) happy. Because the rice, by dint of eating it every day for weeks, we get tired...
In short. Sylvie succeeds in offering the best table despite the isolation of the island... Hats off!
This stay in Togian will be for me a bubble of happiness, of absolute relaxation. I will make small excursions between two dives: to the nearby village of Bomba, through the jungle, with a visit to the stinking bat cave, or to the nearby islet of Poyalisa.
In Bomba, where I am going 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: Togian Islands walk
In the meantime, you can do a little stroll on the azure waves of the Togian Islands with the small video below.
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