Published: February 18th 2012February 17th 2012
We are back underwater for few more bubbles, this time, it's Pulau Weh. Most of you are going to ask, but where is this place. Well, it is the northern point of Indonesia, just above Banda Aceh. Does this help? If not, another clue, we are next door to the ground zero of the 2006 tsunami which killed thousand of people.
Getting here is actually the first burden. You can however arrive directly here from Malaysia, with a daily flight on Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur, and few flights a week from Penang on Firefly. We arrived by Penang and left to KL.
The original plan was to take some time to visit Penang, but our flight from Bangkok ended up an hour delayed....we waited 40 minutes for a bus...and a two hours ride in the traffic to our hotel on a northern beach of the island followed. Result...visiting Old Town George Town will be for another time. I was surprised how developped the island is, this is actually a way more modern place than KL itself in many respects. If you are in the know, you know why, I won't developped this here.
The next morning, early
bus ride (another 90 minutes) to the airport, and on for the one hour flight to Banda Aceh. The place was basically closed to tourists in most of 2003 and 2004 due to regular fighting with the Central Indonesian Governement. Than in 2005 and 2006 you could have come here, with a permit, under close supervision...and than the tsunami hit in 2006....not an easy decade for the area.
We took a taxi for the 30 minutes ride from the airport to the port. Banda Aceh is a seriously traditional muslim place, not a lot to enjoy with two young children around. Made it just in time to catch the 2 hours slow ferry to Balohan in Pulau Weh, and than it was another 30 minutes ride before we reached Lumba Lumba resort on Gapang Beach...yes, this place is remote!
On the way back, we left Gapang Beach at 7am, and reached our hotel in KL at 4.30pm....another long day.
Coming back to the tsunami...thousand died on the flat land of Banda Aceh, but it seems that only 12 people lost their lives on Pulau Weh, as the place is way more
hilly. This is the information I received from the owner of Lumba Lumba.
So why coming to Pulau Weh...to do only two things....either you dive, either you do nothing. Over the course of the week, I have been impressed to see so many people, mainly backpackers, being able to do strictly nothing for extended days in a row...not for us, but we are divers!
First mis-perception....I thought Pulau Weh is attracting a lot of the big game in diving...wrong...or we are really at the wrong period....saw one shark in 11 dives...few turtles, few rays, few napoleons...and a lot of pelagic. But big game paradise it was for sure not. Some will try to put the place in the top 10 dive spots in the world....wrong again, this is seriously nice, but not world class.
So how was it? Well, it was great fun! We saw tons of eels (many different kinds), tons of different nudibranches, tons of octopus....and it was a true "fish soup", from smallest to medium size....but millions of them!
I can only recommend diving with Lumba Lumba. The place is owned by a dutch couple, and they
run their operation very smoothly....and did I mention, diving here is pretty cheap too.
Tiffany is becoming an expert in house reefs! This time, she did three "bubble maker" dives with Sunny on the house reef. As she is nearly as blind as her Dad, we have given a try to the "one day" contact lenses...and she loved it. Young girl, this is only for diving, skiing or water sports...
Tiffany is still limited by the depth she can dive, maximum 4 meters, but she is getting closer to her tenth birthday, and the chance to get her Junior Open Water Padi...but not yet...
On Leslie side, he did bag 5 more dives...and I won't go in details of what he is diving...it's so good to dive with my little man every day!
So Pulau Weh was about the fish soup....but also a lot of macro...and best....the drift. Ok, we can call it drift, current, washing machine, anything you want to call it. And this is maybe why Pulau Weh has such a good reputation in the hard core diving world...this is fun...or maybe more accurately challenging to
Morning dives were by far the most challenging...with proper divers...and great DMs....afternoon dives were "calmer", and the one I chosed to share with Leslie.
Gapang Beach has a dive center...Lumba Lumba. They have nice bungalows....not the dirt cheap one, but you can find those just next to the resort. Lumba Lumba doesn't have a restaurant, but the beach village has two of them...maybe more, but the others are sometimes open, sometimes not....
We spent a week here...and even if we greatly enjoyed the food, it's good to be back to KL with more diversity. We spent a week eating chicken, prawns, fish and squid...and fried rice and fried noodles...great food...plus the amazing curries! and for breakfast, every morning it was fresh juices and crepes! Yammie!
There is no bar here, zero night life! You can find in the back of a fridge few beers...but stock as that fridge closes at 8pm...or stop at the duty free way ahead of getting here. This place is about diving, doing nothing...party...not really the place!
Not sure we are doing a blog either on KL...we just spent our time...having a
good time, didn't take so many pictures so far...
As some will have noticed, I have changed my profile picture. As you can guess, I'm not anymore with Mari. I have received evil emails as well as hatred comments, and these were also sent to a lot of my friends. So I have no intention to make further comments...and all further evil and hatred messages will simply reach the place they deserve....the bin...
With love, from KL!
There are more photos below