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Published: July 11th 2014
We, and especially Leo, had been seriously bitten by the diving bug, so we wanted to do still some more dives during this trip. Thus, we arranged for a week long diving holiday at a resort on Bunaken Island, next to Sulawesi in Indonesia. It was rather far, three and a half hours by plane from Singapore, and still half an hour by boat to get from the city of Manado to Bunaken. We were met by Sven and Esther, a German-Indonesian couple who runs the resort, and got to know a French family with two teenage boys, who later ended up joining us on most of our dives.
The first impression regarding the resort was not great: our concrete bungalow was hot as ever, had no a/c, and the toilet was not flushable, but you had to pour water in it manually. We had wanted to get the deluxe room, but the French were occupying both of them. Luckily, after the first night we changed to a wooden bungalow, and this totally saved our week - it was much more cool, and we could sleep at night comfortably. We also had a great terrace with sea view and a
After the first day, it was just diving, diving and diving. Every morning we woke up at 7am, got up quickly for breakfast, and got on the diving boat. We dived at two different dive sites each morning, returning to the resort for lunch, and then mostly chilling in the hammock for the rest of the day, and eating sumptuous lunches and dinners cooked by Esther. The diving was good, visibility was usually at least 20 meters, and mostly it was pleasant and relaxing, just floating with the flow in weightless state or swimming peacefully while admiring lots of strange sea creatures. On one dive, though, we got into very strong current, where we just had to hold on to corals or rocks, and try to move from coral to coral. I didn't like it, and found this a bit scary, as firstly, I wasn't sure which corals are ok to touch and which can burn your hands, and second, I was afraid of drifting far from the group. Well, nothing happened (and we were not in any danger actually) and after realizing we cannot cross the current to reach our dive destination, we got up, and on
the surface it was immediately possible to relax and float easily again. Another more exciting dive was our night dive, starting with observing the cute Mandarin fish at dusk. I had always imagined going into dark sea would be scary, but that was not the case at all. When we used our torches to shed light on the corals and the fish, all colors looked much brighter than in daylight, and we saw stuff that you don't see by day, like crab, lobster etc. On our dives we were always paired with a local dive master, Steven, and later a Norwegian guy joined our group. Steven was nice and funny, and good at pointing out little weird creatures we never would have found on our own.
I was often secretly amused by the way the divers talk about the fish and other sea life. Before starting this hobby, I had somehow perceived scuba diving as kind of a "cool" thing to do, but now I find all the excited fish talk more on the nerdy side 😉 People get up from the water to the boat, and immediately start eagerly going on and on about the "ghost pipe fish"
or the "orangutan crab" they had seen, and of course the same goes on at lunch and dinner, often spiced up with photos and videos from the day's dives. This happened with Leo too many times, like the time when I had come up from the water before him, and was sitting on the sunny deck of the boat, when he comes and excitedly announces he had seen a "crown of thorns starfish"..haha..Great, even if I had no idea what that is. Somehow the names and appearances of the fish species didn't stick on my mind as well as on Leo's. He was also totally blown away by the eagle ray, shark and barracuda sightings on the last day's afternoon dive, which I had skipped in order to lay in hammock. Ok, have to admit, I was a bit jealous for not having seen any big rays during the whole week, and now on the one dive which I didn't join, they saw it. Shark we had seen twice before. These were the smallish reef sharks, one black tip and one white tip shark. As an idea it might seem scary to encounter sharks while 20 meters deep under the
surface, but once we were in the water, we were all the time hoping to see a few sharks or other larger creatures.
All in all the week on Bunaken was nice, and we ended it by watching our first World Cup game, Germany against France. The next day we flew back to Singapore, where we spent one more whole day exploring. We visited Clarke Quay area, China Town and Arab Quarter, and still like the city very much. It's such a nice mixture of super modern and clean shopping malls, office sky scrapers and such, and these old colorful houses, not to mention being really a melting pot of cultures - during a few hundred meter walk around China Town, we passed a Chinese Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple and a mosque. And the selection of food is just incredible, especially if you like Asian food, which we do. We ended our stay by having a dinner with Anna and Ville again at a hawker center. Then it was off to Vietnam, where we will spend the rest of our travel time.
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