Something a bit different this time, a snorkelling holiday in the tropics.
Friday 1 August 2014 - Saturday 9 August 2014
As mentioned in the title, this was a trip that was something a bit different I am not into diving at all but for some reason a snorkelling trip appealed and so after a bit of investigation, I booked a week at the Froggies Divers and resort on the island of Bunaken off the northern tip of Sualwesi (the one that looks like a squashed spider) in Indonesia.
Saturday 2 August
The flights with Singapore Airlines and Silk Air were fine and on time. Manado airport is very small and inefficient. The queue for the visa on arrival was long as most of the visitors are tourists. They have increased the fee to $US35 and are very fussy with the quality of the notes they receive. One of mine a tiny tear on the corner and they refused it. Luckily I had another one in my wallet. My driver was waiting for me and 30 minutes later he deposited me at the port for my 40 minute ride to the island.
Our boat from Manado to Bunaken.
Heading towards Bunaken with Pulau Manadotua to the left.
One of the many resorts on the island.
Froggies Divers is a great place, right on the waterfront. The bungalows are all freestanding and cascade down the hill to the pathway by the beach. The managers were a French and Spanish couple (Abel and Lola). Three meals a day were all included and were in the restaurant / lounge at large communal tables.
Sunday 3 August
Lazy day. Tries to walk along beach but the tides and mangroves prevented me going too far.
My bungalow in the resort.
The main pier in Bunaken.
Pulau Manadotua behind Bunaken Island.
The entrance to the Froggies Dive Resort.
The waterfront and main pier on Bunaken.
The view from my room.
Monday 4 August
My first day out on the boat. The boat leaves early at 8:00 am for two dives. The first site was Tanjung Parigi and the second site was Likuan 1. There is a map on the resort's website that shows the location of each site.
Preparing for a dive.
Everyone else is off exploring the reef below.
My only underwater photo.
I had a few issues with the mask not sealing so the moustache had to go. Both dives are done by lunch time and the afternoon is free to do whatever. Dinner is included and consists of a buffet of various Indonesian dishes (including pork as this is a predominately Christian region). Beers are charged to your room tab.
The arty sunset shot from the resort's balcony.
Sunset looking back towards the mainland.
Tuesday 5 August
The moustache has gone, along with the goatee as otherwise it would look funny. The dive sites for the day were Pangalisang and Mandolin. The mask was sealing much better so I could now enjoy the underwater scenery. Both sites had lots of coral and multitudes of fish. There are huge variations in their colours, sizes and patterns. Unfortunately I did not have an underwater camera so there are no photos at all of anything below the surface.
The break between the two morning dives.
Wednesday 6 August
Out to the Silden site. This is a small island to the east of Bunaken and there were huge numbers of fish just off the edge of the reef. The other site for the morning was Likuan 1 again. This time we saw turtles and I managed to follow one (at a discrete distance of course) for about 15 minutes. That was probably the highlight of the trip. Floating on the surface in the divers bubble stream is also good fun.
Thursday 7 August
Day off doing very little. Very tired at the end of the day.
Friday 8 August
Out to Sachiko's Point. There were large schools of blue trigger fish (I think). The resort has books in the lounge that helps you identify what you see, although given I didn't have my glasses on at the time makes it a bit difficult to see them properly. The second site was not a nice place as there was too much rubbish in the water.
Sunset over Bunaken.
Another sunset over Bunaken.
Saturday 9 August
In all, it was an interesting and different week. A week snorkelling is maybe a bit much, whereas for a diver it is probably about right. The guests were as mixed as you could probably get. There were about 15 people there at any one time, ranging from a French family of five, to a Danish lady who has dived in just about every spot in the world, a Swiss lady, an Austrian couple and a couple of American girls from Texas. At one point I was the only native English speaker there, which, at the same time, made me the only person there who could only speak one language.
The resort was well organised, the hosts friendly, the food good, the free laundry a bonus, and the beer was cold.
A view of Bunaken as we fly out of Manado back to Singapore.