Diving, Dyke-a-likes and the Dutch
Trip Start Aug 22, 2005
48Trip End Jul 17, 2006
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Fortunately, Gorontalo wasn't such a bad place to relax while we waited for the next boat
From Gorontalo we caught the overnight ferry to Pagimana, which was a hot and sweaty experience, and then took a bemo (minibus) to Ampana, again stressing the urgency of the situation to the driver. He smiled at us saying "ok, ok". It wasn't ok, as we missed the boat by 10 minutes - we could even see it sailing off towards the horizon. So, another night waiting at a port in the homestay of Ulfah, or "Miss Harbour", a Malboro red smoking dyke-a-like who fancied herself as the key tourist contact in Ampana
We stayed in a small resort in a secluded cove owned by an English dive operator called Black Marlin. The other guests included two middle-aged Dutch lesbians, a 30 year-old English guy, an Aussie couple and a handful of others from Germany, Holland and Italy. The dive operation was run by a stacked German guy called Wolfgang and his Canadian girlfriend Michelle. Despite his navy background, shaved head, tattoos and self-assurance bordering on arrogance, beneath the surface "Wolf" was a really good guy, who cared immensely about his job and all manner of ocean life, from the biggest whale to the smallest nudibranch (sea slug). With 27 years of diving under his belt and a degree in marine biology, I thought he would be the perfect teacher to introduce me to the world of diving and so decided to take my PADI Open Water course on the island. Wolf turned out to be a fantastic teacher, and I learned so much from him under his one-to-one tuition. For those of you who have never dived before, it is impossible to describe it really
Sunsets on the island were beautiful, watched either from the pagoda at the end of the pier or from the hammock on the front porch of our bamboo bungalow. The resort was truly isolated with no internet or even telephone connection, no running water (fresh water had to be brought every day by boat) and limited electricity powered by a generator. Meals were included, and I have never seen barracuda and snapper as big as the ones we were served on a daily basis. On our last night, which also coincided with bonfire night, a big party was organized with a fire on the beach, cocktails of fruit and tuak (home brewed spirit) and later on, dancing, limbo and a big game of twister. The next morning it was time to leave the island, and I did so with a heavy heart and a very fuzzy head!
Again, photos will follow asap...