Togian: the picture perfect (almost) deserted tropical island

Wakai Travel Blog

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After arriving at Wakai on the Toggean Islands (Sulawesi, Indonesia) we chartered a boat for the 3 hour trip to the next island.
We took the twice weekly overnight ferry from Gorontalo to the Togians, an island group in Sulawesi's Tomini bay. There's no cabins on board but the crew were so friendly to rent out their bunks for 250K Rupiah (20 euro). This car ferry that doesn't transport cars has a super economy class on the car deck, just bring your blanket and lay down. We got off in Wakai, a small fishing village, and found 2 boats who could bring us to Bomba, after some haggling we settled on 250K rupiah for the 2,5 hour trip. The proverbial 'banana boat' took us to "Island Retreat", teh only resort near the Bajo (sea gypsie) town of Bomba on the southernmost island.
They say this was a hippy spot in the 90's but after the 2 Bali bombings tourism came to a grinding halt in these parts.
View from the front door
Only a few resorts are open and judging form the stories of some people who visited these 3 probably there's a max of 10 tourists in the whole archipelago. Which make these the most quiet and most beautiful islands I've visited so far, the silence is deafening and the snorkelling just off the beach from our cottage was the most beautiful I've done untill now. In the reefs on my doorstep there were loads of nemo's, parrot fish, banner fish, moonfish, big spikey starfish, a big black lobster hiding under a rock, black and blue banded seasnake with yellow head, blue spotted baby stingrays in just ankle deep water, too much too name.
Diving is great too of course, it's similar in fauna to Bunaken in the north, so lots of smaller fish in the reefs.
Gorgeous sunsets over Tomini bay.
Togian boasts 3 types of reef, of which the underwater atol is probably the nicest. I hit another low point here at 45 m! (which I think is illegal by PADI standards if I'm not mistaken :-P). But the most special here is: there's nobody! You don't here a thing underwater, no boats, no other divers, you have the place to yourself...
The most spectacular dive was off Una Una island. On the 1st dive my jaw dropped with the huge schools of brightly colored fish that swept across the reef like big waves cascading down, I was engulfed by a huge school of 40-50 cm long jackfish that came straight for me, couldn't  believe my eyes. A remore ('sharksucker') kept circling me looking for a treat :). On the 2nd dive (we started from shore) 2 big turtles descended along the reef and made a few circles above our heads, probably curious about this type of fish they almost never see.
Going down like a star fish ;)
Sp far these 2 dives are the best I've made.
There are some nice trips you can make from Bomba to local sea gypsie villages where the houses sit on stilts in the water, the kids chase you for a picture and candy, and local women point out that you're so white and they so black. After 1 month in Indonesia I was shocked when a Bajo woman that was washing in a sarong near a public tap accidentally flashed her boobs, I must be loosing my western mentality a bit :-)

A small dent in all this bliss: my backpack got knicked when I'd left a window open. Ironically enough all the valuable stuff lay around the cottage so they ran off with a bag of clothes and my ipod, probably disturbed by someone. 
Sylvie, anthropoligiost and owner of the resort called in a "Dukun", or whitchdoctor to investigate. I was sceptical but behold! The next day my bag was found near the spot where thy had crawlled through the fence, some stuff was missing and the backpack had been lying in teh water so bye bye ipod but a lot of the stuff was still there, disposable lenses, malaria medicin, all this stuff that is hard to replace. So kudos to Sylvie for her understanding of the local culture, Dukuns must scare the locals shitless :-D.
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After arriving at Wakai on the To…
View from the front door
View from the front door
Gorgeous sunsets over Tomini bay.
Gorgeous sunsets over Tomini bay.
Going down like a star fish ;)
Going down like a star fish ;)
Bloody beautiful turtle sailing do…
Bloody beautiful turtle sailing d…
Hanging back
Hanging back
A string of islands
A string of islands
Waiting for the petrol for our ba…
Waiting for the petrol for our 'b…
Looking philosophical at sunset
Looking philosophical at sunset
Going out for a dive
Going out for a dive
Sunglasses and a wetsuit almost ma…
Sunglasses and a wetsuit almost m…
Bajo (Sea gypsie) village of Kulin…
Bajo (Sea gypsie) village of Kuli…
Kulinkinari: being chased by kids …
Kulinkinari: being chased by kids…
Bajo fisherman in an outrigger boa…
Bajo fisherman in an outrigger bo…
Going down...
Going down...
Hanging on to the wall with my ste…
Hanging on to the wall with my st…
Corals and fish and divers...
Corals and fish and divers...
Just a few meters below the surfac…
Just a few meters below the surfa…
A stroll to the nearest sea gypsy…
Wakai
photo by: manuel_s