For our last week in the country made of 13,000 islands, we set sail for Togean. The archipelago, wedged in the immense cove of North Sulawesi, is renowned for its isolation and its heavenly landscapes. Our first moments on the territory confirm this.
Taking the public boat Ampana-Bomba, Sylvain is quickly accosted by locals who begin a debate on scooter accidents at the sight of our scratches and Cléa chat with a couple of German travelers with whom we make common road from Tentena. We glimpse the first sparsely populated islets, full of lush vegetation (cocotiers and hardwoods of all kinds) and songbirds difficult to see.
Poya Lisa, our first stop, fits quite well with the reputation of the area: a dozen bungalows unoccupied on just 200m of land, two sandy beaches on either side, all surrounded by corals where sublime fish nest. We spend two days on small onions, alternating snorkeling, tasting of the fish of the day and rest under mosquito nets when the tropical rains are rampant.
We appreciate the tranquillity but our tourist solitude is amazing and confusing for such a beautiful place. And then there are other pearls to explore further north! We go back to the sea towards Kadidiri, by private boat following a public transport tour. We arrive at the setting sun in a new dream setting on the outskirts more touristic than the previous one.
We spend two pleasant days in the company of a couple of Italians and a marginal German, common meals/debates and exploration at our leisure of the surrounding corals and… of a lake of harmless meduses! We lend ourselves to the game, the creatures “frolic” as they please while we observe them more closely than ever.
On the third night, to vary the pleasures and save some money (13 euros per person for the full paradise pension), we go camping on the nearby beach: Barracuda Beach. It’s teeming with mosquitoes and sand fleas and Cléa meets a snake and two wild pigs that are not very reckless! For the rest, the night is punctuated by tropical rafts and a friendly discussion with 3 Indonesians who (us) acost and leave at 2am in the middle of the tropical jungle, armed with their handymle machete: “Hello Mister! Apa Kabar? Francis? Ah football, Lionel Messi!” (missed).
The next day, back at Kadidiri beach, we learn that the ferry to Gorontalo scheduled for Saturday is cancelled for obscure reasons… This time the inconsistency of local transport puts us well in the panade: the plane back to Singapore is booked for Sunday, it would be foolish to delay our departure by bike because of abusive Robinsonade! We finally find a ferry connection from Dolong, which forces us to migrate as quickly as possible to the aforementioned village. The wallet is alluded and well soaked, we spend one last evening very nice at the home: Nasi Goreng and papaya salad in front of the TV where is broadcast the film “Ratatouille” that seems to please children and children!
Togean will finally leave us the memory of a wild region, very isolated and as uncrowded as the rest of Sulawesi this season. Beyond the many hotel complexes waiting for an influx of visitors, the life of the islanders remains punctuated by fishing and daily activities. Some positive signs for biodiversity are also visible, such as the ban on dynamite fishing, the breeding of new corals or the collection of plastics by the sea… “touristy” beaches only.