tag archives: reef

indonesia part 2: togean islands, sulawesi

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previous part: indonesia part 1: the northern part of north sulawesi (bunaken, tomohon)

we had planned on staying in the togean islands for about a week, but as lonely planet says…

yes, it does take some determination to get to the Togean Islands, but believe us, it takes much more determination to leave.

this turned out to be true because of both motivation and possibilities, but let me start at the beginning:

endless journey
on the bus to gorontalo, 13:15 we decided to go south “the local way” from manado and took the public bus. 400 km, more than 10 hours later and a bit richer in indonesian experiences, we arrived in gorontalo. there, we just had a quick dinner, went to the last ATM for some time (no ATMs in the togeans), and continued on to the harbour to catch the once-a-week night ferry. in 2011, it left gorontalo every friday at 7 p.m. and arrived in wakai around 10 a.m., but schedules are said to be changing frequently.
in wakai, we were approached by a local woman called “uni”, who we were a bit suspicious about at first. it turned out, she’s a very honest person who can absolutely be trusted. after we declined on having a look at her new cottages about 20 minutes away by boat (we already had plans), uni offered to host us until the connecting boat to malenge island would get there in the afternoon.
a 4-hour ride on the next public boat brought us to malenge island (northeast of the main islands), where we were approached by the owner of one of the two accommodations of the island: malenge indah, which also offers cottages now (not mentioned in lonely planet yet). so, another boatride of 40 minutes in the beginning night (adding up to 36 hours of continuous travel) finally brought us to our destination: a small, very remote bay with 5 cottages.

panorama: a picture from paradise. malenge indah cottages, pulau malenge, togian islands.


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indonesia part 1: the northern part of north sulawesi (bunaken, tomohon)

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let’s see if i can get those photos from our trip to indonesia online within a reasonable amount of time…

crystal clear water part one is about the first of just over 5 weeks (roughly 4 weeks on sulawesi and 1 week in lombok), in which we visited the island of bunaken and the cities of manado and tomohon.
as we found out, bunaken is one of the top diving spots in the world – and there’s a reason for it: we enjoyed some splendid reefscapes (both diving and snorkelling) and incredible drop-off walls up to 50+ meters deep. the corals were some of the most beautiful i’ve ever seen (which isn’t really to say that i’ve seen that many). apart from nudibranches, which always enthuse me, we saw a wide variety of wildlife, including green turtles (chelonia mydas, pictures) and the undescribable mandarinfish (synchiropus splendidus, pictures).

back on the main island (sulawesi), another must-see place was the market in tomohon. the local minahasan people are said to eat “everything with 4 legs, escept for the tables and chairs”, and what we found at the market was gross at the least (you may want to skip some photos at the end if you’re feeling sensitive).

regarding accommodation, we stayed both at the worst hotel that i’ve ever, EVER seen, and at one of the nicest ones of our entire trip: [more...]

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photo: clownfish & reefscape

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this pair of orange skunk clownfish or yellow anemonefish (amphiprion sandaracinos, de: östlicher weißrücken-anemonenfisch) was living in one of the most beautiful and diverse reefscapes i’ve ever seen, near bomba in the togean islands (sulawesi, indonesia).
they seemed a bit too big to hide in their anemone, so it was quite cute when they tried continuously to bury themselves in the tentacles.

orange skunk clownfish (amphiprion sandaracinos), trying to hide in their anemone in the midst of a beautiful, colourful reefscape

the ecology of clownfish and their symbiosis with sea anemones exhibit many interesting features: for instance, anemone fish are protandrous, meaning that all the fish are born male, and later change sex to female. there’s only one female per anemone, and it’s the largest, dominant fish. when it dies, the second largest (male) takes its place, gains weight and becomes the female. [more...]

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photo: pearls of the sea

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i took this picture while snorkelling in sulawesi, indonesia. right then, all i knew was that it looked like it didn’t quite belong here: a sort of big, solid, reflecting gas bubble, nestled in between laminae of stony coral (merulina cf. ampliata):

sea pearls, also called sailor’s eyeballs, don’t just look strange, they’re also very special in several respects: what’s behind them is an interesting green alga called ventricaria ventricosa (also valonia ventricosa. it’s a single-celled alga, so the entire “pearl” is just one plant cell – one of the biggest cells in the world. [more...]