We settled into a comfortable hotel in Baubau and made a few day trips. Our first excursion was to Pulau (Island) Makassar, a short (15 minute) boat ride from Baubau. We walked through a residential area and made our way to the beach, Pantai Lakorapu.
The snorkeling here was slightly better than at Pantai Nirvana. I saw lots of fat starfish and one ray. However, what will be memorable from Pulau Makassar (aka Puma) were the sweet, friendly, respectful kids. One skinny boy, Al, became so attached to Ferda that he walked with us to the jetty where we waited for the boat back to Baubau.
A rainy day excursion took us by bicycle to Air Terjun (Waterfall) Tirta Rimba. It wasn’t any colder or wetter in the rain or in the stream so I went for swim.
On the way to the waterfall we got a glimpse of the hidden beach, Pantai Kolakolukuna. It looked intriguing so I insisted we find the way down. Ferda was a bit dubious locking our bikes to some bamboo and heading down a slippery path through the jungle.
It was worth the (small) effort.
On a less rainy day we found the public ferry to another island, Pulau Siompu, a 90-minute trip. We met Yusli and Hasrudin (aka Jhon Bryan) on the ferry. They both spoke decent English and helped us arrange a charter to nearby Pulau Liwutonkidi (aka Pulau Ular), an uninhabited island.
Uh, wow. Ferda and I had this tropical paradise to ourselves, except for a few fishermen, for about 24 hours. The coral reef drop-off was a short snorkel from the beach. Uh, wow, the best snorkeling I’d ever done. That, however, was before I’d been to Pulau Tomia…
A couple post-snorkel mangoes and a decent sunset:
The next day was unusually sunny. Ferda managed to get burned for the first time of the trip. She spent too much time in the sun while I was out for my second snorkel of the day.
Our captain came to get us the next day, as planned. Pulau Siompu’s best snorkeling may be on this beach, Pantai Napansania:
We skipped it and instead rode to Hasrudin’s village, Karae, where we spent the night on the beach.
There was a very heavy rainstorm with plenty of wind in the morning, but then the sun came out, and we had time to tour the village before getting the ferry back to Baubau.
It seems there are other good excursions from Baubau. I was excited to visit Pantai Bahari and Pantai Kolagana, both on Pulau Buton, the same island that Baubau is on. However, Ferda said it was time to head off to our main goal in Southeast Sulawesi, mythical Wakatobi.
We did have one more day in Baubau, or, as it turned out, two, since engine trouble delayed our departure by one day. We visited Baubau’s fish market which made us wonder how there are any fish left in the sea.
Also, in Baubau we managed to buy an underwater camera so you’ll be able to see what some of those fish look like when they’re still living… next post.