Thursday, 21 May 2015

21st May - Sangihe day - waterfall - beach - lookout - Sangihe is beautiful - GO THERE!

Thursday 21st May 2015

Tahuna from 2XS
Yesterday was all GO.  We had such a great opportunity to see a whole lot of this very beautiful island of Sangihe, in a rented Toyota with wonderful David as our driver and guide.  It all made me realise how little we see, really, from the sea.  We only see the coastline, and villages right on the edge.  An inland road trip is just the thing!

We were mightily impressed with the town of Tahuna.  It is all so pretty, with nice little houses, and trees along every street.  Gardens flourish – why wouldn’t they, in this very moist climate?

The footpaths are all very pretty too, in various delightful mosaic patterns.  They go up and down a bit, but there are no great cracks and sudden holes in the ground, as there are in most Indonesian footpaths.

Not everything is so very quaint…for example, this shop wasn’t open yet but I was very curious to know what sort of clothes and wares they might sell here…

I hadn’t realized that Sangihe is one of the Spice Islands.  So lovely, to see nutmegs, cloves, crocus, drying alongside the road.  Or rather – ON the road.  The bitumen surface makes a nice flat hot drying surface – cars and bikes and bullock carts just veer gently around the spread.

Our first destination was a waterfall.  David had asked me if we were up for a trek.  Well of COURSE we are, I said, a bit indignantly.  “It’s not very far,” he said.  “A bit slopey but very easy, really.”  Ummm…well it was quite far.  And the track combined two of my least favourite aspects – steepness and slipperiness.  Within a few minutes my trusty German walking sandals had turned into slimey unstable surfaces, incapable of gripping anything at all.  I didn’t mind going up but…down was terrifying.  The track was very narrow with a steep drop off to the side.  David suggested taking my shoes off.  I was a bit hesitant but he was right – my feet were not as slimey as my sandals! 

The jungle was absolutely beautiful.

Not much wildlife to be seen, just this one handsome lizard, and a few large centipedes.  I was actually amazed at how benign it was.  (The jungle, not the lizard!!)  I walked a very long way with bare feet, a bit tentatively at first.  If I had been walking this way in Tasmania I would have been pricked, cut and bitten by many painful things.  But everywhere the surface was soft between my feet – soft, rounded rocks, large soft leaves, a bit of mulch, a bit of mud. 

We had gone quite along way and were probably not far from the waterfall when David said we had to turn back – there was a big fallen tree on the path, it was very steep, we couldn’t get across.  I sobbed a bit – it was steep and slippery and HOT.  The good thing was – it was very beautiful, and shady.

We got back to the beginning of the path (Helter Skelter) and set off up the creek instead.  This was very nice indeed, if very strenuous, with a lot of climbing, splashing, wading, and crossing over log bridges.  Eventually we went into a deep, narrow gorge and – glory!  A fabulous waterfall! 

We were already so wet that we just walked right in and swam around, very happy. 

When we got out it started to rain.  Heavily!  There was a shelter cabin so we sat there for a while but it didn’t seem ever to be letting up.  I had my umbrella with me (as you do…) so David loaded himself up with my bag and Pete’s backpack and protected the whole lot (camera…phone...other phone…) with the umbrella while Pete and I skipped back down the stream empty handed.  We were wetter than wet when we got back to the car.  But we were also rather hot so it was quite nice to have cool clammy garments to cool us down a bit.  I was a bit exhausted after our Indiana Jones Jungle Adventure so I lolled about in the back seat and looked at the beautiful scenery.

We were by then mildly ravenous so David set about finding us a restaurant, next to a black sand beach.

We were the only customers and we were received with open arms and enormous smiles.

I was invited to admire the cladding on the outside of the building – bamboo batik, how pretty is that??

The restaurant owner was very proud of his work and showed me a lovely bench he had made, of this bamboo batik – I think it is only found in the Sangihe islands (but am not completely sure…very pretty it is anyway.)

Most of the public transport on the island is by bemo.  These bemos are lethal weapons – they all play VERY VERY loud disco music and are painful to the ear even when they are just passing by.  Being in them is…torture!   But a cheap and efficient way to get around.

Bemos LOOK demure!
We hadn’t seen motor tricycles in Indonesia before.  But here they are quite common.  A variation on the theme…They have the single wheel at the back and the two wheels at the front.  Such an unwieldy and dangerous design – WHAT were they thinking?? 

David said there are many accidents, when the driver has to brake suddenly.  The passengers shoot out the front, and are then speedily crushed by the vehicle.  Great!  They are also difficult to steer, like trying to push a twin pram from a bike. 

After lunch we went to a lovely beach, with white sand.  Most of the beaches on the other side of the island are black, from the lava flow.  There is a very big volcano, tall and imposing, in the north.  David said it takes 5-6 hours to walk up there, although he can run up in three hours.  He looked at us, but neither of us showed the least impression of being capable of either running or walking up there…fabulous though it would be.  If walking down the narrow track to the waterfall made me sob, what would I be like coming back down the volcano track??  (Actually, I lie…Most of the way down I accomplished by sliding down on my bottom…)

David went for a swim but we had been wet enough that day so we wandered along and exclaimed t the huge bird tacks in the sand.  WHAT sort of bird did this??  Our new beach friends, Maya and Rido, joined us, full of giggles.  We pointed at the tracks and asked them what sort of bird it was.

The looked at us blankly and said, “Ayam.”  Ah yes…we followed their gaze to see…a very large rooster with huge great feet…

Maya and Rido live on the beach in this little shop/hut with their family.  This is a beautiful, idyllic place but…there is no water.  Someone has to trek into the nearby village every day to get enough to keep them all hydrated.

On the way back, David asked if we wanted to go to the lookout – not very far at all.  Well…it looked like a fabulous view.

Looking towards the volcano
And it was.  But the steep narrow track up to the lookout made me grip the door handle with white knuckles…Thank God David was so competent and so calm!

Teluk Tahuna
We enjoyed his company very much and had a fabulous day.

2XS from way above

But today…I am, as Pete would say, BUGGERED!!  We are going to go to the market and buy tomatoes and tomorrow we will leave at 6am, for an overnighter, on our way to Halmahera Island.  I think I will sleep every minute I am not on watch…

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