So that’s it. All our bags are packed, we’re ready to go. Unfortunately our minds are not, it’s too soon to go! Leaving a place after having the best time always evokes sad feelings. We’ve experienced the perfect life for about a week. When we (Claudia, Lauren and me) finished our field research we decided to head up North to spend a few days in the city of Manado and get a taste of the island life on Bunaken.

After all the good luck we had so far, I already started to wonder when the bad luck would come. It expressed itself. Our flight from Toraja to Makassar got cancelled which is why we missed our connecting flight to Manado and because of that we basically lost one day to travelling.

Our brand new Best Western hotel in Manado provided us our deserved relaxation: swimming pool, gym and bedroom all with ocean view! We met our study advisor Pieternel for a day and together we went to the jungle (Tangkoko National Park) to spot black macaques and the tarsier ghost monkeys. Amazing!

The next day we continued to the Island of Bunaken to explore it’s underwater glory. Well, glorious it was. I can tell you that. The stunning colours of the lively coral garden, the steep drop of the seawall. You might be excited when you see a seaturtle but sometimes we saw 5 at a time!

In our homestay, there was no electricity and wifi during the day. But who needs that anyways? You wake up with the beach on your doorstep, have breakfast, join the diving boat, snorkel or dive for a few hours, get back, have lunch and siesta. Then, in the evening, you gather with the staff and their friends to sing songs with a guitar by the bonfire on the beach with 1, 2 or 3 beers. That’s how our day-to-day schedule looked like, no obligations.

We also had our own Bunaken dad. A local guide named Eddie, who stayed with us for the time being. Besides the underwater world, he introduced us to the dive masters and other locals he knew, and you could always see his teeth because he simply always smiles. What a nice spirit.

The next quote is from a song by John Denver which will always remind us of Bunaken 😉 .

I’m leaving on a jetplane.
Don’t know when I’ll be back again.
Oh babe, I hate to go…

Bunaken sunset

Finish visa, finish money, comeback country, jalan kaki.

Written by: Nike van der Velde