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Island Paradise: First Impressions | We're Not There Yet

Before we left Ampana, I did an internet search about the Togean Islands. One of the blogs I found was kind of inane, but grabbed my attention with a blog posting titled: Cockroaches. I am a giant, uncontrollable, hysterical baby when it comes to bugs and cockroaches are my strongest kryptonite. The blog post talks about how the author and all of her island-mates had incidents with cockroaches crawling into their beds at night. Like, inside their beds with them. This, despite mosquito nets. Reading this was almost enough to deter me from going to the island at all, but I decided to act like a grown up and deal with it. Of course, the first thing I did when we got here was go straight to the room and arrange the mosquito net so that there would be no time for any kind of funny business on the part of my multi-legged enemies. As I tucked in the netting, what should I discover between the slats but a big, menacing cockroach. Oh, yes! I made R get up out of his hammock and exterminate the beast before he could get away, but where there is one, others are sure to follow. I am still horrified by this, but there is little to do about it since we are on an island and all. R is already sick of my obsessing over this, but I’m telling you, it’s a real phobia! So much so that it is the first topic that I chose to write about concerning my first impressions about this place. Let’s move on to second impressions.

M sitting on the boat planking (over the BANGING engine) en route to the islands

A fishing village along an island shore

Canoe Pilot unloading sacks of stuff off our ferry as we make the rounds among the southernmost islands

Another tiny village

This is Poyalisa, the island where we’d stay for several days. On the right is the place where the meals are served. To the left are the tiny bungalows.

Heading to Poyalisa.

This place is like a cartoon drawing of a tropical island. We heard about it from a Canadian we met in Labuanbajo, who said it was his favorite place in the Togeans. It is called Poya Lisa and it occupies its own tiny island a stone’s throw from the small town of Bomba. The island is so small that you could probably throw a frisbee from end to end. One side is a rocky outcrop and the other has dual beaches that are separated by a strip of land narrow enough to physically straddle. All meals are included, although they really get you on the beer prices; alas, there is nothing else to spend your money on, so people aren’t mad about it. The jaded traveler in me notes the seagrass growing about a foot from shore, so it’s a bit like swimming in a lake, but R has threatened drastic measures if I brood anymore about my perceived flaws in Paradise, so let me also note that the water is as warm as a bathtub and as clear as… water. And the sand is fine, soft, and almost white. And our little room is less than $13 per person, per night and includes all meals and snorkeling equipment and features a little balcony with a hammock that is about 10 feet from the beach, where there is another hammock so we don’t have to fight over the first one. There is electricity only between 6-11pm and there is exactly nothing to do here except swim, sleep, read, and buy slightly overpriced beer. And, of course, try to catch up on all our blogging when we have enough power.

This will be our headquarters for the next day or three as we figure out the next steps in the end phase of our trip. We are debating how to wow ourselves after where we’ve been for the past month or so and we will have to decide what must-see destinations we will not get to see. We love this trip and say it to each other often, but we are also becoming more aware of the end of our trip and what comes next for us. These are exciting times!

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