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Togeans II: Kadidiri | We're Not There Yet

Fishing shacks built on stilts hours away from shore. Sort of a sign of how still the waters in this sea are…and how crazily remote this place is from normal.

Forested rocks out in the sea.

Fisherman near a barely inhabited island.

One of the 7 bungalows on our island.

Two beaches leading to the shack where breakfast/lunch/dinner is served

The beach right in front of our door…if we had a door instead of a hammock.

Our bungalow.

After three incredibly lazy, indulgent, perfect days at Poya Lisa, we decided to move on. The next stop for us was Kadadiri, another Togean Island that, at one point, had ben poised to turn into a ClubMed-style paradise. A downswing in visa allowances and an upswing in civil unrest in the late 90′s and early 00′s put a damper on tourist numbers that were growing at a steady rate despite how difficult it is to reach the islands. Since Kadadiri is strictly a tourist island with no permanent residences and not enough tourist traffic to justify a regular ferry, we were required to hire a chartered boat to the island for the whopping sum of $30. Luckily, we spilt the cost with another couple; unluckily, it was the dour duo from our previous post.

Taxi from Poyalisa to Kadadiri – 2 hours on this outrigger. OMFG – I love Indonesia.

There are three sleeping options on Kadadiri, putting us in a Goldilocks kind of scenario: the first one was too primitive, the last one was too pricey, but the middle one was just right. Despite the warnings of many a blogger, we stayed at the Blue Marlin resort. We had heard terrifying stories of the Dive Master who ran the place but we had happily arrived a mere two weeks since he was replaced by a charming (and not at all terrifying) Australian-Norwegian couple. Not only that, but they gave us a small discount that was enough to bump the place from way out of our price range to the we-shouldn’t-but-it-won’t-break-the-bank price range. So we did. For roughly $15 per person, per night, we had a lovely, clean room with a deck facing the ocean and a hammock. All meals were included, although extra was charged for water, snorkeling equipment, and any kind of excursion. The place is a diving center first and foremost, but as it was a ghost town when we arrived (our boatload provided the only guests upon our arrival) we were allowed to stay on even though we chose to sit out on the diving in the Togeans (once I got over my fear of diving, I developed a fear of going broke trying to keep up with the habit).

Each of the three ‘resorts’ is next to the other on the same small stretch of beach so there is a bit of back and forth; we ended up signing on for a snorkeling trip with the last place, Kadadiri Island Paradise. The boat took about nine of us out for an all-day excursion to several snorkeling spots including the highly anticipated Jellyfish Lake, a saltwater lake that is home to a population of stingless jellyfish- the animals have been isolated in their watery home for who knows how many thousands of years; since there are no other living things in the lake (except, as our boatmate, Melte, discovered, huge leeches) the jellyfish evolved into innocuous, stingless versions of themselves. Swimming into the middle of the lake is an eerie experience; the lake gets deep real fast and the visibility is only good enough to see about 5 feet or so around yourself. Jellyfish seem to appear out of nowhere, floating delicately by as if in outer space.

Our next stop brought us firmly back to Earth. Ever since Mexico, I have been hunting for the ideal beach. My version is white sand, clear water fading into turquoise, palm trees and that’s about it. Plus, maybe margaritas. Lo and behold, our ratty little boat brought us plumb into my Ideal Beach. We tried to snorkel, but the water was too clear and there was no seaweed or coral or anything else that would distract from the simplicity of the clear, clean water. We ended up just splashing and floating and reveling in the perfectness of the place. It was about this time that R looked at me and said, ‘I think we’re done here,’ meaning done with the beach hunt, done with chasing after more tropical destinations, not quite done with the whole trip, but ready to plan the finishing touches.

We had big ideas of going to the Philippines, going to more far-flung islands in search of more beach, better beach, the Ideal Beach. All of a sudden, the search was over and all that was left was to figure out was a graceful exit. Right there in the water, plans were laid to leave Sulawesi and firm up our final Indonesian destination, knowing that we still have a few more boxes to tick off before we head home. The remaining question was whether to go to Borneo, where I had been dead set on visiting since our first trip to Indonesia three years ago, or to Sumatra, which was suggested by one of our young fellow resort guests, Roberto. An evening of hurried Lonely Planet consultation ensued and the decision was not final, but by the time we were boarding the ferry to the mainland a few days later, R was already trying to time flights to Medan, the capital of Sumatra.