After a week in the highlands of Sulawesi and having caught a cold I knew exactly what I wanted; a hot tropical island surrounded by coral reefs and calm turquoise waters. Luckily I had prepared well in advance and after a short stop over in Makassar I would be heading to the beautiful islands of Wakatobi.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of them before, Wakatobi, located off the East coast of Sulawesi, is actually composed of four different islands. These are Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomea and Binongko. Luckily the name is quite catchy, which probably accounts for the islands popularity.
Unfortunately for me I had been heavily involved in the planning of this portion of the trip and things started to go wrong from the start. Our initial plan to rent a nice bungalow on the beach fell flat on its face when we found out that the rooms had all been booked. After a frantic few hours looking for another resort to stay at we encountered our next hurdle; the fast boat that we wanted to take from Bau Bau to Wakatobi didn’t operate on even days (2,4, 6, 8… Just in case anyone had forgotten primary school maths class). The only solution to our problems was a slow overnight ferry that would make the journey in no less than ten hours.
I have to admit that I’m not a fan of slow boats. Quite apart from the fact that they seem to have the habit of sinking far too often they are slow and only have the most basic of ammenities. My bed for the night onboard the ship was the top bunkbed, which had all of 20 inches space between me and the metal roof. Not used to sleeping almost on the ceiling I spent the night smashing my head against the roof whenever I tried to turn around.
When we arrived at Wangi-Wangi at seven in the morning I was tired and cranky and I was not looking forwards to the next ferry ride that was supposed to leave at 11. Sitting on the boat at 12 I realised that we wouldn’t be going anywhere before one; we left at 1:15.
The great thing about being on holiday is that it doesn’t take much to turn a bad day on its head. I was greeted after my second two hour ferry trip of the day with a simple greeting. “Do you want to go diving today? I promise it will make you smile!” One hour later when I made my final kick to the surface I was again in the holiday mood.