Suddenly the week here feels like it's drawing to a close, probably with yesterday having been 'hump day' spent seeing some of Manado and surrounds rather than diving.
We all slept like the dead on Sunday night (no Muslim Youth parties outside our doors) and had arranged for a 9 am departure on Monday, so it all felt very leisurely.
Monday's first dive was from the (north?) point of Bunaken island. On our way there we commented how the current in that channel appeared very strong - little did we know we'd be riding it twenty metres under! All the channels between islands are steep dropoffs so as you drift you are carried along the wall, but this was no gentle drift. One of our crew, who is working with the full SLR and strobes kit, described it as trying to take photos from a moving train - another thought he might lose his mask when he stopped ( hanging on for dear life) and turned his head. As we zoomed along it was largely a case of fending off the reef, which I failed to do terribly well when I got distracted by a few big fish out in the blue. Result: blurry photo of fish and new holes in my suit, luckily bruises no cuts so no coral infections.
The second dive seemed tame by comparison, further along the same channel which is somewhat wider by then, so much gentler conditions.
Dive photos - other than the select few added to the blog albums - are now at
I will keep adding to this album whilst here.
Tuesday, the non- diving day, was nonetheless busy. I'd agreed to be part of the splinter group that went for an early trip to the local markets before the majority of us went on the 'tour' to the national park (jungle) to see the above-water wildlife.
The markets were quite large and colorful, we could have spent longer but the chaperone supplied by the hotel was keen for us to keep moving. It is a fresh market, so fruit & veg, fish, meat, chickens, spice etc. The daily catch is landed at the wharf alongside, other animals are killed and butchered on the spot. Not pretty but simply how it is.
We also went to a village market et the start of the daytrip, up towards the highlands. The people who live in this region are the original inhabitants of the area, termed the 'Minahasa', whose diet has always included animals such as snakes, bats, dogs & cats. At the village market we were able to confirm at least the dog part of the story- take note not to eat in a restaurant that describes itself as Minahasa, as they serve traditional fare.
Market photos at https://picasaweb.google.com/107280353124292665737/ManadoMarkets?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCNuVmYXF89Wg1AE&feat=directlink
It was a long road trip to the national park ( bless the Bonine) and growing warm, with a possibility of rain. Dressed like some of us were serious in long pants, long sleeves, trekking shoes, everyone wearing LOTS of mosquito repellent- after all we'd been warned! we walked through the park for about 3 hours, were lucky that we did see the local tarsiers ( world's smallest monkey) and some other beasties besides, but I'm not raising my hand for a repeat performance. Didn't help that my ankles were somewhat swollen and this created a new set of friction points for blisters - bless Rebecca for deciding not to wear her socks, I pinched 'em and then that was much better.
It is a very pretty area and once outside the city, quite clean. Having said I Wong volunteer for a repeat, if we come here again and there's a trip to the live volcano across the bay, guess I'll be there.