Our resort at Lake Poso – Siuri Corrages – is empty. It’s a large, well maintained area filled with flowers and 24 empty bungalows. At dinnertime we get to choose where to eat and the ladies of the resort cook some amazing Indonesian food. The lake is gorgeous, with different looks during the day. Sometimes as smooth as a mirror, sometimes with waves and stunning clouds. Even when it rains it’s equally impressive and swimmable. One of the staff of Siuri Cottages named Iwan is a young Indonesian man who speaks proper english and comes by regularly to chat. He tells us about strange lights across the lake in the mountains and in the lake. We see them too when it’s pitch dark , and Iwan tells us about the legend of the lake. It’s about a fisher who was once fishing in the middle of the lake and saw lights swimming across the lake. He didn’t die to tell anyone in his village as he would be declared nuts for sure, until other fishermen also saw the phenomenon. They think there’s a dragon in the lake who regularly flies over the mountains. During our swims during the day the legend keeps playing in my head.
Bones in the jungle
Iwan asks us in the morning wether we’d like to walk around with him to see rock burials sites of the people who once lived here centuries ago. We follow along on our flip flops thinking it’d be a short walk, but it turns out to be more of a hike thru the bush. There are no paths and the ground is covered in a thick layer of leaves, and we sink up to our knees in them. When we arrive at a huge rock Iwan points between the cracks and behold, skulls and bones of dozens of people are buried there. We wonder if nobody has come to look for the remains, but no – the locals had no idea what to do with the remains either and have placed the remains in rocks as has been done for centuries on Sulawesi. We tell him this is unimaginable in the Netherlands, and we’re very impressed.
Further in the bush/jungle we see the remains of century old skeletons. It’s obvious they’re that old as the skulls are huge compared to ours. Iwan guides us along a small harbour that is almost completed, then out of the bush and across the road to a cocoa plantation with a gorgeous waterfall. As we discuss the animals that live around here Michiel almost walks into a black widow spider, not larger then the top of finger. We love it around the lake and enjoy all the animals around is. Behind our wooden house there’s a swamp and we see birds, butterflies and other insects al day long. When we do our own night safari when Noa sleeps we see giant snails, frogs, an innocent brown snake and a spider that jumps over the water.
A long day on the boat to Una Una
On the morning of our departure to Ampana, Iwan joins us to the coast to buy fish. We have a 5 hour drive and are dropped of at an empty, large hotel with large and clean rooms. The owner has four sons that Noa enjoys playing with in the garden. We try to buy some groceries for the upcoming week on a remote island. We have a reservation on the island Una Una, about 5 hours by boat and without shops. We head out the next morning with the Hercules speedboat to the large island Wakai. When we get off a large boat just arrived and the harbour is swarming with thousands of people, their luggage and merchandise and we feast our eyes. We’re expected by a small fisherman’s boat someone arranged for us to take us on the next 3 hour journey. We quickly eat some nasi and barbecued fish only to find out the weather near Una Una is not so good and the captain wants to wait until it clears up. No problem for us – if an Indonesian fisherman says it’s not safe to go by boat we’d rather wait it out. We eat our lunch surrounded by a large group of people watching Noa eat and play. We talk to some people and eventually head out, The boat is tiny and low, we sit on a wooden floor without any back support. A long and eventually painful ride, but after arriving on Una Una it’s quickly forgotten. We’re welcomed by the staff of both the resort and the dive operator. We check in to a romantic three person room with two poster beds and a huge walk in closet. Water for the shower and toilet is pumped from a well and works only when there’s power – between 5pm and 11pm. Eating is done communal in a large and cosy space with two large wooden tables with seats, with a view of the beach, sea and boardwalk that heads out into the sea. During our first evening meal we’re warned by one of the dive masters to to leave any soap in the bathroom and to keep cookies/snacks in a glass jar. “You’re in the jungle now”, Yanni says. The rats and mice will feast on it. Really, they eat soap I wonder? Thinking he’s joking I return to our room only to find out a rat has already ate from our soap and crackers. The first night we have a lot more company – giant locus, a mouse that wonders if anything is left and a large (7”) spider that jumps several yards. Yes, this is the jungle!
The underwater world and the volcano on Una Una
We are so ready to go diving the next morning but don’t really know what to expect, stories from other divers are very different. Noa has immediately made a friend in the five year old son of one of the ladies in the kitchen and can play with him while we go diving and the kitchen ladies look after them. The reefs are gorgeous, on one of our first dives we see an eagle ray, a ray with white spots and something we haven’t seen many times before in our hundreds of dives. The following days we dive twice a day and see one beautiful reef after another, with as highlights a school of about a hundred and fifty barracuda that circle us for fifteen minutes and a reef with a million toby fish meters thick. When we are swinging in our hammocks and drinking a coconut the staff starts screaming, dolphins, dolphins. At about twenty meters from the beach there is a group of dolphins hunting, we even managed to shoot a movie of it. Our final dive is a night dive on the reef where we saw the barracudas during the day, now there are tens of moray eels, crabs, and lots of other fish species that are unique to the night.
The resort feels so comfortable, before and after dinner we often talk for hours at a time or play card games with the dive masters and guides. After a couple of days a Dutch couple arrives with the boat that are also on a trip around the world and we really get along. They propose to go trekking to a krater lake on our last day. We have been thinking about doing just that so the decision is made. The next morning we are picked up by four on local men/guides on their motorcycles from the village on Una Una. The roads are unpaved and it has rained the previous nights, some paths are really muddy and the wheels of the motorcycles completely disappear in the puddles or even get stuck. I’m not a fan of driving across unpaved roads because the back wheel often slips and it makes me scared to fall. The whole ride I keep holding on, and keep telling myself these men were born here and have been riding these paths forever. And we make it in one piece at the volcano, we have to walk across an old lava stream until we reach thicker and thicker jungle. We walk across cold and hot water streams that come down the volcano. We cross a vertical wall with a rope and reach the krater. After walking for a bit more we reach a gorgeous krater where we stop to eat a cookie and let our feet rest. After that we walk to a part of the krater where steam rises from the ground, and hot water emerges and for little streams, check out our video.
What an unbelievable experience, we thank the men after they have dropped us of at the resort and continue on to the showers to wash off all the mud. What a week, we thought before arrival that we would spend the week doing nothing but in the end it’s been a very active week with lots of diving and a walk on to and across a volcano. The next morning we reluctantly say goodbye to Una Una and take the boat back to the main land with together with the Dutch couple. One day we’ll be back we promise the owner of the resort, one day.