From Banda Aceh, we headed for the island of Pulau Weh, known for great diving and snorkeling. We were not let down. The coral here in Pulau Weh is not the best you can see in Southeast Asia, but the real draw is the variety of fish species and size of the fish. We have seen cuddle-fish, lion-fish, large barracuda, huge trigger fish, moray eels and many, many others while snorkeling. A Dutch couple let us borrow their great underwater camera set-up, and we were thankfully able to get some great photos to share.
We had some sinus infections and other ailments that kept us from diving here. But the snorkeling in the channel in front of our bungalows in Ipioh was some of the best we have done. We relaxed here in our big bungalow with a huge deck and hammocks for a week. We spent most of our time snorkeling and reading. It has been really cheap to stay here, and very enjoyable.
The owner of the bungalows (and all the other resorts in Ipioh) are slowly rebuilding from the tsunami damage. The island of Pulau Weh is steep with limited beaches. Since the terrain quickly gains elevation, the damage here was not as massive as in the flat-lands of Banda Aceh. Some of the coral was damaged, but it appears to be growing back and there are many, many fish here. Some people saw sharks and turtles, but we did not.
As we approach the end of our trip and begin the process of looking for jobs and returning to the United States, we are trying to remember everything unique and different about where we are right now and what we are doing. We are both looking forward to returning but also sad to be leaving behind our lifestyle of constantly being on the road and new experiences every day. So here are some photos of the bathrooms we often use, which have become accustomed to and they really aren’t a big deal anymore. The toilet is a decent and clean tile hole in the floor, and is flushed with a mandi. The mandi is the big tank of water you use the scooper to dump water into the toilet to flush your business. The mandi shower also works the same way. You don’t jump in the tank; you dump water on yourself to shower.
We are now getting ready to head back to the USA and we are trimming down what we are carrying. We traded our mosquito net for a few free nights at our bungalow, and to help the locals in their tsunami re-building for their new rooms. We also gave our snorkel masks to the Dutch couple who let us use the waterproof camera we used to get all these pictures. They will be in Indonesia for the next five months and can get more use from them than we can.
***click to enlarge photos***