Monday, 31 October 2011

Togean islands : Dive the largest coral reefs in Indonesia

One more dive sites that brings your complacent while diving in it. Overlooking in the bottom of the sea , could make the admiration and satisfaction for the audience. This place could become a strong attraction for the divers around the world. Not only that, the islands are located in this place also offers spiritual relaxation through the natural beauty of every beach. With the edge along the white sand beaches and clean water between the turquoise waves , capable of removing all the fatigue that often we face in the midst of the hustle and bustle of big cities. Located on the Gulf of Tomini, Central Sulawesi, the Togean island is a pearl hidden in Indonesia archipelago.

Togean Islands National Park is an island group located in the transition zone of Wallace and Weber lines, and a cluster of small islands across the central Gulf of Tomini, this region extends about 102.7 km, with a land area of approximately 755.4 km2, consisting of approximately 66 large and small islands, where island Unauna, Batudaka, Togean, Talatakoh, Waleakodi and Waleabahi become its biggest islands.

These islands, has the largest coral reef in Indonesia (132,000 hectares), with marine biodiversity which includes 3 types of coral reefs. Togean Islands is the only place in Indonesia which is the most important part of coral reef ecosystems of the 'coral triangle' which covers an area of Indonesia, Filipinos, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Japan and Australia.

When you visit Island Retreat, you will find one of the last untouched places in the world. Within twenty to forty minutes from the Retreat, you will find the three major reef formations - fringing reef, barrier reef, and atoll. It is rare to come across all 3 formations in one place. The Togian Islands are known for this uniqueness. Here you find all kinds of reefs, from a large barrier reef stretching from one end to the other of the archipelago in the north and smaller fringing reefs as well as a few atolls. The reefs and large coastal mangrove areas are habitat and breeding areas for the hawksbill turtle, the green turtle and the dugong. On land there are also interesting animals to see like many rare birds (hornbills, parrots) and other animals. With luck you might even see the endemic Togian Hawk-owl (Ninox burhani).

There are over three hundred species of coral, some may even be unclassified, and a wonderful diversity of life and color in the underwater universe. Six new species of corals are also found in the Banggai Islands Togean and each one species of the genus Acropora, Porites, Leptoseris, Echinophyllia and 2 species of the genus Galaxea. Reef fish species recorded 596 fish species belonging to 62 Familia. Type Paracheilinus togeanensis and Ecsenius allegedly sp is endemic only to be found in the Islands Togean.

One of the best in Togean are the ruins of B 24 Allied bombers in World War II. Located 16 km northeast of the island Kadidiri, traveled 1.5 hours by boat. This aircraft crashed due to engine failure on the way back to base at Morotai, after a bombing mission. Eleven crew survived and left the plane with a length of 17 meters and 22 meters wide lying at a depth of 14-22 meters, not far from the beach.

How to get there

1. Flight with Lion Air or Sriwijaya air , every day from Jakarta and Surabaya to Gorontalo, followed by public ferry which departs every hour of 10 pm and arrived at 11 am . Instead of Togean leaves at 4 pm and 6 am tomorrow arrives in Gorontalo. Another option to charter a boat from Marisa, with a choice of departure time is flexible.

2. Alternatives could be through Palu (Central Sulawesi) followed approximately 7 hours journey by road - 375 miles - through Poso toward Ampana. Then proceed with the ship around 4 hours to Wakai.

3. If you took a route from Napier, (South Sulawesi), can be achieved within the 14-hour bus trip through Rantepao (Tana Toraja) to Ampana followed by the ship.

When the boat ride, there are things you should look. The Boat from Gorontalo only sailed every Wednesday, while the boat sailed from Ampana every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Both of Ampana or Gorontalo, sail boats starting at 10 am. By knowing the schedule departure of the boat, you can specify the time and the bow of your tour.

Where to stay

Black Marlin Diving
The dive resort accommodates divers and non divers alike in 15 exclusive and stylish bungalows just a few steps from the ocean. A mosquito net is mounted on every bed. A hammock is available on the terrace where you can hang out in the evening, relax and enjoy the panoramic sunset view with a cool drink in your hand. All rooms and bungalows are clean and equipped with western style toilets. Please keep in mind that Kadidiri is a remote island, away from big towns and cities, so shopping possibilities are limited. Everything used on Kadidiri, including water, has to be carried to the island by boat.

Walea Dive resort
The Walea Dive Resort is situated in a private area on the island of Waleabahi, in the centre of the Protected Area. It is small and exclusive with only 14 recently enlarged and renovated bungalows that look directly out onto the sea. Located right on the equator and protected by the large Gulf of Tomini, it is always summer here thanks to the microclimate which keeps the monsoon rains at bay.

Kadidiri Paradise Resort
For those with higher budgets, this is the nicest resort in the Togeans. The posh bungalows have decks with a view and the grounds are meticulously maintained. The dive center is top-notch.



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