Pulau Weh. This can be one of my exciting trip of the year. I remembered how worried I am prior to the trip, somewhat I have never been to the country - Indonesia, somewhat it is an earthquake prone area plus its active volcanic island, so much that I am not an expert diver, etc etc... It's now I dare to say so, it was a good life experiences. Wasn't a bad choice after all. I made it, certainly in experiencing the unique lifestyle and country, which many would think there are just so much un-develop, un-civilise. It's just all wrong. Though, I could not speak on for the entire country, but at least this part of Sumatra, Banda Aceh and Pulau Weh itself.
It may be un-develop at some area, but they have good condition of tarred road, even in the remote island itself. The nature still been well preserved, since it wasn't well develop, yet. I felt like been home. I had just discovered that the Malay slang used are somewhat quite similar as what we have back in East Malaysia. With no surprise, since Borneo (where Sabah & Sarawak situated) is neighboring with Kalimantan, Indonesia! Similar words used are, i.e. bilang = speak, bisa = boleh, etc... Besides, some foods are quite similar, i.e. Soto Daging (soup), gado-gado (vegetable mix with peanut sauce), etc... I feel like as if I am back home :)
Well, without delaying the introduction of my photo book. Here are the sequence of event, we we went by. Trip started from the morning we arrived with Air Asia AK305 to Banda Aceh. The tiny airport greeted us with a 'smile', it was in fact above what I had expected. The immigration clearance taken lots of our time, as they had implemented Bio-metric scan on our fingers! Except for those who had been to the country before, the rest of us would have to scan all of our fingers!
We then transit to check in again, this time was for a charted jet plane we had for 9 of us. The airplane company would have to weight us all, including our luggages. Just to make sure the airplane was able to fly us all into the island.
The plane took us only ~15min to get into the island, over it we experienced the most in life. The view was scenic, especially the paddy fields & flat lands of Banda Aceh, islands, and the destination island we were heading to - Pulau Weh.
We were then picked up by the appointed drivers, chauffeur us all the way back to the Dive Resort - Lumba Lumba, located at Gapang beach. Upon checked in, the center was far beyond most of our expectation. It was clean, spacious, and most importantly comfortable, especially when we have a crowd of 11 pax. The dive operator is European, and they usually transact in Euro dollar. Morning dive will usually starts at 9am (great for those whom usually wake up late). It had been the island custom, where all sea activities are prohibited until 2pm on every Friday. Thus, we were all relaxed!
These are the dive sites.
Let's see... what I had done throughout the trip.
1) Lumba Lumba House Reef, 2) Rubiah Seagarden, 3) Batee Tokong, 4) Arus Balee, 5) Pantee Peunateung (the most difficult dive!! most with the worse current I would need to fight... but we made it & get to see a lot of big fishes... we avoided the other strong current site, The Canyon after that), 6) Limbo Gapang, 7) Seulako's Drift, 8) Seulako's Cave.... finally, I had to give up my last 2 dives which I had been wanted to do, they were Wreck Tugboat and Underwater HotSpring... sigh, it's all due to my 'naughty' ankle!
Dive, dive, dive - was the main activities throughout the 6D5N trip. Certainly, foods were equally important, since the dive center does not provide food. We gotta hunt for food each meal, decide which warong (cafe) we plan to head to. Here are part of the meals we had.
The 2 below look pretty similar. Of course, they were from the same stall. Chap choy (fried mixed vegetable), is a Cantonese word. Not sure why they used the same there. Chilli was great, I felt like having the same back home, its a type that meant to go with fried fishes. Gado-gado, another mixed vegetable, but it has peanut gravy on it. We learned that cumi-cumi is sotong. Simple fried Parrot fish was nice!
From the same stall as above, namely Zero Cafe. We have our breakfast too. Their banana pancake was great, but the fried banana (somewhat taste good) had given us fake hope... at least for me, because the owner mentioned that it comes great with cheese... cheese? where?
One of the last night, we had buffet (Rp50,000/pax) with wide selection of seafood prepared by the cook. Most importantly was the BBQ fishes. It was from the same stall mentioned above.
Of course, we had some of our meals at other stalls too. Here below was the one exactly next to the dive resort. I like their avocado juice, it was so refreshing and was topped with little chocolate. I had their shredded cheese pancake once. One thing you should know while dining here - patience! In fact, throughout the trip, patients and slowness in pace were something all of use had discovered and yet learned.
It was an experience too, having to taste some local mixed rice dishes. Though, it wasn't cheap, mine was at Rp15,000 if I remembered correctly.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention there is this lady selling doughnut and some other kuih (cakes). She will make herself available in front of the dive resort every morning and afternoon around 4pm.
Besides food, below were some activities we had on our own, our group. Photo 'snapping' when sun rises for those who are early bird.
Sharing here, some underwater photos I 'loan' them from a friend. Too bad, I didn't have a underwater housing... yet. Guess it is time to get one soon :)
On the final day, we took the land and sea route from Sabang town @ Pulau Weh, on a 45min speedboat ferry to Banda Aceh.
We visited the Tsunami memorial ship... happened back in 2004 during the deadly Tsunami hit. Banda Aceh was badly swiped off at that moment. Many years after the disaster, the town has now slowly re-developed.