Togeans - Picture Perfect S00 14.251 E122 15.849
Our first anchorage in the Togean Islands at Pulau Waleabahi Kanari Bay
Nobody was home. The people here are semi-nomadic, they will have one main rumah (house) like this then a few smaller stilt dwellings on different islands so that they can have shelter and cooking facilities when they are fishing further away. Despite being all of wood, with wooden pegs, rope lashings and roofs of woven pandanas leaf, they nearly always have a cooking hearth inside. The hearth consists of a wooden box set on the plank or bamboo floor and filled deeply with sand with three large stones set in it, the fire is lit in the middle and pots can be balanced for cooking, there is no chimney. There is usually a large urn of water at the ready and the sand can be dampened. We didn’t see any burnt out huts although we have seen many where the roof had fallen in, where the stilts had slipped or the walls had been blown out by the wind like some of these built out on a reef.
Pulau Waleabahi Kanari Bay was such a perfect place to arrive and recover after our long journey, it was total peace. There were no noises other than birds, insects and the lapping water. No WIFI here, no phone signal, no lights at night and flat calm.
We had a visitor who spotted us whilst crossing the head of the bay and made his way down to see us. Serea, a local fisherman, was very inquisitive; he had never seen a sailing yacht before or a boat that wasn’t made of wood.
He was intrigued by the strip teak deck and cockpit and the caulking, he also asked about the engine but would not come below decks to have a look; although he really wanted to see inside he would only look down through the companionway hatch. However, we had a really nice time with him going through the Fish Encyclopaedia and Book of Coral Reef Fishes and he identified lots of local fish for us. Then he took a bowl of sea water and put in some live fish which he had under the boards in the bottom of his canoe. These were his bait fish which he catches on the reef before setting out for bigger catch in more open waters. This one is a multi-barred goatfish; they look very attractive when swimming on the reefs as the blue parts are iridescent.
As it was the end of his day, Serea released all his bait fish then said goodbye to us. We waved him off with a carrier bag full of hard to get food items together with soap, toothbrushes and some hand & body lotion for his wife (the women here love to get ladies’ stuff same as everywhere). He was so pleased and we had a round of almost painful smiling.
We have certainly crossed the equator to find somewhere which at the moment feels extraordinary. The Togean Islands are remote and extremely beautiful, the colours are stunning and we are looking forward to more.