Indonesia: October 2007 Archives

Indonesia Diving

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I just returned from 2 weeks in Indonesia and what a trip it was. I went there to visit five Seacology projects, check out the diving in Raja Ampat and sample the culture in Bali. The trip started on the island of Sulawesi.

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Once called the Celebes, this has got to be one of the oddest shaped large islands in the world (right). It looks as if you put a jigsaw puzzle piece in an electric outlet. As a result its coastline is enormous.

From the northern Sulawesi city of Manado the Seacology group took a short boat ride to the striking, cone shaped island of Manado Tua. One look at this island and there is no doubt that it is of volcanic origin. We got there at low tide and so we had to hike the last 30 yards to shore. The trip had barely begun when a new site presented itself. Several pigs were grazing in the water on the low growing sea grass. Yes, we really did see pigs grazing in the ocean, and no we were not drinking.

Balinese dance captures one's attention immediately as the dancers move to tell ancient stories through physicality and props. The picture below shows a young Balinese dancer in her costume with a flower-covered headdress and expressive fan. This photograph hangs in the Seacology office, taken in 2002 during an expedition to visit a Seacology-funded wastewater garden at Tirtagangga Water Palace. Every time I walk past the picture, I am captivated by the young girl's seriousness, her eyes so intent, her motion captured like that in so many Indian sculptures.

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Balinese dance, music, and ceremonies are offerings to Hindu deities and tell the ancient epic stories of the Hindu religion. As a former hula dancer, I enjoy art forms that pass along stories, be they through oral history, art, music, or dance. The combination of message and movement is fascinating to me and so important to passing along traditions to future generations.