Duane: October 2007 Archives

Indonesia Diving


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.


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.

New Guinea - these are odd words to begin an item about Fiji. But that is where i am as you read this; on a dive boat visiting Seacology projects in the Raja Ampat section of New Guinea. I'll be back in time for my next entry and fill you in on this trip. For now let's focus on Fiji, one of the largest nations in the South Pacific. Fiji's 300 islands are located 1,300 miles north of New Zealand. I have been to Fiji over 10 times, mostly to visit some Seacology projects there.

Map_Fiji.gifIs Fiji a great travel destination? You bet it is. Fijians are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. The first time I was in Fiji the people were so friendly I thought they were putting me on. I was born and raised in the suburbs of NY and was not used to such overwhelming hospitality. And Fijians LOVE children. If you are thinking of taking your kids to a beautiful island this is the place to go. Of course diving, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, swimming and relaxing make this a wonderful place for adults to visit. Unlike a lot of exotic locations there are accommodations for every budget from backpacker hostels to high end resorts.

When leading a Seacology trip we stay at the Jean Michel Cousteau Fiji Island Resort. Yes, its on the expensive side but if you can afford it, it is worth every penny. The setting on the island of Vanua Levu is wonderful, the food is great, the children's program is fantastic and this is one resort that really cares about the environment. The Cousteau Fiji Resort has received many awards from travel publications throughout the world and was recently recognized by the readers of Trip Advisor as the number one environmentally friendly resort in the world.

Island travel offers it all.  Coral reefs, beautiful beaches, unique cultures, friendly people and great sunsets.  Odds are if you are reading this you know I don't mean a week in a high rise hotel in Waikiki.  I'm talking about real island expeditions to places you may have only dreamed of or for that matter not even heard of.  That's where Seacology comes in.  While many people know us as the world's premier ngo (nonprofit) whose sole purpose is preserving island environments and cultures, what is less known is that we offer 3 or 4 trips a year to some of the planet's most beautiful islands.  What makes our trips special besides our destinations?  During our trips we visit remote villages where we have provided the funding for schools, community centers, fresh water delivery systems, etc. in exchange for the establishment of marine or forest reserves.  So when we visit a village we are treated like family.  We offer the three holy grails of modern travel:

  1. We go to places that are off the beaten path,
  2. We are treated by the locals like family and not like tourists,
  3. Our trips are meaningful and rewarding in addition to being fun.