Sunday 11 February 2024

Sumatra Part 3 - Jan/Feb 2024

 Our next mission was to try to find a ferry to Nias.  Ultimately we were aiming for a tiny island off the tip of another island called Telo.  Indonesia is made up of 18,000 islands and we have only been to five of them!!

Anyhoo, we set off the next morning for the Port of Sibolga in the hope of finding an office to sell us a ticket for the next ferry.  All we knew from research was that it was an overnighter.  Halfway there, and with more than a few people trying to sell us something or help us in some way (unbidden as usual and totally unintelligable to our still useless ears for the language) one guy said in perfectly good English, "Can I help you?".  So we decided to take him up on his kind offer and 15mins later we had two tickets on the ferry that night.  Could it really be that easy?  Apparently, yes.  Oh, and we got priority boarding.

That's our ferry, the blue one

Hmmm, bid hard

Prison ship maybe

Nice fellow inmates though

Ah, that's better.  We figured out we could hire mats

It got pretty busy and noisy but there wasn't much to see outside as it was dark so we just settled in for a session of people watching, bought some snacks off the food sellers before they had to leave the ship and eventually got some sleep.

We arrived at port around 7am the next morning. disembarked, stopped at a roadside stall for coffee and walked into town to see if we could find somewhere to stay as we had discovered that the fast ferry to Telo wasn't operating this week and the slow one only operated alternate days ... and that would be tomorrow ... of course.

We lucked in when we arrived at the first hotel we came to.  The owner, Rendos and his lovely wife Mama Vossey, are still building the hotel but had a wonderful room for us.  The icing on the cake is that Rendos speaks great English and is the quintessential host.

Our plush room
Crystal clear water

Fishing off the rocks out from of the hotel
That's our ferry still in the background

Mama Vosset's wonderful fresh fish dinner

Shared with the kittens, of course!

A sad goodbye .. brothers from
different mothers

The next morning, not only did Mama Vosset provide us with a wonderful breakfast but she also supplied a yummy packed lunch for us to enjoy on the boat.  And enjoy ... we sure did!

We walked back to the port to board the ferry to Telo.  We weren't quite ready to leave Nias but as the boat was only leaving on alternate days, we had to take advantage.

There she is!

This was an all day affair, 6 hours and an absolute treat.  It was reasonably comfortable, the scenery was awesom and the company even more awesome.  Who knew we would be treated to 6 hours of karaoke!  We would come to understand that karaoke is a big part of Indonesian life.  They carry huge big boom boxes around, set up a family picnic and let it blast.

The other cool thing that happened on the water that day was this ....

The port of Telo .....

That wee white boat is our next tuktuk

There was a guy waiting to take us to our destination of Pulau Sibaranun, a wee island off the tip of Telo and just a 20min boat ride away.

Pulau Sibaranun has less than 120 full time inhabitants.  There are no shops on the island, all supplies come from Telo.  There were no other tourists here during our time as it was off-season, but the only reason most tourists come here is for the (apparently) sublime surfing!  Not something we would know about but can see that this would be true.  There is one posh surfers lodge on the island (closed at the moment) that costs US$300 per night all inclusive.

Our new digs for a week ...


Our new front yard

Our 'private' beach

And bath

A walk around the whole island at low tide took about and hour and we enjoyed taking the local dogs with us.

We thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with the local dogs.


As usual, there was fishing to be enjoyed.


There was nothing to do except relax and watch the beautiful sunsets.


When it came time to leave we spent three night back on Telo having decided to fly from Telo to Padang instead of making the arduous journey back the other way.  We were swiftly running out of time on our 30 day visas for Indonesia.  Time was of the escence.

A typical petrol station in the village

This cutie asked us to join him for lunch and 
wanted to try Clare's glasses on

We checked into the local airport which was a 20min boat ride away, as usual.  It was not sophisticated by it did the trick.

This 12 seater would take 1hr to take us to Padang

We sat at the back and had plenty of leg room

Telo from the air

Pulau Sibaranun from the air

This volcano seen on the mainland just served to remind us that we had just spent a month  in the company of many live active volcanoes.  Which is not unusual for us!  Indonesia, along with New Zealand, on the Pacific Ring of Fire .

In Padanga, the capital city of West Sumatra we thoroughly enjoyed an array of wonderfully taste dishes and fabulous fresh fruit.

Dragon fruit, looks prettier than it is

Our hotel included breakfast, and it was really good!

We were amused by this sign asking people to
NOT butter and jam their bread BEFORE putting
is in the toaster

James made this wee girls day by taking the laundry to the local laundromat.

We took a trip to the museum.

We met a lovely local woman and her family who invited us to join them for dinner.  We really appreciated this as it was the first time we were able to actually understand what we were ordering.

Next came another short flight from Padang back to one of our favourite Malaysian destinations, Klang.
We again visited the fishing pond where James proceeded to catch the two biggest catfish he has ever caught.

Slapped in the tit by this monster in it's bid to
get away

And Clare got a tattoo ....

Succinct and very very apt!