Tinabo Island

What a sunny day! The boat berthing from the dock starts the early morning trip to my endless experience in Southeast sea of South Sulawesi, Taka Bonerate. Yeah, finally this is it, after struggling over 11 hours overland, an hour flight across two big islands, and 2 hours on a public ship! The trip to Taka Bonerate is made by low-speed boat from the third checkpoint, Pattumbukang harbor. Welcome to the adventure!

Pattumbukang Harbor

In fact I still have to sail 8 more hours across the sea before finally stop at the finish line, but no worries! Guess why? A local captain amaze me, I am wondering why the boat don’t have any compass while we still have hours to map the path?

Captain, we sail 8 hours without any compass on our boat!?

The compass is here (His right finger is pointing to his head)”, he replies.

Whatttt!!! I stare him for seconds but then laugh out loud! I realize, he doesn’t need any modern compass, He already has the experience, instinct, nature, wind, and stars to be his compass and will lead his mind finding the way! I am so amazed and strongly feel privileged to share a story with him!

We are here for 8 hours! Of course with the astonishing captain!

Taka Bonerate is a remote island, difficult to reach, but worthy to be there. Along the trip, sometimes I see the amazing marine wildlife attractions.

Such a very long voyage to the dreaming island, I always hope the boat’s engine acts well to againts the wobble waves! With 4 travelers, 9 locals, a captain, and his son as his only crew, it is important to stay awake and keep an eye on each other.

Taka Bonerate is an archipelago in Indonesia that has 21 islands in an area of 530.765 hectares, it becomes the World’s third largest Atoll coral reef after Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands and Suvadiva Atoll in the Maldive. It has a very diverse underwater life, a place for many species of marine life such as 4 types of turtles, 233 species of coral, 362 species of reef fish, 216 types of Mollusks, and marine mammals.

Clown Fish
The clown fish underwater in Taka Bonerate. Take a look, PINK and ORANGE!

After arriving at the islands port, I am greeted by the cheers of teenager who are playing football in the sandy beach. Feeling so tired and my friends remind me to build the tent first, “the dark is coming soon”. But, my curiosity drives me to find where are the cheers coming from. I finally find where they are and I really feel lucky to see happiness they possess. The island is too small to be their playground, the afternoon is the best time to play, there is a spot meters away from the coastline that can be their emergency pitch to play football. They only need to wait the sea low tide and play before dark.

Fellow Travelers are spotting the best place to camp in Tinabo Island
Beach Football
Football Time! Yeah, So Happy!

I imagined what it would be like to live in a remote island. No electricity, no internet, no network provider, and no freshwater. Then I realize I don’t have to imagine. This is it!

Golden Sunset
The golden sunset we see! A fisherman is painting his own fishing boat, what a lovely moment that is!

The residents of the island responded to the dearth of power with candles and the power of gasoline to illuminate homes, They use solar cell to energize the radio and some lamps, and they sail two hours buying gallons of freshwater on the neighboring island.

Tinabo Island
Tinabo Island, Taka Bonerate

When I stay in this island, I feel like I’m in the middle of nowhere, I leave my old-world behind. But, I’m about to find out my endless discoveries here in the island. The trip is full of surprises, everyday is amazing. I witness my very first time golden sunset, I discover the local activity that I’ve never known, I share with the local people, and I experience the marine life. I can see pink color underwater! So colorful! There are beauties that can’t only hear from the stories, watch TV or surf to internet, beauty is seeing it with your eyes and feeling it with your soul! Be there, find your EXIT!

Hamka in Tinabo Island
This is me on the island!

Every exit is an entry to somewhere else – Tom Stoppard



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