The Togian Islands Complete Travel and Dive Guide

The Togian Islands Complete Travel and Dive Guide

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The Togian Islands is a real tropical paradise with lovely powder white sand seashores lined in tropical rain forest and surrounded by pristine coral reefs in crystal clear water. This archipelago  of 56  islands and islets is positioned in the midst of the Gulf of Tomini off the coast of Central Sulawesi. Protected by steady barrier reef the islands are well-known for clear and calm waters within the sheltered space. Indonesia is made up by greater than 17 000 islands and the 56 islands of the Togians are among the many most distant. It takes three flights and several other boat and ferry rides to succeed in from the touristy Bali, so put together your self for an off the crushed observe journey when touring to the Togians. Being so distant protects a number of hidden treasures from international tourism; diving is superb on the pristine protected reefs, the nomadic tradition of the well-known ‘sea gypsy’ bajo folks continues to be preserved and it is likely one of the solely locations on this planet the place you possibly can nonetheless swim alone with tens of millions of innocent jelly fish in Mariona Lake.

My dive buddy doing a safety stop in the crystal clear water of The Togean islands.
My dive buddy doing a security cease within the crystal clear water of The Togean islands.

Touring Highlights of The Togean Islands

Exploring this hidden tropical paradise was an unbelievable expertise, the whole lot, beginning with the in a single day journey on a neighborhood ferry to going spearfishing with the legendary bajo folks.

Diving is the primary cause vacationers discover their manner right here. The fauna and flora on these remoted island is unbelievable and many of the highlights are underwater. The water is crystal clear and we had over 30 m visibility on most of our dives, with diving various from massive fish, unreal coral, tiny critters to diving on a WWII B24 Bomber wreck!

Many endangered species dwell on the Togean Islands together with dugongs, hawksbill and inexperienced sea turtles. It is likely one of the solely populations of the large endangered coconut crab which you could see strolling and climbing he bushes over these islands

The tradition and way of life of the distinctive Bajo folks “sea gypsies” folks, dwelling of their floating homes is one thing as a real aquaholic I’ve at all times wished to see and actually loved. You possibly can see how the nomadic  Bajau Laut folks dwell in concord with the ocean within the settlement Pulau Papan.

Swimming in Mariona Lake, a jelly fish lake, the place tens of millions of those creatures misplaced the power to sting, that is one in every of solely a handful of locations the place isolation of jelly fish rendered them innocent over tens of millions of years.

A big coconut crab, these guys often climb the palm trees. It is a species of terrestrial hermit crab and is the largest land-living arthropod in the world, it grows up to 4kg and 1m in length!
An enormous coconut crab on Malenge Island.

The place are The Togean Islands?

The huge island Sulawesi is one in every of about 17 000 islands that collectively type Indonesia and is the 4th largest island in Indonesia following  Sumatra, Borneo and Papua. Sulawesi has an odd form with 4 ‘arms’ or peninsulas extending from the physique of the island. The Togian islands are positioned within the  Gulf of Tomini between the northern Minahasa and East peninsulas.

Attending to the Togean Islands.

The Togean islands in Central Sulawesi can solely be reached by boat, from the north the islands may be accessed from Gorontalo and from the south from Ampana.

From Gorontalo – Fly from Makassar to Gorontalo, take an in a single day gradual boat to Wakai, the Tuna Tomini operates twice per week, it’s a 12 hr ferry journey

From Ampana – fly to Ampana – Wings Air/Lion Air fly to Palu and from Palu to Ampana on a regular basis from any main metropolis in Indonesia. Sadly it’s a must to e-book two separate flights, however it may be performed on the identical day. The best method to attain the islands is with a day by day public velocity boat. Velocity Boats leaves from Ampana to Wakai everymorning. you will get of in Bomba. A day by day public ferry leaves to Wakai (5 hrs) or Bomba (2.5 hrs).

From Wakai, you will get to virtually every other island in Togeans by public or non-public boats. Most resorts will decide up company instantly from the harbor 

I traveled overland from south Sulawesi to Ampana and by Ferry to Wakai, from right here by boat to Kadidiri. From Kadidiri I traveled by ferry to Gorontalo in north Sulawesi and continued to Makasar from the place I went to dive Lembeh Strait and Bunaken.

To go to Mariona Lake and Pulao Papan simply ask the workers at Black Marlin  they helped us to discover a native skipper to take us.

Which Togean Island to go to..

The three largest islands within the Togeans are Batudaka, Togean and Una Una, most individuals arrive on the port of Wakai on Batudaka island. The primary islands have have good lodging and services, however the hidden treasures are on the pristine little tropical islands unfold out within the gulf of Tomini.

the togian islands map stingy nomads

Kadidiri

Kadidiri is touristy by Togian requirements and is likely one of the small islands with probably the most resorts. I stayed in Black Marlin lodge right here, there have been a handful of different company, it was nice to fulfill different folks. It was removed from busy or touristy. Having those that know the realm and services right here made it straightforward to prepare extra adventures from Kadidiri. Diving was good, with pristine reefs in crystal clear water. We organised native outrigger canoe/boats to take us to surrounding islands and websites the place we spent a few days.

Lodging:

Katupat

For those who actually wish to get away from the world, that is your house. Solely lodging is Fadhila cottages positioned on a small islands off Katupat. There’s a small fisher village Lembanato on Katupat and the jellyfish lake Mariona Lake, is positioned on the island.

Malenge

Malenge Island is an actual off the crushed observe paradise, it includes of two little islands – Papan and Kakoda Islands, linked by a 1800 m lengthy, picket, overwater path. Snorkeling was good from Malenge,

Lodging: Sifa Dive Resort

Togean Islands Arriving at Pulau Papan after a long drive by local boat.
Togian Islands Arriving at Pulau Papan after an extended drive by native boat.

Pulau Papan

This small Bajo group linked to Malenge Island by an extended picket bridge was nice to see how these nomadic see gypsies dwell, nonetheless doing compressor diving and spearfishing with conventional gear. We requested round and stayed with a number of the native folks, it was an amazing expertise they cooked rice for us and a number of the fish we speared. I consider there are actually a number of guesthouses on the island.

Una Una

Una Una is a stupendous volcanic island with black volcanic sand, coconut palm bushes lining emerald waters on black seashores. Diving is nice with massive faculties of barracudas and horse eye jacks, pristine wholesome coral reef, turtles, rays and reef sharks. It’s positioned fairly removed from the opposite islands.

Lodging – Pristine Paradise Dive Resort Una Una

Diving within the Togian islands

Diving situations was implausible on my dives with 30 m plus visibility and 31C water temperature. Within the middle of the Gulf of Tomini this is called the calmest bay on this planet and I skilled nice situations diving right here.

Diving from Kadidiri – dramatic drop offs, lovely pinnacles and canyons with pristine reef and exquisite marine life resembling moray eels, turtles, faculties of barracuda and fascinating nudibranches. The reefs right here is claimed to host 314 species of corals, 541 species of mollusc & 819 species of tropical fish. Close to the mangroves dive masters advised me they’ve seen dugongs, sadly we weren’t so fortunate!

Diving on the wreck of a B24 Bomber airplane about an hour boat journey from Kadidiri was an fascinating dive. The airplane was a part of an American bomb squadron that crash landed throughout WWII.After we dived on the wreck the visibility across the airplane wreck was not so good as we had on the reefs, it was lower than 10 meters. You possibly can penetrate the primary cabin and there have been fish, nudis and tender corals across the wreck.

The B42 Bomber wreck from WWII was an interesting dive.
The B42 Bomber wreck from WWII was an fascinating dive.

Diving from Una Una – superior diving, greater than 30 dive websites with reef lined in large followers and exquisite coral with marine life starting from pelagic species like rays and reef sharks, big faculties of fish, barracudas, jack fish to good macro diving with frogfishes, seahorses, leafy scorpionfishes and quite a lot of nudibranches.

I had a good time right here, nevertheless it takes effort and time to get to the Togean islands. Touring just for Scuba diving, I might quite go to Lembeh, Komodo or Raja Ampat. Try our article on all of the Finest Diving in Indonesia.

Interesting sea slug on coral growing on the B42 Bomber wreck.
Fascinating sea slug on coral rising on the B42 Bomber wreck. Dive Togean Islands

Dive Season within the Togian Islands

The Togian Islands may be dive all yr spherical, however March to December is seen as one of the best time to dive right here. That is the dry season making diving extra nice, however visibility and situations is nice for diving all seasons.

Liveaboard diving across the Togian Islands

The Togian Islands is troublesome to entry and the proper spot for an off the grid liveaboard expertise. There are 4 fashionable liveaboards that function across the Togians.

The Sunshine

KLM Sunshine is a 30m intimate, luxurious liveaboard with double cabins outfitted with non-public rest room. Working across the pristine waters of Indonesia, residence to a thriving ecosystem of over 600 species of coral and 3000 species of fish.Diving facilities embody a spacious dive deck, rinse tanks, dive station, Nitrox and dive guides.

  • from US$ 179 / day
  • Connoisseur restaurant onboard, serving scrumptious meals
  • a big solar deck with snug seating
  • Try the KLM Sunshine

Swim at Mariona lake with the non-stinging jellyfish

Mariona Lake on Katupat, near the primary Togean island is one in every of 7 ‘jellyfish lakes’ on this planet. The well-known jellyfish lake in Palau was at all times on my bucket record, so I used to be tremendous exited once I came upon there was an identical lake within the Togians. On this uncommon lake jelly fish misplaced the power to sting over tens of millions of years of geographic isolation. Swimming with 1000’s of innocent jellies was lovely and an unreal expertise. To get to Mariona Lake ask at your visitor home for a ship contact, we have been three associates that shared a neighborhood boat and it didn’t value an arm and a leg. The existence of this particular jellyfish lake isn’t very well-known, we have been the one folks posing for selfies with the superior jellyfish once we have been there.

Swimming between thousands of harmless jelly fish was an unreal experience!
Swimming between 1000’s of innocent jelly fish was an unreal expertise!

Staying with a neighborhood Bajo household

I’ve been fascinated by the Bajo folks of Indonesia and the Philippines ever since watching the documentary Human Planet. The digital camera crew follows the lives of those Sea Gypsies dwelling a nomadic life on the ocean. The documentary reveals the superb potential the Bajo spearfishermen need to hunt underwater with very primitive gear and the way fishing is completed in these elements by compressor diving. We have been privileged to remain within the Bajo settlement Pulao Papan within the Togean islands and have the chance to fulfill a few of these distinctive folks.

We paid a neighborhood boat proprietor at Kadidiri to take myself and a pair of associates to Pulao Papan the place he spoke to some native folks and arranged for us to remain in one of many homes on the water with a neighborhood household. The city doesn’t get many international guests and the children have been fascinated by us, following us all over the place.

A number of the native fisherman have been fishing by doing ‘compressor diving’. They dive with a floor provide of air coming from a compressor on a ship and lay out an enormous internet on the ocean backside, just like how business divers work underwater. Whereas diving they chase all of the fish on the reef into the online and pull the online into the boat. It is a harmful follow primarily due to the chance of decompression illness and may be very dangerous to the reef and marine life.

The toilet in the house we stayed in, we went diving in front of the house!
The bathroom in the home we stayed in, we went diving in entrance of the home!

We had a selection between going compressor diving with them or to go spearfishing with their native skilled one morning and opted to go spearfishing.

Diving with the Bajo folks “sea gypsies”

The Bajo folks do free dive spearfishing so they don’t use Scuba gear, they do that with out fins and a few of them nonetheless use conventional gear they make themselves, picket goggles and hand-crafted spearguns.

I do loads of free dive spearfishing at residence in South Africa and was very exited to go spearfishing with an skilled utilizing these conventional strategies.

I attempted utilizing the genuine bajo goggles, a picket body fitted with a glass lens. It was troublesome to see with the goggles leaking, I consider loads of the bajo divers use trendy masks these days, they have been nonetheless diving barefoot, not utilizing fins actually makes it quite a bit tougher to dive deep.

Local wooden masks
Native picket masks

Sporting no fins with a gun in a single handcrafted it troublesome to dive deep. I managed to dive to 17m, however I may positively not attain the depths Subin did on the documentary!

Evan managing a decent dive wearing only local gear.
Evan managing an honest dive carrying solely native gear.

Diving with the native hand-crafted weapons, these spearos are restricted to focus on smaller fish. The weapons are simply not sturdy sufficient to shoot greater recreation fish.

The weapons are powered by a few rubbers lower from automobile interior tubes. To extend the gap they’ll shoot, a number of the weapons are very massive with barrels as much as 2m lengthy.

I consider spearfishing is a really selective and environmental pleasant manner of fishing and didn’t shoot loads of fish, since I used to be not eager to shoot small reef fish.

The local champion hunting the traditional way.
The native champion searching the normal manner.

There have been a few good dimension blue fin trevally searching within the shallows. These recreation fish have been nonetheless very skittish once we bought within the water. Approaching them with stealth was not very profitable with out carrying fins. We may thus by no means get shut sufficient to spear them and the weak automobile tube powered spearguns weren’t highly effective sufficient to attempt to hunt these greater fish.

In the village Palau Papan
Within the village Palau Papan

Mariona Lake and Pulao Papan have been magic and is a little bit of a mission to get to. Experiencing these place is unquestionably definitely worth the effort if you happen to journey to the north of Sulawesi.

Hike up at UnaUna volcano

An superior day hike via the gorgeous jungle up the volcano and into the crater. Set up a information at your lodge. Contained in the crater you possibly can go for a swime and see indicators of volcanic exercise; boiling water, steam and sulfur. The hike takes about 5 hours.

Extra Sulawesi adventures!

  • Heading North. – Funeral ceremonies, hanging graves, espresso farms and a loopy bus chase in Tana Touraja.
  • South Sulawesi. – Not  well-known because the north, however Pantai Bira has loads of potential. We did some good dives within the space.
  • North Sulawesi. – Diving the well-known partitions of Bunaken and the magical creatres of Lembeh Strait. One take a look at our pictures and you’ll perceive why this place is a photographer’s dream!

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