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A day in Pulau Weh...
day: woken up at dawn by a monkey jumping up and down on your cottage. Pre-breakfast snorkel -- the water being only a few meters from your hut. Truly incredible coral, wash off at the well, then breakfast and lying in the sun for a while, hanging out with other travellers. After lunch,
some kind of activity: a boat trip, scuba diving, a cruise around the island, visit a little volcano, a waterfall and a cave complex inhabited
by birds, bats and snakes in Ukong Murong, adjacent to Iboih. The cave complex can only be reached by boat, during the dry season. Maybe check
out the WWII guns and bunkers. At night, the beach would convene for a big communal dinner, followed by drinking and locals playing their guitars.
Diver's Tales aims to bring you the extraordinary in dive spots around the world. Experience the special, the mystical off-the-beaten-path places not
yet known to everyone. Enjoy!
Our Diver's Tale this month... Pulau Weh, Indonesia*
* It is not advisable to go to Pulau Weh at the moment.
There are a lot of problems in the area. The government will probably
not even let you through (January, 2004).
Pulau Weh It's the kind of place where you slip into a groove, and time
losesits meaning. The island of Weh, off the very Northernmost tip of
Sumatra, provides the quintessential tropical paradise experience. It's
not for the weak or the faint of heart. If you need such cushy conveniences
as private bathrooms, hot showers, or electricity, then don't even think
about Pulau Weh. (And forget about airports and air-con.) But if the idea
of an unspoiled, secluded, palm tree-covered white sand island, with a
coral reef that makes Australia's Great Barrier Reef look like Lake Michigan,
sounds attractive, then you just might like Pulau Weh.
Dive Sites of Pulau Weh
Pulau Weh is located at the north western tip of Sumatra, Indonesia. The nearest city to pulau Weh is Banda-Aceh, on mainland Sumatra. Medan, the capital city of Sumatra, is located 600 km south-east of Banda-Aceh. Sabang is the only town on pulau Weh but most visitors stay at Ibioh village or Gapang bay. The Rubiah sea garden is located about 350 meters from Ibioh. On and around the island are two protected areas: Pulau Weh Marine Park (2,600 ha) and Iboih Recreation Park (1,300 ha).
The dive shops and schools here, numbering only about 3, are well run and reliable. Most trips go out with 1 rescue-trained guide per 2 to
3 divers, as well as a PADI certified local divemaster.The mild yet fickle currents of Pulau Weh, which draw the big plankton feeders and
fan the soft corals, are suitable for beginner divers who heed the expert advice of local guides. Most sites are reachable by boat within 30mins
from Ibioh, a thoroughly pleasant fishing village.
Lumba-Lumba Diving Centre, PO Box 65, Sabang, Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, Tel/Fax: +(62-811) 682187 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rubiah Tirta Divers, Ibioh, Pulau Weh, Aceh, Sumatra,
Indonesia, Tel: +(62-652) 21265, Fax: +(62-652) 21333
Stingray Dive Shops, Sabang and Gapang Beach, P.O. Box 42, Sabang, Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, Tel: +(62-652) 21265, Fax: +(62-652) 21333
Ibioh is the more popular place to stay, presumably because of the close proximity of Pulau Rubiah and the sea garden (marine park). Accommodation
at Ibioh consists of simple wooden bungalows and guests have to wash at a well in the middle of the resort. Gapang bay is just a few kilometers
from Ibioh with a small coral reef of its own and a resident hawksbill turtle population. Manta rays also swim into this bay. Accommodation
at Gapang is better than at Ibioh and some bungalows have attached bathrooms
with running water.
Average water temperature is 28°C with some thermoclines. Pulau Weh has generally good weather year round: Dec-Feb sees a bit more rain and cooler temperatures, but is the time when whale sharks are most likely to frequent the area.
Getting to this island is a challenge in itself, and this barrier serves to
keep the place relatively untouched. The first step is to reach the Krueng-Raya harbor 33 km east of Banda-Aceh. From Medan (Belewan port),
a Pelni ship travels every two days to Krueng-Raya. However, very few passengers are using this service so it may be dis-continued. Alternatively,
overnight buses connect Medan (pinang baris bus terminal) to Banda-Aceh. From the central market in Banda-Aceh regular bemos travel to Krueng-Raya (45 minutes).
A ferry runs between Krueng-Raya and Balohan port on pulau Weh. The ferry usually runs once a day, leaving Krueng-Raya at 3pm in the afternoon
and arriving at Balohan about two hours later.
On Mondays, there is an additional ferry trip leaving Krueng-Raya at 9am in the morning.
The voyage can be very choppy so watch out for fellow passengers throwing up. We recommend that you travel AC (air conditioned) class rather than economy class, but hurry when booking your seat since there are only a few seats in AC class. A tourist mini-bus (charging tourist prices)
takes visitors on the one hour journey from Balohan to Gapang and Ibioh via Sabang. There are public mini-buses connecting Balohan and Sabang
but there does not appear to be any public transport to Ibioh and Gapang (for tourists).
Lonely Planet Indonesia:: Online
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