Today’s ride consisted of a short 58 km ride to lunch and then an even shorter “jet boat” trip to Kadidiri Paradise, located on an island just half a degree off the equator.
After a 6 am breakfast, consisting of village chicken in salted rice porridge with salted fresh pineapple & raw peanut sprinkling, we started the day’s cycle, which turned out to be one of the best so far. On mostly new or good road surfaces, the ride followed the coastline through a series of undulating hills (apart from two significant ones), past lots of coconut palm plantation and rainforest sections. Leaving early was a wise decision as we missed the heat of the day and managed two morning teas before lunch, including the now regular fresh coconut addition.
Along the way, Bev (a Lake Macquarie cyclist) related how she spotted, on a previous trip, what appeared to be a dog not moving. Concerned for its wellbeing (after all her husband, Chris, is a doctor) she stopped. Bev quickly discovered the dog was actually a rock and Barry quipped that it must have been a “rock-weiller”. Amusingly we went through a whole village selling rocks along the side of the road. Mike offered to buy Rayner a few for her to carry as souvenirs, to help slow her down. Rayner has consistently shown form throughout this cycle tour – her 5,000 km of pre-training clearly has benefits – we all envy her cycling prowess.
Finishing the ride there was a delicious welcome lunch at Alices’ new backpacker’s hostel in Ampana, just opposite the boat waiting for us on the beach. Alice also owns a backpackers in town, along with our destination dive resort on the island. With concern that the wind was rising and the sea crossing looking rougher there was a definite sense of urgency. So she quickly had us fed, and our bikes and large bags stored. Army tradition of “hurry up and wait” then applied, leaving us patiently sitting on the boat for half an hour waiting for Colin, whom suddenly decided he needed to go to the bank.
A couple of hours on solid benches in the ‘souped up’ diving boat was well worth it, despite the boat driver appearing to get us lost amongst the mangroves. After welcome drinks and food (the way to our hearts) we very quickly adopted the “head down, bum up” snorkelling position and spent the afternoon floating across coral formations and exotic fish in incredibly clear water, immediately at the front of our rooms. The paradise day finished with a tropical sunset and the usual meal ingredients, beautifully cooked.
Even Billy Gruff (Phil) now sporting a fine goatee, was game to try his skill at snorkelling – it was that good.
Kadidiri resort, is simply stunning. Nether-the-less it appeared to be suffering from the continuous dry currently in Indonesia which meant water rations. To shower we use a “mandi” bucket to pour cold water over ourselves, the same one used to flush the toilet.
Alex tried to organise us to see Togian coconut crabs at night. These rare crabs are the world’s largest, weighing up to 5kg and their large clawed legs can span 90 cm. Not the sort of thing you want to put your hand down a hole to see if one is inside.