What do we need after 3 intense weeks in Kalimantan? A place to rest, enjoy and socialize. We hoped to find this on Sulawesi a crazy shaped island in Indonesia. We are arriving in the small village called Bira after about 6 hours of Indonesian style driving in a shared taxi. We are excited to see the white sand beach. But what a first impression! The beach is covered with small shops, a lot of plastic and rubbish. We look at each other and think how fast can we leave this place. But then we walk a bit further on the beach and realize that at low tide we can walk for about 3 km and find nice spots all to ourselves, there is shade and at the far end they even left the palm trees standing. Definitely not so bad after all. Actually at second sight it becomes a dream beach.
Soon we get to know all the other travellers and many locals in the small village and we really enjoy the company. At the weekends it gets crowded when the locals from Makassar spend their time here. For reasons we haven’t really figured out everyone wants to take a picture with the western tourists. I guess it is payback time for us western tourists who often want to take pictures of locals.
Bira also offers some great diving which we explore after a couple of days of rest. During my first dive here I dive deeper than 30 metres for the first time. At a depth of 39 metres it is darker, I cannot see the surface. My thoughts start to trail away to what would happen if I don’t feel well as there is no way to go up quickly without serious consequences. But once I have adjusted I can enjoy the sea snake, white tip sharks, napoleon fish and other great sights. Theo makes sure that I do the extra stops that his computer tells him to do as we go into decompression mode.
There is a second dive school run by a German called Elvis to which we change after a couple of dives. He has a resort built a bit like a castle 3 km away from the village right on the nicest part of the beach. He also built a small open air tower with a good view of the beach. When we are there to talk to him he says that we need to go and have a look a the tower. Then he says that he has had guests that wanted to sleep in the open air platform of the tower. All of these guests came from Switzerland. When we see the tower we look at each other and think we should continue that tradition. Elvis provides us with thin mattraces, we bring our moscito net and we have a romantic place to stay.
Initially we only intended to stay in Bira a couple of days. But we like it so much that we don’t want to leave. After almost 2 weeks in a guesthouse with friendly owners we change for the tower instead of leaving for a new place. We have a nice beach, good diving, decent food and interesting people to meet. There is a luxus resort with an infinity pool that we found out we are allowed to use if we buy something in the restaurant. Another nice treat in this fisher village. What else do we need?