There is a magical place off the northern tip of Sumatra. An island the locals mainly call “Sabang” and known as “Pulau Weh” among tourists. The vulcanic island covers an area of 156,3 qm within the Andaman Sea and is well known for its underwater ecosystem and rich diversity of fishes. So people mainly come here for snorkelling and diving. Our plans for Indonesia also include improving our diving skills and we decide to check out the spots around Pulau Weh.
Since we arrived on Sumatra the weather conditions changed. It’s raining a lot. Not just that kind of gentle rain. It’s raining cats and dogs for hours. We are not sure if this is the best time to go to the island but nevertheless we take the ferry, that starts north of Banda Aceh. Only a few moments after arriving on the island we know that even bad weather cannot destroy that magnificent place. Pulau Weh is beautiful, people are nice and welcoming, the atmosphere is quite relaxed and the number of foreigners is manageable. Even a lost screw on the motorbike rikscha on the way to Ipoh village cannot scare us anymore and we spend the time waiting until the bike is fixed with eating delicious papaya. Beach huts are the usual accommodation style and we find a cheap basic option with nice view and hammock on the balcony. Rain seems to calm down and we finish the day with some relaxed hours after organizing diving for the next day’s afternoon.
No need to hurry the next morning. It’s Friday, an important praying day for the Muslim people, and all activities don’t start before afternoon. We meet with our dive instructor at the dive school around 2:30 and just a few minutes later we are already on the boat to the spot. A short explanation and…. ready for descent! 50 minutes, 25 meters depth, flying in the currents along corals in between colourful fishes. Even a shark is passing by but neither Sven nor I are fast enough to see it. But this doesn’t matter, there are morays, gigantic fishes and even a colour changing octopus. Absolutely great!
The next day starts early. We spontaneously decided to go on a dolphin tour. On Pulau Weh this means a local guy hires a boat, picks up some people and follows the fisherman. I cannot hide my excitement after the first dolphins pass the boat. It’s not just one or two, it’s fifty or maybe one hundred of these wonderful creatures. One after the other we put on snorkel and googles, grab a rope and go into the water next to the boat. We have to hold it tight, because the boat is still following the dolphins. Putting your head under water you can see and even hear them singing. What an awesome experience, unforgettable.
After around two hours our boat stops for breakfast with delicious fresh fruits and some chatting. Next stop is the underwater volcano for some snorkelling and then it’s already lunchtime. Our guide bought two big tunas directly from one of the fisher boats. It’s late afternoon when we return to the village.
For the last day we planned to go for another dive, but Sven got problems after the first one. His sinuses are locked and he does have significant headache. So, unfortunately no diving today! …but therefore we have time for just enjoying the island’s beauty before we leave the next day.
After three days we are quite sure, Pulau Weh with its nature and lovely people has been the most beautiful island we visited so far!
Before we head on into Sumatra’s jungle we do a short stopover in Lhok Gna, a small beach town close to Banda Aceh and famous for its surf and kitesurf spots. Seven wants do take the opportunity to spend a day with kitesurfing. There is not so much to do for me and I’m really not the one laying at the beach for hours, so I just stay at our homestay doing some research and reading. Seven has a great day on the water and so I’m happy too. After just two nights we leave again for another long busride.
Video of the Dolphins