Showing posts from November, 2019

Tangkoko National Forest: Tarsiers and Bear Cuscus

Written By Michael (12) Look at those fingers! The tarsier stares straight at me as I back away slowly. Its piercing gaze sends shivers down my spine. Creepy. We are standing next to a hollow tree gazing at a Spectral Tarsier that is staring right back at us. This is one of the two unique mammals we spot living in the trees of Sulawesi’s Tangkoko National Park. The Spectral Tarsier is one of Sulawesi’s endangered species. It looks like a pint-sized monkey with distinctive clawed fingers and enormous eyeballs. Actually, the tarsier has the biggest eye-to-body ratio of all mammals, and it uses those eyes to spot prey in the dark because it is nocturnal. Insects and fruit are main staples in this wacky animal’s diet, but beware, it will also take a bite out of humans! My precious... The other weird animal we saw in Tangkoko is the Bear Cuscus. This mammal looks like an over-sized possum, but has short legs, a long bushy tail, and the face of a cat. There are two kinds o

Lembeh Strait: Diving in the Muck

Written by Elizabeth (14) The wonderful Wunderpus In the muck and mud of the Lembeh Straight live some of the weirdest underwater creatures of Indonesia. The strait is located on the east side of Sulawesi and houses unique frogfish, deadly scorpionfish, vibrant nudibranchs, and much more. People from all over the world come here for the world class diving. Lembeh Strait offers divers the privilege to see strange, alien-like sea creatures that hide on its silty sea floor. Ornate Ghostpipefish hanging and hiding Orangutan Crab  Giant Seahorse The creatures living here are so evolved that you need specialized dive guides to point them out. Crabs are bright red, which may make you wonder how they camouflage, but their thin shape helps them imitate twigs covered in red algae. Frogfish are shaped like blobs of spongy material. They use lures (like the anglerfish) to attract fish into their reach and then gobble them up. Flamboyant cuttlefish look like stones, until

Manado, Sulawesi: Culture Shock and KFC

Sailing from a remote atoll into a bustling city                                                          Our last anchorage was in a remote atoll called Maratua Island.  Sure, we could rent a scooter for 200,000 rupiah and zoom around the newly-paved road (singular), but there was not one produce stand to be found, and our rations quickly dwindled.  No grocery store, no central market, not even a woman selling bananas from a stall in front of her house.  I guessed that private gardens provided just enough food for the family, with none left to sell.  Finally, though, I was relieved to find a woman with a shop set up beside her home selling mostly packaged goods. Here, I spotted a stack of eggs in cardboard trays on the floor in the corner.  Eggs!  Breakfast was saved! In the end, we had plenty of produce to last us during our ten days there, but the lack of any fresh market or even streetside stall had me counting my carrots carefully and checking my tomatoes daily for any

Maratua Atoll, Indonesia: A Wedding, Jellies, and First Days of School

Maratua Atoll  East coast of Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan) September 2019 This place is absolutely breathtaking in its white sand spits, turquoise waters, and the prolific coral reefs crowding the outer walls.  The boats on the Indonesian rally are nearly all here, but soon they will be moving along with the schedule, and we will choose to stay behind and make bigger hops to the places we most want to see.  Elizabeth's cooking lesson:  making pumpkin gnocchi with Noelle Our friends' boat, Illimit√©, beached up on the sand spit! Yesterday we went to swim in a lake full of jellyfish, their gelatinous bells pin-balling between the many tourist bodies.  I loved just finding an isolated area and floating among the pulsating jellies, like some sort of deep meditative experience.   Yes, I wore my wetsuit.  Just to float, certainly not because I was scared of being stung...;) One of the three species of jellyfish swimming with us We have recently