. To refresh after the cave, our guides climbed palm trees and got fresh coconuts for us. We only stayed two nights in Melenge unfortunately but anyone going near there should definately stop for at minimum three days. The owner, Rudi was very nice and the food was excellent. From Melenge, we caught a boat at 6am for Wakai, which took about four hours. In Wakai, the five of us chartered a boat for Bomba to visit Island Retreat, a resort run by a woman from California and reccommended to us. This place turned out to be a disapointment after Melenge. The prices were much higher, the beach not as good and the staff much less friendly. On the plus side, western food was featured on the menu and it was good and plentiful. Still, my vote would be to avoid Island Retreat if I had another trip in the Togeans. We chartered another boat after four nights in Bomba and headed back north to Kadidiri, to spend the rest of our time in the Togeans at Kadidiri Paradise. This was a very nice spot. Friendly people, both staff and guests, nice accomodations and good food (just never enough). There was very good snorkeling from the beach and a nice pier with a hut and a hammock at the end in which I spent many hours just staring out to sea. Saw lots of dolphins and went of some good snorkeling trips by boat. On my last snorkel, I saw a big barracuda which was cool. An interesting part of our stay on Kadidiri was the number of Eastern Europeans there. There were two Estonians, Three Slovenians, and a Romanian
. All very nice people. We stayed three nights in Kadidiri and then had to catch the ferry back to Gorotalo since it only comes once a week and I have to be in Manado on Friday. This time, we caught the newer, steel ferry which was much nice to travel on. It makes no stops and has an open top deck where you can sleep under the stars. We saw an amazing moon rise that was as dark red as the sun can be when it comes up sometimes. The ferry ride was improved by Arak, a liquor made in Indonesia and sold by the plastic bag. It tastes awful but has a nice mellowing affect on the mind. So we returned to Gorontalo this morning at six and have checked back into the Melati Hotel and had some delicious Suluwesi Coffee and pastries. Now we're reconnecting to the outside world via Internet and planning our remaining days before we part ways. I'll try to put some pics up soon but, the Internet is so slow here, it's not worth the time.
We caught a ferry from Gorontalo about a week and a half ago, destination: the Togean Islands. They're an island chain south of the Gorontalo and it's about a 13 hour ferry ride to reach them. Our boat going south was a dilapidated wooden ferry that had seen better days. It was crowded and hot but not the worst night ever. Of course, a little vodka and beer do wonders for sleeping in uncomfortable places. On the ferry, we met a Dutch couple and a Swiss guy that we ended up traveling with for a little bit. Our first stop was the island Melenge where we stayed at the Losman Hostel. This place was pretty much the ideal of a beautiful tropical island. Three rustic bungalows, some hammocks, and a breathtaking beach with blue-green water that was perfect for snorkeling. There was a Baja (sea gypsy) village in the lagoon that we visited. Also, we hiked into the jungle at night to see giant coconut crabs and went for a day hike into a bat cave. The bat cave was really hot and the ground was thick with guano. The roar made by the thousands of bat's wings sounded like a train