Jul 7, 2011
|Bunaken Island & Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia - March 23-26
By the time we got to Bunaken, we were both miserable. We were at the point of just sitting in our room, staring at each other with pain-induced glazes over our eyes, banging our heads against the wall, and popping Advil like they were skittles. We knew we'd need to sit out the dives that first day, but we really thought that the pain in our ears would subside enough to go the next day. We were wrong.
Even though the Two Fish Resort on Bunaken is bigger and more developed than the one on Lembeh - it even has an real bar, and a nice, loungey area to hang out in! - we felt so lousy we could not have cared less. What made everything even worse was that, unlike in Lembeh, we had no friends. Almost all the other rooms were occupied by a big, dull diving club from the UK. I'm sure they were lovely people, but they were so cliquey we had no chance at being talked to let alone invited to hang out in the evening.
The entire island is actually bigger and more developed than Lembeh, with other dive resorts and a even a small village. We tried to make the most of our time by taking a walk into town, which was quaint and picturesque with cute huts and friendly locals, but we just couldn't force ourselves to enjoy it.
Added to all of this, the weather was just awful. I'm not sure if this made the situation worse or if, in a way, it actually helped. Cold, rainy weather is certainly depressing; at the same time it was somewhat comforting to know that we weren't missing any amazing conditions out in the water. I'm sure the boat rides and surface intervals in the pouring rain were fairly unpleasant. I'm also sure we would not have been able to fully appreciate the true brilliance of the corals due to the lack of sunlight penetrating the water's surface. (Not that that would have stopped us from going under normal, non-ear infection circumstances!)
Anyway, brilliant or not, we weren't going to be experiencing any of the underwater wonders the island of Bunaken had to offer. By midday on the second day of intense pain, we made the decision that we needed to get to a doctor. Of course, being on a small, remote Indonesian island, our only option was to get the boat back to the mainland and see Two Fish's recommended physician in Manado, which we would have to wait to do until the next afternoon.
The owners were awesome... incredibly helpful and understanding. Even though we had booked a specific amount of time to be at the resort and a specific amount of dives to complete, they only charged us for what we were able to do. They booked us a cheap hotel in Manado for the night, and even helped us change our flight to get out of Sulawesi early - we were so miserable and so frustrated at having missed out on a great diving opportunity, we were just ready to move on. We knew that even if we saw the doctor and he got us on some great meds, we wouldn't be able to get back in the water for at least a week, so there was no point in sticking around. Our chauffeur to Manado was amazing too - I wish I remembered his name! He took us to the doctor's office, translated for us while we got registered with the nurse, and then waited with us (for over two hours!) until we were seen by the doc. Afterwards, he drove us to the hotel and helped us get checked in.
We began to feel better immediately. I think it was partly because that's just how things go - you know when you're really sick, and you go to the doctor, and by the time you get there, your symptoms are way better and you're like 'seriously??' - and also because he gave us an incredibly strong antibiotic, as well as ear drops, as well as a pain reliever.
We spent one night in Manado, which actually turned out to be a lovely city. The hotel we stayed at was fantastic - it was built up a hillside, with cute cottages all along the way. At the very top of the hill, overlooking the entire city, was a huge colonial-looking (and very out of place) white, columned, mansion. Next to that was a beautiful pool and jacuzzi. It's a shame that we still didn't feel great, and that we were there less than 24 hours, because we didn't really get a chance to enjoy it.
We didn't feel too bad about it though, 'cause we knew that the next morning, we would be on our way to Bali!