DAY 83: Pulau Weh: the giant moray and my tiny friend

Hello guys,

so I left Bukit Lawang and headed to the next town on the main road in Sumatra that would take us north, In this bus I met a sumatran magician who as we couldn’t communicate he just spent all the time doing for my entertainment magic tricks with a coin. People here are very nice if you can  stand being  24 hours prosecuted by hordes of locals sticking their smily faces without teeth at 5 cm from yours asking you Mister! Where are you going???? How are you??? I love you Mister!!!! It sometimes gets really tiresome…you just want a little bit of silence…other times you just burst into a demented laughter as you can’t keep handling it, it is too much when you don’t understand what they are telling you but they keep on smiling, people keep coming around you, and you are tired….

So the local bus dropped  us in the middle of bin jai,I got no fucking idea why he didn’t left us in the bus station, so we had to walk around 2km to the bus station in order to take the bus north to the top end of sumatra, radical islamic banda aceh,  jesus, I think they had never seen a tourist in their lives here, Gareth and myself where feeling like the flautist of Hamelin, with a dozen kids just following behind, all the taxi drivers trying to stop us and giving us a ride, everybody in the streets looking at us like if we were aliens, every single shop tender trying to talk with us…it was like being a vampire killer, you had to hold your crucifix before them and say retreat!  let me pass!

Well, once at the bus station at Binjai another night bus for 12 hours, what we finally called the bus of the living dead as that is what we were when we arrived, crappy bus of course, you can smoke in the buses here though, karaoke of course until midnight, and again they blast the speakers at around half past five in the morning, I think it was the favourite karaoke electro indo folk song of the driver,  which of course made me wake up in a very bad mood. The smell of the ton of onions we were carrying in the bus lasted on me for the next following days.

When we arrived at Banda Aceh, again, there was a horde of people waiting for us at the bus station, around 30 guys wanting to take us somewhere on their tuk tuks, labu labus, cars etc….so we took a tuk tuk to the harbour and from there to Pulau weh, an island in the north which the lonely planet said it was awesome.

When we arrived, we were very disappointed, we went to gapang, it was a very small little village with almost no beach, only a bunch of families living there offering really crappy accommodation and a dive center. We managed to find a very nice room just in front of the beach,with a  huge terrace where we were able to see the sunrise in the morning… expensive though but as we were sharing ok.

The problem with those tiny small villages is that they grow in you, the peace, the silence, the sunrise, the not too much to do, the simple life of those families, it sticks to you and at the end you feel like if you are in paradise, no matter the beach is small it was just your beach, and this was your village, in the mornings I woke up at half past six to take some pics of the sunrise, and in half a minute I was surrounded by a pack of dogs, I was the leader of the pack, sunrise in front of me, my 6 dogs around me, barefoot, chest nude, only wearing my fisherman pants…the feeling of calm around you.

Besides, this is a diving paradise. I had till the moment the best time in my travels diving over here, I saw two  huge giant morays, one as big as myself, the head of the size of my head. face to face very close…looking to each other straight in the eye…the places to dive here are just fantastic guys,go to lumba lumba dive center.  100 percent recommended. This is not like Koh tao or Ko phi phi, this is serious stuff guys!!!

I had a couple of magic moments in this place, memories of sensations I will carry with me,like the green leaf viper that fall on top of gareth from a tree.this was scary as it we were having a siesta under the shade of a tree when it just fell on the legs of the giant morays.

And as the tiny little friend I made in the water one day: one afternoon snorkelling around the small beach of gapang, I saw a turtle and I started swimming with her, diving by her side for a while. I continued after by myself looking around for other nice fishes around, and a little later my friend Garreth comes in the water and when he sees me he tells me: “have you seen what you got in front of your neck?” When I look I see a slimy black thing  stuck to my neck, and I can’t help it, I grab it with my hands in a state of panic, and I through it away, but it comes back, it is moving back to me, and then I see it is a sweet tiny fish, a Remora they are called, or pilot fish, they live close to other big fishes (turtles as well) they eat the food the big fish doesn’t want and they clean the big fish, it is a short of a symbiotic relationship. And guys, this was incredible, I kept on swimming for another hour with this little fish at my side, taking away my parasites, swimming just all the time in my chest, and under my axe, it was like a little pet, he would even let me touch it and pass my hand over him. So cute, so lovely!!!When I left the water he was with me till the end, hanging around my right foot, until I was completely out of the water: I  told him “I have to leave my friend, we belong to different worlds”.

4 days ago I left this island, and when I was leaving with the ferry, with my sight lost in the horizon, a dolphin jumped in front of me, a huge jump, and a couple of seconds later, a dozen more jumped again all together at the same time, it was like if they would be telling me good bye jose, and I said to myself, I will see you again!

5 responses


    Hola Jose,

    09.05.2010, 15h 45 m, desde Getxo

    Acabamos de oir por la tele que en Sumatra ha habido un terremoto de escala 7,5 Richter… y nos recuerdan que aquí se produjo el gran sunami.

    ¿ Puedes enviarnos un email confirmando que todo está ok ?

    Un brazo,

    09/05/2010 at 2:47 pm

    • hola papa todo bien!!

      ahora estoy lejos de la zona, me he ido al lago toba, precioso…

      un beso muy grande, no he podido responder hasta ahora


      11/05/2010 at 3:07 pm

  2. Silvia Titus Herrera

    Oye…pero que dramatico eres para escribir!!!! “I have to leave my friend, we belong to different worlds”. jajajajaja

    De veras…parece que estuviera leyendo una novela.

    Me alegro que te la sigas pasando super chevere! aca todo esta same old – same old. No te pierdes de nada! Asi que quedate por aquellos lugares!

    Un abrazo!


    11/05/2010 at 2:45 pm

    • hola Silvia!

      gracias por los animos, no tengo muchas intenciones de volver por el momento, a ver cuanto me dura la pasta

      un beso, y perdoname los dramatismo, es que de vez en cuando me pongo romantico


      11/05/2010 at 3:09 pm

  3. mariana from mexico

    jajajaja! you made me laught with your words pepito!! i”m happy you have experienced such a magic and rewarding experiences!! =) keep going boy!

    31/10/2010 at 6:15 pm

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