Next we travelled to Banda Aceh, the Northern tip of Sumatra and took a ferry to Pulau Weh (Weh Island).
Pulau Weh is a small tropical island recommended for its snorkeling and diving. We stayed in a beach side hut in a quiet cove with considerable tidal movements. Snorkelling here was only permitable at high tide which allowed access the to coral reef.
On the first day we mostly ate at Bixio’s, but we did also explore the nearby beaches. We ate at Bixio’s Italian restaurant quite a lot here, it was the only restaurant close-by and it served lots of tasty pasta dishes.
In the evening outside our beach hut we met a local and a dive instructor and all watched the flying foxes flap up and down the tree lined valley. I love their distinctive shape. The local told us that 10 years ago they would see many large mammals such as manta rays, sharks, whales and dolphins but thinks that the water is too warm nowadays, approx 29°C. It’s clear that the climate is changing.
On our second day we went down to Iboih beach for lunch and then over to Gapang beach to find out about the diving in the area. We stopped at Bubble Addict and spoke to Raphael who we had met the night before at our accommodation. We snorkelled for an hour around the coral a Gapang. Despite all the coral dying there are still quite a few fish….but nothing like the numbers they used to have unfortunately. Towards the end of our snorkel it got stormy and the sea became rough, making it tough for us to get back into shore. Once on land, Beth and I sheltered from the rain in one of the local restaurants and shared a huge banana pancake.
The next day we had two dives at the Rubiah sea garden and Limbo with dive instructor Agi. It was the first time we had dived in a drift, it was quite strong, and was a good new diving challenge for us. Early on our first dive we saw a mobula Ray gracefully ascend the coral cliff and flap off into the distance so smoothly just like a bird. It was fabulous but too quick to get any photos unfortunately. We also saw a blue spotted stingray, Moreish idol, surgeon fish, trevally, pipe fish, lionfish, scorpion fish, moray eel, shrimps, parrot fish, fusiliers and snappers.
That evening we decided to eat somewhere different so went to Iboih beach. The food took over an hour to arrive and it was very disappointing when it did.
The following day we had one dive in the morning and only zig zagged up and down the coral wall of Seulako Barat because the drift at the edges of the island were too strong. In the afternoon we explored the west coast of Weh and found a beautiful golden sandy beach called ‘Secret Beach’ and there was a large abandoned Japanese ship beached against some rocks about a kilometre away in the next bay . We did a bit of snorkelling around an islet and then sunbathed.
On our last full day on Weh we decided to explore the rest of the island. It was disastrous! The weight I put on caused us to have a flat tyre. We borrowed a pump of a local but the air had all escaped by the time we got to the nearest garage, which luckily was only half a km away. It was a good chance to meet some locals and the fix only cost £1, bargain! We then drove to the Japanese bunker which was particularly dull and then when traversing the mountain path we had another puncture. I ended up pushing the bike for 5km in the early afternoon heat but at least it provided some amusement for the locals. We had another £1 fix, but this time it did work! We were entertained by a two year old thinking he was cool when he put on his glasses and began singing and dancing. Everyone was in stitches. We gave him a round of applause which he seemed a bit unsure of to begin with but then seemed to like it. It was so funny.
After our bike troubles we stayed closer to our base, went back to Bixio’s for lunch then hung out at the secret beach for the afternoon before heading up to 0km point for sunset.