Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It took 2-3 days before I knew I was on vacation. Vacation for me happens when I spend 24 hours without a single “school thought.” Vacation begins for me when I forget what part of the school year is coming up and what things need to get done. Vacation begins when I forget what day of the week it is. We left for vacation on Saturday and I think on Tuesday, I was finally there.
The itinerary was simple enough: fly to an Indonesia island called Sulawesi. Spend four days in a town called Tomohon (volcano climbing and white water rafting) and then four days on a much smaller island called Bunaken, famous for its coral reefs, snorkeling, and diving.
We did all that, as the photos will show. It was a good last memory/good experience with Ben before he heads off to college in September. We did lots of card playing and just hanging out together, too. Particularly on Bunaken Island it was a rich experience at the little beach cottages we rented. There were usually 10-15 guests each night and we all took a common meal together for lunch and dinner. It was fun to listen to their various travel tales and languages spoken around the table. On one night we had 2 girls from Denmark, 1 guy from Italy, 2 from Holland, 1 from Brazil, 3 from France, 1 from England, 1 from Finland, and 2 from Spain.
The snorkeling was as advertised: 200 feet from shore was an enormous coral reef filled with amazing colors and shapes and fish. Visibility in the water must have been 50 feet or more. Sparkling. And warm…at times even hot! Where the reef dropped off from 10 feet to 60 or 70 feet was this wonderful slow current that just carried you along at about 1 mile an hour, drifting and bobbing effortlessly in the water as this incredible underwater scene just moved across your mask like you were watching National Geographic.
And now it’s back to school for the final 7 weeks. Ben has no more classes, only final exams which start in one week. He takes on average one final each day (about 2 hours) for three solid weeks. Each of his courses has 2-3 parts to their final exam…it’s not one single setting for an exam. Looking forward to June 10!

I didn't actually take this picture, but I did see this fish

Saw this one, too

And this is really a screensaver but this is what it was like

Kayla and two of her "new" friends

Great diving spot. Good jumping spot, too.

Ben getting some last-second tips

Our cottages on Bunaken Island

On the trip from the mainland to Bunaken

Halfway point on our rafting trip. Time for a snack

Great rafting in Sulawesi

Just before the big launch

Family photo, April 2011