Finally settled into my research site.....Wakatobi National Park in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia.
After 5 years of reading about the pristine diving here in Wakatobi, I am surprised to find it quite under developed for tourism. Accessibility is quite limited because there's only 3 flights per day and a ferries take longer than 5 hours, sometimes 12 hours....
Unless, you're ultra rich and can afford $300 USD/night at the Wakatobi Dive Resort, which has it's own airport. Let's be clear.... I am not quite there yet, but I'm working on it.
7 months into the Fulbright research and I finally made it to the research site. For those who have done research, it's the typical Murphy's law situation: waiting 2 months for research permits, serious miscommunications with my research partner, flight delays, scheduling conflicts, etc. It's also taking me a lot longer than I realize to get settled into the place and figure out my life.
This is my 4th move since I arrived in Indonesia and Wakatobi is drastically different than the previous places. There's no ride hailing apps, not a lot of good places to eat, and no coffee shops with wifi & ac. True paradise?
PARADISE INDEED. I am getting so much experience DIVING NEARLY EVERYDAY. Going to the same site never gets boring. I see something new everyday: snakes, two of my favorite fish, and hundreds of different types of coral. The coral reef's sheer size is always shocking because it makes me feel so small.
Once I figure out the WIFI situation, I will be posting more stories. I want to write about:
1. travel blogs that showcased Wakatobi and sponsored trips by #wonderfulindonesia that were distasteful. It was shocking to see sponsored trips and blog that did not even go into detail or just wrote about how grateful they are now that they've visited people who were poor and happy. *eye roll*
2. Tourism plans for Wakatobi
3. Tourist who are scuba divers, but not conservationalist. For example: trash in the ocean, touching coral, holding on to coral for pictures, etc.
4. Meeting locals and listening to their stories/opinions about what they want their island to become.