We considered lots of places for our mid-summer family vacation. New Zealand was an option until we remembered July is the dead of winter down there. Bhutan would be amazing, and remains on our short list, but it’s breathtakingly expensive to go there, so we’ll save up and try to get there maybe next year.
In the end, Mommy said she would be happy to go someplace where Daddy could dive a lot and she and Nyan could chillax on the sand and in the pool. So we wound up picking a dive resort on a tiny island in the Celebes Sea, off the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi. It’s called Siladen, and I don’t think we could have chosen a better place.
Getting there was pretty easy, all things considered: a flight to the city of Manado, Indonesia; a 45-minute ride to the coast; and an hour’s ride on a small boat to Siladen island. Some photos from our journeys:
Siladen is a small resort, right on the shore, with a pool, spa, a handful of little chalets, and a nice stretch of beach with some pretty epic views.
The area around the island — which we got to see on multiple boat tours and dive trips — wasn’t bad either.
We had a lot of fun just hanging out at the resort — lounging in a hammock or beach chair; digging in the sand; eating really, really good food; swimming in the pool or the shallow sea; reading.
Also just being silly while sitting at the resort’s little bar area as a tropical downpour hissed in the background:
Did we mention the resort had a pool table? Nyan spent a good amount of time trying to play. One rainy evening, Mommy decided to play too.
It wasn’t all just fun and games though. There was serious business to be done: diving!
Daddy got a new GoPro underwater camera before this trip and spent a good amount of time underwater learning how to use it. Some of his shots weren’t too bad:
This Nemo-esque fish wasn’t too happy that Daddy was encroaching on his anemone.
So Daddy was out on (and under) the water every single day of the trip. One day, Mommy and Nyan decided to join in. They would stay topside and snorkel while Daddy went 60 feet down.
We had a short ride to the dive/snorkel site — another thing to love about this resort: it’s in the midst of a marine park, and there are dozens of amazing dive sites within about a 10 or 15 minute boat trip. Here’s the fam, enjoying the ride.
And here’s Nyan getting his snorkeling gear on. He used a full-face mask rather than a traditional mask-and-snorkel.
In the end, though, the snorkeling wasn’t quite a success. Mommy enjoyed it, but young Nyan was a little freaked out by the waves (it was a little choppy and windy that day), and by being so far from shore, and by not being able to see any coral when he looked down — just sea grass. So he pulled the plug and hung out on the boat while Mommy snorkeled and Daddy dove.
But he still enjoyed himself, he says. And it wound up being a fun family day out on the water.
It was a pretty epic trip all-around, we’d say. Definitely a place we’d recommend, and a place we may very well return one day.