Indonesia, Halmahera Island - Tobelo, Supu, & Doi Island

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Mount Dukono

dominates the landscape of Tobelo on Halmahera Island. It spews ash continuously which makes the soil fertile but fills the air with gritty soot. A local ferry, a ketinting, zips around driven by a small Chinese engine not much bigger than a weed-whacker, with no neutral gear!

A Ketinting Ride

costs 3,000 rupiah, about 27 cents US, and will take you the mile or two across the bay to Tobelo. The wide amas make embarking and disembarking on a sailboat "interesting".

Bugis Pinis

have changed little since introduced centuries ago by Islamic traders. This one is loaded down with copra.

The Main Street

of Tobelo is chaotic with a cacaphony of loud music blasting from the mikrolets (a type of van taxi), people yelling, and horns continuosly blasting from trucks, motorcycles, motorscooters, and cars. Plus, they drive on the wrong side of the road.

Need a Pink Chick?

We're not sure why anyone would want a vibrantly-colored chick but they seemed like a popular item and their vendor kept a close eye on the active little birds, frequently feeding them water. Their fate and their health are uncertain.

Colorful Greens

look more like an ornamental plant but they were for sale for consumption. They to be a member of the radish family.

Market Vendor

There were countless stalls in a vast enclosed, shaky looking structure where vendors (mostly women) sold their fruit and vegetables. When this woman saw our camera she insisted that she pose.


Philip chooses vine-ripened tomatoes. Every vendor seemed to have the same type of produce for sale. How should you choose one vendor over another?

Smoked Fish

The market held large quantities of smelly smoked fish. We've only seen one restaurant that served this type of fish.

Street Vendors

Street vendors in small stalls line all the streets and they all seemed to sell the same cheap stuff. This vendor had a brace of colorful parrots, presumably mates; one tethered, one not.

And More Smoked Fish

This table had large fish for sale.

Food Ready to Eat

Some of the stalls in the market sold fresh fish cooked in a firey hot pepper sauce.

Pawole Island

was one of the sites we snorkeled while others SCUBA dove. Just off this island (which we reached using the boats pictured) was a ledge and a wall that dropped hundreds of feet - an abyss - populated by thousands of coral and fish.

Kumo Island Catholic Church

Kumo Island lies two miles across from Halmahera Island where there is a mix of Muslim and Christian faiths.

Kumo Island

is home to many attractive fishing boats, caught here in the warm light of the setting sun.

A Heavy Load

We tried to get a good shot of this very old woman carrying an enormous load of firewood but were only able to get her walking away from us.

Kumo Island

We paid a courtesy call to the chief on Kumo Island and a bunch of villagers insisted we take their photo.

Yus and Family

Yus works for the tourist office but also has his own website linked to that of the official government site. He invited us to his daughter's first birthday party prior to guiding us to a waterfall.

Yus' Family

Along with the birthday girl, Laura.


are good friends. These beauties were very shy with us.


or Regent of Halmahera Utara (north Halmahera) in formal attire at the opening of a semi-precious stone festival - Festival Batu Alum Mulia. (Catimini Photo)

Batu Alum Mulia

Indonesia style as worn by a high-ranking government official. (Catimini Photo)

Perky Choir

these amazingly well trained teenagers performed for us during the opening of the ceremony. Even their facial expressions matched each other - they smiled - as they sang in perfect harmony. (Catimini Photo)

Yus and Driver

Yus' driver (we never learned his name) was skilled at negotiating the twisted roads (more like paths) through the jungle. The Toyota SUV came millimeters from trees as it fell into and rolled slowly out of deep ruts.

Philip on Hike

This trail cut deeply into the volcanic fine, gritty soil close to the river. There were deep ruts made by an oxcart which is used to haul out the copra crop.

Copra Worker's House

Harvesting copra is hard, backbreaking work and this was one shelter they used to rest and sleep.

Leslie and Jackie (s/v Sloepmouche)

pose next to an oxcart which is used to haul the copra crop out of the jungle.

Oxcart Ruts

presumably made during rainy season. We were there in the dry season and the soil was dry and as fine as talcum powder.

Sapoli Falls

It is hard to tell scale from this photo but the falls are probably 50-60 feet high. Cool, clear water thunders over the top.

Tiny Jackie

gives you perspective about the size of the falls. This is less than half of the flow.

Galela Lake

is very close to the sea but fed by the volcanic mountains nearby. Tired and dirty, we posed nearby to a government run guesthouse.

The Mamuya Hot Springs

were pleasantly warm and only slightly odorous. A very nice way end a day of hiking. In the pool with us were workers bathing before returning to their homes for supper.

The Hot Springs

also feed this downstream pool used by local women for laundry

Downstream Still

was the paddy of kang kong, in reality an invasive water plant, but a favorite green veggie including for the crew of Carina

When We Returned in 2015

the town looked pretty much the same, with Bugis Pinis still visiting regularly.

Our Anchorage

at Kumo Island was still pleasant. This day we enjoyed watching commuters passing by in the early morning light.

At The Port Captain's

office, we were assisted by Frangky Lokollo. Suzi of Sidewinder and Philip pose after Frangky registered our check in.

The Whole Staff

wanted to pose and cameras were passed back and forth as we shot lots of fun photos with the smiling staff.

In Town

we got to know an extended family of merchants who were generous with information - in English - and rides to the (now far south) traditional market where we would reprovision Carina.

Our Last

night in town was spent at cheerful and scrumptious supper with our new friends: Anna, Frengky, Suzi (Sidewinder), Gladys, Herlin, Leslie, Meini, Hendrik, David (Sidewinder) and Philip. Helen had ordered special satay of pork to complement the BBQ'd fish (and narsi goreng) served by the restaurant.


was an isolated place on the very northern tip of Halmahera. There was no cell phone coverage; rare in Indonesia. Surf was high, so we could not go ashore, but kids came to us. Smile.


When we arrived a pair of fishing boats were attempting to pull their fleet-mate off the beach in the high surf. This wooden monster, the mother-ship, finally managed the task.


Precocious Kids!

Serious Kids!

Competent Kids!

Silly Kids!

Beautiful Kids!

Endearing Kids!

Like Tobelo, Supu

changed little in the year between our visits.

The Doi Island Fleet

occupied most of the bay with their hulls and their cables. They were good about keeping clear of us as they navigated in the small space between the sea and the surf.

Our Passage

to Sangihe was pleasant and slow. The weather was clear which enhanced our view of sunsets through volcanic ash.