Trip Report -- December 2006
First of all, thanks to Els and everyone at this forum for their help.
When we landed, the big surprise for us was that the island was so green, instead of the desert we had seen in our previous visits. After a long wait at Hertz, we headed to Westpunt and Lodge Kura Hulanda, stopping at the California supermarket in Tera Kora on the way for some drinks and munchies -- wonderful raisin rolls & Jonge Kaas cheese -- yum!
Our goal was snorkeling, rest, and relaxation, in that order. The reef on site (Playa Kalki) was very good, although a large part of it is rather deep (> 20 m). We saw squid, a turtle, and eels there; one day there were so many fish that a giant squid could have swum by and we never would have seen it. The entry/exit was relatively easy, and the surface glassy most of the time. One day we drove to Playa Lagun (very easy entry/exit) where we saw a turtle and an eagle ray, although most of the reef there is in deeper water. We spend one wonderful day at Porto Marie: nice beach, facilities, a restaurant for lunch, and, yes, a great place to snorkel.
The Lodge was wonderfully quiet -- just what we wanted. We stayed in a second floor suite in the 'Eco-lodges': really a big bedroom with an equally large veranda, open to breezes but protected from the sun and rain. We ate most dinners at the restaurant there (Watamula) -- excellent food and not expensive (breakfast, however, was disappointing). While we had some rain on two days, one downpour heavy enough to flood the parking lot (an adventure!), the inconvenience was minor and two days were virtually cloud-free. After a few days of enjoying relaxing on the veranda, for the last day or so we did have to finally break out the bug spray and spend more time inside.
A great trip -- we'll long remember the quiet veranda and the warm tropical breezes.