It might be just over 150 km but the drive from Lake Toba to Medan still took 5 hours and that’s not including the ferry from Samosir Island. You don’t get anywhere quickly in Indonesia. (See previous post here)
The Deli River Hotel in Medan was really nice but we didn’t have much time to enjoy it. The next morning we headed for the airport at 8:30 am as again, it takes a ridiculously long time to go a short distance.
The flight was supposed to leave at 12:20 pm. That time came and went and the board still said “scheduled”. At about 1 pm it changed to delayed to 1:15 pm. Interesting. The announcements were only in Indonesian so every time they spoke we got up and stood in line. When she looked at our boarding pass, she’d say “oh no Sabang” and we’d go sit down again. Fun stuff.
By the time we got to Sabang we were worried our pick up wouldn’t be there. We got off the plane, entered the tiny airport and could see the exit door with the man holding the sign “Jodi” on it. Cool. I’ve always wanted to be greeted with one of those signs!
Our cottage at Freddies is rustic but really cute. Two beds on either side with a bathroom kind of in the middle, complete with a very short, but definitely western toilet (YAY!) After settling in and having some dinner, we went for a walk along the road. We got lots of stares and hellos from children, definitely an oddity around here. Later we realized they follow Sharia law here and we were definitely under dressed. Oops.
Thankfully we don’t have to follow those rules at Freddie’s. I went for a nice evening swim. The ocean was so warm it wasn’t even hard to get in.
The call to prayer had me awake the next morning at 5:44 am. Sheesh. Oh well. We had a coffee on our nice porch and watched the sun come up. We’d had breakfast and were snorkeling by 8 am. I spent about 4 hours of the day in the water and burned my back and the backs of my legs. The rest was enjoyed by sitting and reading, something we’ve done very little of this trip.
Being awakened early means enjoying the sun rise while drinking coffee so it’s not so bad. We’d arranged a snorkeling trip today and Andy picked us up promptly at 9…..on his motorcycle. That ride was the scariest part of the day for me and I KNOW he took it easy on me as I’ve seen the way they drive here! Sue arrived a little later in a tuk tuk.
Andy took us to several different spots, all of which offered something different. Some it was a variety of fish, another was pretty coral and one was an underwater volcano and giant puffer fish. We waited out a thunderstorm at one point and then went back for more snorkeling. It was a great day!
Friday we spent the morning snorkeling. I’d arranged for Lumba Lumba divers to pick me up for an afternoon introduction to free diving course. I’d always wanted to try it. Jim was a fantastic instructor; very clear and patient. The other two ladies were master divers and half my age. Not intimidating at all 😉 Regardless I learned a lot and only my own anxiety held me back from going deeper than 5 or 6 metres. You know you’re with fellow ocean enthusiasts when, on your way to the dive site, you’re distracted by seeing various creatures like octopus, squid and a lion fish. Jim didn’t mind waiting as he fully understood the need to check out the octopus 😉
Saturday I was glad I got in a good snorkel in the morning as the wind came up and the waves made further outings dangerous. Perfect weather for surfers! We spent the afternoon chatting with new friends, reading and the odd walk on the beach. Life is rough!