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For dive fanatics, the name Kadidiri Island is a familiar leading destination in Indonesia, although it is as yet still little known outside the diving community. Located at the tip of the Gulf of Tomini in Central Sulawesi, Kadidiri is one of the islands in the Togean National Park that contains the wealth of the Coral Triangle.
With white sand beaches and astonishingly glassy water, Kadidiri’s exotic beauty and charm make it one of the key tourist destinations of the area. Kadidiri is a paradise for divers for its stunning underwater landscapes, rich coral reefs and exquisite marine life. The waters surrounding Kadidiri support over a thousand species of sea creatures, many of which are endangered and protected.
The Togean Islands were formed by volcanic activity, and are covered in dense rainforests, bordered by ancient coral reef formations. The islands are an extremely remote paradise, consisting of 56 nearly-uninhabited islands that have managed to preserve a natural elegance, not yet spoiled by man. The Togean Archipelago is not easy to get to, but anyone willing to make the effort will be more than rewarded with everything you would expect from such a hard-to-reach destination—and more! Ultimate seclusion, endless relaxation, and superb diving and snorkelling that may very well be the best found in Indonesia if not the world.
Situated in the Coral Triangle that stretches from the Philippines and East Malaysia through the Indonesian archipelago to Timor Leste and on to the Solomon Islands, the Togeans are the only islands in Indonesia where all major reef types can be found in one place: atolls, barrier, and fringing reefs.
The reefs are in excellent condition and sustain an almost impossibly abundant marine life. Parrot fish, banner fish, moonfish, starfish, blue banded sea-snakes, and spotted stingrays are just a few of species you may encounter in the ankle-deep waters, barely a few meters from the coast. For more advanced divers, eager to head further out to sea, sightings of sea turtles, black-tail barracudas and blue marlins are fairly common. If you’re patient (or lucky) enough, the scalloped Hammerhead Shark may even pay a visit. Another popular dive site is the wreck of an American B24 bomber from WWII. The plane is for the most part intact, and is home to nudibranchs, lion fish, and huge schools of jackfish.
As the Togean Islands are part of the National Marine Park, no fishing is allowed at any of the resorts or diving areas. Fishing charters can be arranged to take you out of the “no take” zone, though preferably on a catch and release basis. Spear fishing is not permitted anywhere in the Marine Park.
Kadidiri’s unique ecology is not limited to beneath the surface of the water. Beyond the beaches, creatures of land and air roam freely. The thick forests are habitat to monkeys, pig deer, Sulawesi hornbill and parrots, just to name a few. If you dare to venture into the forests by night, you may even spot the giant, tree-climbing Coconut Crab. Coconut Crabs are the largest living land arthropods in the world, and have a leg span that can reach up to 3 feet. In 2008, a new species of bird was discovered on the island—literally living proof of the islands well-preserved environment.
The best time to visit is in the dry season between April and November, during which, visibility can reach up to 40 meter
Getting to Kadidiri is a challenging task, and should not be attempted unless you have time to spare. There are several ways to get to there, each taking at least a few days, but the first step is always to fly to the Manado International Airport in North Sulawesi. Silk Air has regular International flights from Singapore to Manado. There are also domestic flights from Jakarta and Bali on Lion Air, Garuda, Batavia Air, and Merpati.
Starting 13 August Sriwijaya Air flies daily from Jakarta to Luwuk v.v. via Makassar. For information and booking click: www.sriwijayaair.co.id
From Manado, catch one of the twice-weekly flights to Luwuk, followed by an 8-hour bus ride to Ampana, Central Sulawesi. Ampana is the usual port to the Togean Islands. Boats depart four times a week at 10:00am.
Alternatively, one may go via Gorontalo City, which can be reached from Manado by bus, chartered car, or plane. From Gorontalo, ferries depart once a week on an arduous 12-hour voyage to Wakai. Once in Wakai, you must take a speedboat to Kadidiri.
Chartered speedboats are also availablefrom Marisa in North Sulawesi and Bunta in Central Sulawesi.