Successful days on Lake Poso

The first day in Sulawesi/Indonesia begins, and after a 12-hour flight from Frankfurt to Singapore, spending some time in the clouds due to thunderstorms, following a brief stop and a connecting flight, we continue to Jakarta where we bump into Chris Lukhaup, who has already been travelling in Asia for a few days. After a brief rest and something to eat, shortly after 12 o'clock local time it's off to bed for a quick 2.5 hour nap, and then the alarm clock rings again and it's back to the airport to fly on to Makassar/Sulawesi.

From Makassar it's then roughly a 12-hour drive to our first destination, Lake Poso, where we search for some well-known invertebrates and hope to discover some new ones. We are pretty exhausted and will of course get in touch again as soon as there is internet at the local hotel ...

On the second day, after a short sleep we got out of bed and headed off again. When we ask why there was no wakeup call, it turns out that it is only a little after 2 – so we got up a whole hour too early, but it's impossible to rest here in the lobby, we're wide awake now and already sweating like pigs. There is air-conditioning here, but it is only on a low setting so it is awfully sticky. We have already thought about having another shower, but any good it would do would only last five minutes ...

By now it's evening and after a hard day, a few hours’ sleep last night and the flight to Makassar, we spent around two hours on an adventurous drive through the town looking for some aquatics and diving equipment for hand-netting and snorkelling. Then we had a really death-defying drive including overtaking, so fast we can hardly describe it, although we already knew that from the last trip to Sulawesi. But at least this time all the fun happened in daylight, and you could see the oncoming vehicles approaching. Basically, we spent the whole journey with hazard warning lights on, travelling at almost 80 km/h to 100 km/h over quite narrow, rough rural roads.

The only break on the journey was the midday lunch in a nice little restaurant right by the sea. Here we grabbed the camera and first of all we headed off to the nearby mouth of a small river, and took a few shots of the area. After a good meal and a few beers for everyone except Chris, we continued to Lake Poso.

We could really tell how big an island Sulawesi is when we still hadn't reached Lake Poso after driving almost all day. Due to the bad road conditions and the risky overtaking manoeuvres made by oncoming vehicles, we were forced to stop at a little roadside hotel and just managed to have dinner before we fell into bed worn out. The next day started at 6 a.m., as we really wanted to set off early because we still had a few hours of driving ahead of us. First we went through a plain covered in large paddy fields, before a steep climb up the mountains. Up here at around 1,000 metres the temperatures were mostly moderate and there were increasing numbers of interesting plants, such as colourful orchids and tree ferns resembling Jurassic Park.

Our journey was interrupted by a major landslide, which happens regularly in this area. But luckily the clearing work was already quite advanced so we didn't have to waste much time. After a few kilometres we were held up, but this time voluntarily, because we wanted to take a few photos and videos at a beautiful waterfall. After three more hours we finally reached Lake Poso and threw ourselves straight into the lukewarm waters. With a water temperature of 28 °C, you can cope with spending quite a while in the water. Here we found our first shrimps, as well as snails, crabs and fish.

Unfortunately we were horrified to discover that there are no aquatic plants in this part of Lake Poso. I was particularly disappointed as a Plantahunter, because we had achieved our aim with the shrimps, crabs and snails. However, out of the water there was a wide variety of interesting plants to observe. Evening comes quickly in Sulawesi and by 6 o'clock it is already almost pitch-dark. As we had good friends with us, we had an enjoyable evening with a few beers (except Chris, who always only drinks water or freshly squeezed orange juice). It will be another short night, because tomorrow morning the adventure begins again!

Good night and malam from Sulawesi.