Monday, January 26, 2009


We woke up early, as the saying goes, "at the crack of dawn". We had planned to capture the morning sun as it rose from the horizon. The gentle breeze coming from the sea made the morning even fresher. We soaked in the moments.

Acid captured this just outside our homestay. A beautiful morning indeed.

I moved out to the village and captured fishermen preparing to go out to sea. They went about doing what they usually did, my presence hardly captured their interest. In their daily grime to eke out a living, what seemed unique to a foreign eye, was just something ordinary to them. But I saw beauty in the simple environment they lived in.

There is usually only a short window of opportunity to capture moments of sunrise and sunset. This day, we were pleased with this opportunity.

Today too would be just pure R&R. We took our time to breakfast, occupying the terrace overlooking the calm sea. Acid decided to take his bath in the sea, and why not. I prefered to just laze around and stared into nothing. The German lady in her 60's decided to snorkel. She was out snorkelling for more than an hour, something impossible in her homeland Germany. The German couple also had an inflatable. Later in the late afternoon, they went out boating with their grandson, Adam.

Late morning, we explored this fishing village.

Known as PANGRANGLUHU, as the signboard said, it is also a Pelabuhan Rakyat. So, it is a port for the community, accomodating the fishing boats both big and small.

The map of Bira's location below revealed Bira's strategic location on the southern-most tip of Sulawesi. While Menado in Northern Sulawesi is well-known for diving, there are numerous diving spots off Bira too, relatively unknown and therefore probably less spoiled. Of late, there had been some increase of diving tours to Bira. What is lacking at this moment is the infrastructure - dive shops (I saw only one), dive boats, and slightly upmarket accomodation.

In this close-up map of Bira, Pangrangluhu is on the eastern side of Bira. The sea here is very calm, in comparison to the western side of Bira. Since Pangrangluhu is a village, we selfishly hope that this village will not be developed to retain its rustic charm.

Because of its calm sea, a port is also located in Pangrangluhu. A ferry, much like the Penang ferry, plies between Bira and the Island of Selayar. It carried both people and vehicles.

Many Phinisi boats were also moored near the port.

Our first stop in the village was meeting this fisherman who had just came back early from his fishing. In monetary term, his catch today was valued at IR70,000 (RM21), hopefully enough to feed his young family. He offered the young coconuts which we politely refused while telling us about dwindling catch. The big boats with their big nets are their competitors. He now had to resort to using smaller nets to catch the smaller fishes - a common problem I guessed, everywhere.

Then we visited the boat yard where several Phinisi boats were in repair. This green boat belonged to a Dutch. It was sent in to replace parts of the wooden hull and some refurbishment of the interior.

We were allowed into the boat. It offered a certain amount of luxury. It come with 4 bedrooms, a dining room, modern bathroom, electricity and I assume, fresh water.

Hauling the boat out from the sea for repair must be a gigantic task, and certainly a very skilful art. We were told the boat was hauled up using the simple mechanical pulley, tied to several coconut trees, cm by cm. Such feat.

I was admiring the toned muscle of this man as he expertly sealed the joints of the wooden hull. Modern guys would spend thousands of RM toning the arms in Fitness First. That includes my son, Raqim. Ha...Ha...

Children, as usual, are one of our favorite subjects. They were more than happy to be photographed. With digitals, they too expect to see what we captured. So, we have instant connection with them.

I can't help noticing this ice-crushing machine. Back in Tumpat where I grew up, we used to have an ice-crushing machine too at home. My late father was a fish-dealer. The catch had to be boxed in ice before transported out to the market. I used to start the engine, certainly not by a flip of the switch. It was raw strength, muscle pitting against the heavy "pleweng" (fly-wheel) as I cranked the fly-wheel to generate enough turning speed to start the diesel-powered engine. The noise of the ice being crushed and the diesel engine could wake up the deepest of slumber.

We moved up the cliff to capture these shots from a higher vantage point, offering another view of the crystal-clear water of Bira and the Phinisi boats in mooring.

Satisfied with our cycle-about, it was time for lunch. We agreed to spoil ourselves and proceeded to the Bira Beach Hotel located on the western side of Bira. A great lunch, yet another great view.

Sadly, we had to leave Bira tomorrow to continue our discovery of South Sulawesi.

As I said in my earlier posting, it would be tough to put our butts back on the saddle and move on.



oops did I just say that? said...

so beatifoonn

acid said...

I left my heart at Bira.. sigh!

Asnawin said...

Saya sangat senang menemukan dan membaca tulisan dan foto2 di blog ini. Izinkan saya untuk memuat ulang di blog, terima kasih.

ARZ said...

Pak Asnawin.

Persilakan muat ulang ke blog anda. Saya senang berkongsi pengalaman dengan sesiapa saja.

Asnawin said...

Terima kasih pak ARZ, tetapi kalau boleh tahu siapa nama lengkap pak ARZ, karena saya mau tulis di blog saya. Sekali lagi terima kasih, selamat beraktivitas.... salam buat keluarga pak ARZ di Malaysia.

ARZ said...

ARZ nama singkatan dari Ahmad Ramli Zakaria. Saya penggemar tur speda dan Indonesia merupakan satu destinasi yang paling saya gemari. Sselain dari Sulawesi, saya sudah tur kawasan Minangkabau, Jogja - Cilacap, Jogja - Merapi - Borobudur dan merancang ke Flores-Bali tahun ini.
Sulawesi Selatan membawa banyak kenangan manis bagi saya dan merupakan tur yang terlama bagi saya.

Alihbahasa blog saya ke bahasa Indonesia yang Pak Asnawin lakukan amat baik sekali. Pasti bapak punyai kemahiran bahasa Inggeris yang tinggi. Syabas!

Asnawin said...

Wah, sungguh menyenangkan bisa melancong dan tur sepeda ke berbagai tempat.
Soal terjemahan, sesungguhnya saya tidak bisa berbahasa Inggris. Saya hanya memanfaatkan terjemahan google dan kemudian menerjemahkan tulisan pak ARZ ke dalam bahasa Indonesia secara bebas.
Mohon dikoreksi kalau ada terjemahan yang salah atau kurang tepat. Terima kasih....