my journey to health and well being via exotic destinations

Asian odyssey: Singapore to Siladen

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The first port of call on our thrice-postponed diving trip to Raja Ampat is Singapore. Since my broken and dislocated shoulder at the end of December I have been doing my physio religiously every day and having acupuncture, cranial osteopathy and massage. I’ve brought with me three different wet suit combos to see what I can actually fit my shoulders into so I am well prepared.

Ross having a Singapore style breakfast in the lounge!

We are super excited to be able to use up our last remaining air miles on this trip – business class to Singapore and back ain’t half bad and the flight lives up to expectations. Feeling fresh we make a dash to the Scarlet hotel in Chinatown, have a quick shower and prepare for our rounds of socialisation.

Singapore old and new

First stop Tanglin Club with old Uni chum Mark Greaves and Lucie, his wife, who we spent many a long evening with when we lived here. Also meet up with Sanjay and Sachiyo Sharma, an old Deloitte mate of Ross’s and she a skilled silk weaver/artist. Our final date is with another old chum, Arin Sen…Singapore is always fun but I left having put back most of the kgs I’d shed during my recovery!

Staying in Chinatown is great – very vibrant and a little bit rundown and scruffy, not really very Singaporean apart from the durian stalls and stacks of Tiger Balm on sale. Great bar scene and good restaurants – interestingly Japanese and Korean BBQ seem to be in – the latter signposted by giant tree frogs outside the entrances. Traditional we are told!

A quick scoot over to Manado, N Sulawesi, where we are met and sped off to Siladen, a small island on the edge of the Bunaken marine reserve. Ross was to enjoy three days’ diving while I decided to optimise on the R&R before the dive trip proper. The only downside is that both transfers are at low tide and we have to wade though a sea of sludge to get on and off the boat. As Indonesia is renowned for its general lack of rubbish management we are a bit scared of what might be lurking beneath the surface!

On arrival we are upgraded to a sea front suite – great news. The resort is small – about eight chalets and a few rooms – with a nice beach front bar and excellent dive centre. Great for lounging around too – when the sun shines. Which it rarely did during our stay! This is to be the story of our whole trip… extremely frustrating.

But most frustrating of all is the news that our friends, Simon and Eira Day, impart when we meet the night before our departure in Manado. They have to cancel at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. Not sure who is more upset…them probably as at least we get to go on the boat.  But as part-owners we are pretty sure they can make up for it at some point! We go for a big blow-out in a local restaurant and drown our sorrows in gin at the bar before our early start to Ternate in Halmahera, North Maluku archipelago.

Author: vickyunwin

I am a writer and traveller. Our darling daughter Louise died on 2 March 2011, aged 21 ( and I started writing as therapy. We never know how long we have on this earth, so I live for every November 2013 I was diagnosed and operated on for a malignant soft tissue sarcoma in the calf, followed by 6.5 weeks of radiotherapy, so am embarking on a different kind of journey which you can follow here. I also have another site with my blueprint for health and well-being.

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