Our newest journey begins on a Kendari-bound afternoon flight from Jakarta hardly a quarter full. We jet a time zone eastward through an orange sunset and land at a small terminal building surrounded by darkness. Kendari, the largest town in southeast Sulawesi, is a thirty-minute taxi ride away.
To jog your memory, our last travels documented here took us around north and south Sulawesi. In between now and then, Melati has been working at the Centre for International Forestry Research. Brian snuck off to trek around Ladakh (in the northern reaches of India) with a spirited group of American teenagers.
Leaving Makassar nearly four months ago, we felt we had missed a critical part of Sulawesi: the southeast arm, which includes the magical grouping of islands called Wakatobi. Now we return to explore it, with scuba masks and snorkels and a curiosity about the Bajaus, nomadic fishing communities that populate the coastal areas and small islands here.