Just over a decade ago a couple of diving instructors pooled their money (and borrowed from friends and family!) to fulfill their crazy dream of sailing a traditional wooden boat around Indonesia and dive the most beautiful places on earth. They bought bought an older wooden boat, a traditional Phinisi schooner, just like the ones used for hundreds of year throughout Indonesia. They refurbished it, poured months and months into making it a strong and beautiful boat – and it still is! During this year in remote Sulawesi they learned the local language, helped with the carpentry and painting. As all the work is done by hand, it’s a slow process and takes long-term planning. That year was long and during the breaks in work – they explored the local towns and villages.
This all took place in the shipyards of Tenah Biru the area was the far southern tip Sulawesi. In this town, there is a long tradition of shipbuilding and the craftsmen from this area are famous around SE Asia for their skills. The region is also home to most accomplished sailors and make their services in high demand. Their traditional homes are of a unique design and often show off their skills. About 20 minutes south was the sleepy village of Bira – and here our fearless heroes had to stop for a moment and breathe. The view over the beach was simply stunning…it seemed to go on and on. White sand, gorgeous reefs and all this taken in from the limestone cliffs. Looking down, they saw the turtles feeding and it was good….very very good. In town there were a few run-down hotels and guesthouses and few Warungs (local cafes) but tourism was barely a blip on the horizon. Most days the number of goats roaming the streets outnumbered the people.
Over the next year they came back to Bira again and again – for the sunsets, for the snorkeling and for serenity. It was the perfect retreat from the hard work building the boat. When their diving gear arrived, they jumped in and it was just as good as they hoped. From the corals to the big pelagics they encountered. They loved it. Soon the weeks were spent working on the boat and the weekends underwater with Sharks and turtles.
Soon the boat was finished, they took off sailing and diving throughout the Indonesian archipelago. For the next 10 years they explored hundreds of dive sites, took thousands of guests diving at some of the most famous dive sites in the world. But they never forgot….
The Birth of Bira Dive Camp
About a year ago – in 2012- they came back to Bira. They found a few more places to stay, a few more restaurants and just as many goats! But the beach was still undeveloped, the town felt just as sleepy as ever.
This time – they had a plan! Instead of sailing off they wanted to set up a resort for divers and adventurers! In all that time they had kept coming back to the idea of making a good, simple resort just like they had experienced when they first learned to dive. Combine that with the natural beauty above and below the water of Bira that they had experienced year s before. With hard work and perseverance, a small piece of land was found on the empty beach and they did it – they started building a dive camp!
You might have guessed that those fearless (and good looking, and clever….) dive instructors are us! Bira Dive camp is ours and we want to invite you to come join us, Please contact us – we are happy to answer any of your questions about our Camp, about the diving, the food…even what time the sun sets (cold drinks at sunset are a very important part of the day!).
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