Saturday, 23 July 2011

Volcano Erupts Near Finnish Village

Last week, a volcano erupted near a small Finnish village, throwing hot ash and smoke thousands of feet into the air, forcing thousands of people to flee.

A volcano? A small Finnish village?

OK, OK, maybe I am indulging in a bit of tabloid sensationalism here. The volcano in question is actually Mount Lokon (or Lukon), situated in North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

But that's thousands of miles away, I hear you say.

Yes indeed, around 6,400 miles, in fact.

Allow me to explain.

Off the coast of the North Sulawesi peninsula, some 10km (6 miles) or so from Mount Lokon, there is a little island, which (at the time of writing) doesn't even get named on Google Maps, but is called Bunaken.

And on the island of Bunaken, there is a diving resort called Living Colours, which is run by a Finnish couple, Jaakko and Mia.

I had the pleasure of spending 10 days there in 2009. It is, in many respects, a lovely place. The accommodation is at-the-luxury-end-of basic (part of the charm of Bunaken is that it is still largely undeveloped), the hospitality is great and the diving is amazing.

Living Colours Diving Resort, Bunaken

Living Colours is like a little Finnish village in the tropics. Many of the visitors are Finns, and so the Finnish language can often been heard spoken at meal times, on the boats or in the resort's small bar on the beach - the Safety Stop.

The most remarkable thing is that many of the resort's Indonesian staff (which include a number diving instructors) have picked up a little Finnish over the years. Some of them have even formed a house band called Cobra, whose repertoire includes Finnish songs! And so, visitors to Living Colours can be treated to the surreal experience of sitting in a beach bar in the tropics, thousands of miles away from Finland, and listening to an Indonesian band performing songs by the likes of Eppu Normaali. [And yes, the drum kit is made of recycled material, and the singer, Freddy, is indeed holding a "microphone" carved out of wood]

So if you are a keen diver, and want to experience something very different, why not head to Living Colours?

As for the volcano, as mentioned before, it is peripheral to this story. But Finns do enjoy finding a Finnish angle to any event in the world, so why shouldn't I pander to this?


  1. The original version and lyrics. Mr. Miekka will surely translate if there's popular demand.

  2. Mr Miekka would be quite incapable of transalting anything!

  3. Ha, that does sound surreal indeed! But kind of cool as well...