Yesterday’s typhoon changed our plans, and instead of the Awu volcano, we sailed to the nearby Gunatin Island, where we will try to find the highest point. We arrive at the Ulu harbor at dawn and have to wait, but there is nothing bad that doesn’t turn out for the best. In the corner of the harbor, we find a freshly painted triangulation pillar and a benchmark point.
The boat is moving quickly—about half an hour. After disembarking on the island, head towards where the road is marked on the map. We find the road, but not quite where we expected. The true paved road also ends quickly. We try to guess which trail might lead us to the highest point, and we are doing quite well, but we reach the slightly lower E summit first. From here, with the help of a handlevel, Rob confirms that the W peak is higher. We also see that there is some kind of structure on the W peak. Later, we find out that these are antennas.
We climb a hundred meters or more up a steep slope through the bush to the lower E peak. From there, we try to bushwhack a ridge to the highest point. There may once have been a trail here, but now there are only bushes, grasses, and spiders of impressive size. We try to avoid them. Aris says we won’t die from the bite, but it will hurt for days. No desire to check. Brown ants cause skin irritation. It is sometimes necessary to remove tens of them from arms.
An antenna tower is located at the highest point, but there are no views. We measure the height, and the “average” of all the measuring devices turns out to be 285 meters above sea level. Slightly higher than the topographic lines on the map.
We are going down a slightly different “trail”. We reach a plantation with easy access to a coastal village. Just before the plantations with a broken tree, I fall a few metres down. My side will hurt for the next three weeks… Good learning story. But important – there’s a new peak at the Peabagger.
As well as the forward journey, on the return we can admire the steaming Karangetang volcano. We are back on Siau Island, and we have enough time to catch the 15:00 speed boat. A short and nice morning hike.