With Christmas around the corner, we are reaching the end of an incredibly strange year. I sometimes wonder if the concept of ‘time’ is actually real, because how can something go so slow while at the same time have blazing speed? This is exactly how the past year felt for all of us here in beautiful North Sulawesi.
Time moves at a snail’s pace when we wait for the pandemic to end, when we wait for you to return for a stay with us, when us foreign workers have to wait until we can see our families again. Just like you, we want it to end. And, just like you, there is nothing we can do about it.
On the other hand, time just seems to fly past us.
The pandemic has not been kind to our dive resort in Manado: since we had to pack up and leave 6 months ago, leaving behind a well-loved place of peace, of laughter and a lot of vacation fun. But we are moving on.
We had to make a “tactical” retreat and so we moved our operation to the plot of land where I have my house. This is where we started to build a new restaurant, together with a spa and resort (currently still ongoing).
Even though we left our old place last June, so much has changed, only reinforcing how “time” is such a strange concept.
I was forced to sell my house in the Netherlands so that we could build a new dive center in the small fishing village of Bahowo, and also to be able build our new resort here. And I can tell you it’s a beautiful place: you can feel a positive energy emanating from the rock gardens and the soil, full of peace & tranquility. And right now, that is exactly what we all need.
Since early December, we opened our Italian restaurant and our eco-friendly (chlorine-free!) ‘Ubud-style’ swimming pool. In the coming weeks we will open our beautiful spa with private zen-garden.
In addition, our 2 generously spacious villas are almost finished and should be up & running by the end of January.
Our team still largely consists of the same people you’ve already met during your earlier vacations with us. We managed to keep around 80% with us since the pandemic. They’re working either full or parttime doing construction, working in our restaurant, or doing upkeep on the resort grounds. This way we still manage to provide our people with an income to support their families.
Understandably, some of our team (like so many people in the Indonesian hospitality business) were forced to look for opportunities elsewhere, and this situation hasn’t changed so far.
But despite all this, here we are. Our Thalassa family is stronger than ever. And here’s a fun fact: “TALASA” in the local Minahasa language actually means ‘timeless’.
Thanks to you
All of this was in no small part possible thanks to you. Your support during these hard times is nothing short of amazing. You paid forward your next trip, you donated to our crowdfunding cause, and you join us on our weekly broadcasts to drop by and say hi. It’s just incredible. The global situation makes us more than just resort staff, and makes you more than just guests – you keep us motivated and encouraged.
So looking ahead, what will 2022 bring us next year?
Can we open in 2022?
Practically speaking we hope to have finished building your new accommodation in our new resort, and we are targeting April 1st to receive our first international guests.
We also just started building a small event venue for gatherings or weddings. Later, we can use this building to entertain you with dance and music.
And after this? Time will tell. All we can do is simply hope that for you, your family & friends, and for our Thalassa team and their families, for Arjen & Widi, for Satoka & Reinal and for me, 2022 will be a lot better than the last two years have been. Although many parts of the world are bracing for another COVID surge, we’re seeing Indonesia preparing to open up to foreign guests.
With all of that said, we want to wish you a cozy and cheerful Christmas, and a healthy, safe and happier New Year. A new year with hopefully many beautiful dives, good food and good times in our fantastic part of the world.
It will happen, it’s only a matter of time.