From Tarakan we took a flight to Makassar, Sulawesi. Makassar is a business orientated city where people pass by on their way to Tana Toraja. The Pelni boat to Flores also leaves from here once a week. To escape the heat of the city we took a shared jeep to Pantai Bira after the night bus from Tana Toraja. The drive is interesting, but takes longer though due to the mal condition of the roads. Bira is really small and mainly a popular weekend getaway for the people from Makassar. After the weekend the crowds will thin out and you can enjoy the peace and quiet of the place. Pantai Bira mainly contains souvenir stalls, a couple of guesthouses (sunshine was a bliss!) and a lot of goats!
While Pantai Bira is nice, the real beauty lies 40 minutes on foot to the west. Bara Beach is white sanded, coconut fringed and calm.
We were thrilled to get back in the water after our advanced course in Mabul so we arranged some dives with the PADI dive club located here, the seas are a bit rougher than we are used to, there is also some current, but the dives were beautiful an really worthwhile. We saw barracuda's, a sea snake, some sharks and an amazing amount of baby trigger fishes. A big plus is you are diving far away from the crowds, Bira is pretty unexplored.