Pulo Cinta, The Island Of Love
Everything about Pulo Cinta is charming, inspiring, romantic. The love heart shape of the wooden walkway that connects each of the villas to the island is just the first sign of all of the wonders that are yet to come. We fell head over heels for this unique place immediately and so we worked hard to create a video that captures the exceptional, raw beauty of Pulo Cinta.
DAY 1 – Luscious Jungles Contrasted By Humble Dusty Villages
We took to the skies from Bali to Makassar then Makassar onto Gorontalo. Of course, we shot the entire journey for our BTS video – and some fantastic moments were captured. One being the reaction of our crew having a somewhat rocky landing! The plane had dipped to come into landing in Gorontalo, but couldn’t manage due to weather conditions, so we had to come back up again before the very skilled (and we were grateful for it!) pilot brought us back down, safely albeit shaky!
Thanks to the adrenaline, our energy was high for the rest of the journey. We were picked up at the airport by Josh, the owner and our personal host of Pulo Cinta. Due to the size of our crew, the only vehicle big enough to fit us all in, with all of our gear, was a real yellow school bus! We all hopped aboard and made our way through the spectacular winding roads of Gorontalo, which boasted incredible luscious jungles contrasted by the humble dusty villages speckled along the journey. We stopped at one, where we were offered cooked corn on the cob and other local treats. The adventure continued… As the sun was starting to set, we stopped at another town enroute, where the local Mayor and townspeople had organised a welcome party for us. Celebrations ensued complete with fried banana delights, singing and dancing. It was an experience like no other.
When the party settled, we climbed back onto the bus and continued on our trundle. We arrived at the boat that would bring us to isolated Pulo Cinta in the darkness. As the little motorised boat moved through the water, the waves it created brought up illuminated, glowing algae, reflecting the incredible night sky above us – and we were starstruck.
Already having had our breath taken away, there was no way we could imagine what the world around us would be like in the morning but with the fish peering up from the crystal clear water being visible only under the moonlight – we were excited to find out!
DAY 2 – Dancing In A Heart Made Of Fire In The Sand
We wake up to the reality that we are the only ones on this desert island in the middle of the great, vast ocean. Each of the villas are so fantastically perched above the water, with nothing but sea views stretching out as far as the eye can see. This is what we all need, an escape from what we know to reconnect to nature and rediscover home within ourselves again, in a place that is so very far from our own homes. We breathe in the fresh air and take in this moment of peace, calm, serenity. Feeling as zen as we do, it only seems right to start the day with a morning yoga shoot before being served an Indonesian breakfast.
Although the day is more cloudy than we would have liked for the video production, we don’t waste a second and make the most of the cooler weather to shoot an intro for our snorkelling scene. We all line up with flippers and scuba gear in hand and make our way towards the sea…
Swapping our gear out for professional underwater cameras and equipping the team with Go-Pros, we make our way into the water.
It is another world – unlike anything we’ve ever seen before – and so close to shore! A city of coral lights up the seafloor, bright pinks and purples, soft greens and yellow hues. A plethora of multicoloured fish in all shapes and sizes, starfish and even a couple of majestic sea turtles! It’s a sensory overload – there is just so much to take in. We try our hand at free diving and a clown fish races up to – seemingly – give us a kiss, although in reality, he must have been protecting his young, just like in Finding Nemo…
We come up for a the salt off our bodies and get ready for a sunset shoot. The staff have prepared a platter of fruit and colourful smoothies as scrumptious props for our hero scenes. With the sun setting in the background the moment couldn’t be more perfect. The clouds from earlier in the day have created a fantastic masterpiece across the sky, with the gold shining through the navy clouds, gloriously.
The days are long on Pulo Cinta, with no distractions but the company of those you have around you and of the nature that surrounds you. We spend the evening together, indulging in a beach party. Out of nowhere, the staff surprise us by making a surreal love heart come to life, out of fire in the sand, that we all dance inside of. We have to get the drone up for this one! We continue dancing on the sand, under a glistening blanket of stars, until we’re too tired to stand.
DAY 3 – A Storm Is Brewing
We rise to the ominous view of the sky buckled over, dark grey clouds are looming, not just above us, but all around us. The endless space that we knew from the days before seems to have closed in, we are surrounded. The ocean dances wildly, enchanted by the wind as it lures it to and fro. A storm is brewing.
There’s an excitement in the air with everyone’s anticipation for what could happen here in the middle of nowhere – the same thought arising in everyone’s mind, but that nobody says out loud – ‘we are so far from land’. We take comfort in a hot cup of coffee and as shooting can’t happen today for all of the grey, we choose to make the most of a bit of downtime instead. Some of us make a home of our villas and read books, while others spend the time getting active, hoisting up a volleyball net up in the sand and battling it out to keep warm. This makes for a great series of action shots and shows the simple, but pure fun that naturally happens when there’s nothing pressing on the agenda. Evening arrives much faster today than on any of the other days – and with it comes a calmness that chases away the storm.
The sunset that we are blessed with on this night makes us realise that perhaps the sky had just been working overtime to invent such a glorious creation. The thick clouds from the day, having simply been a theatre curtain, put in place to not ruin the surprise… And we are grateful for it. The sun sets with such vibrance that it almost looks as though the ocean is on fire. Deep maroons offset with bright pink, dusky orange and miraculous gold. With jaws agape, we all walk into the water, as if to try to get closer to the spectacle, awestruck. We can’t help but grab the cameras to capture this moment with the classic group shot of a cheers of beers – a genuine salutation to the marvellous world around us, with all of her wonders that she gifts to us every day. We are spoiled with a barbecue dinner on the beach, an array of fresh fish plucked out of the ocean that very day, before lying down in the sand together to stargaze for hours. We even catch a few shooting stars – it all just feels too perfect.
DAY 4 – An Otherworldly Underwater Experience & Life After Death
Some of us wake up to a great rumble and the sea violently splashing up under the villas – others sleep through the moment. We think it might be… so we check online and sure enough, we had just experienced a level 6.4 earthquake. The mornings that we lived through on Pulo Cinta were never boring, that’s for sure! Fearful of greater waves, or worse yet, that a tsunami might be on its way to wash us and the eco-resort away, we find our zen in a yoga shoot – capturing some sweet morning drone shots.
Then, rather than be on land, we got kitted up for a scuba dive… Better to be under the water than above it, right?.. This is the day we had all been waiting for – with the snorkelling being such an awesome experience, we couldn’t possibly imagine what more the ocean could have in store for us.
We dive in and start descending into the depths of the surrounding coral. The visibility couldn’t have been better, we could see as far as 30 metres ahead of us, so this made for some spectacular undersea shots.
As we came around one of the coral embankments, the most extraordinary scene was awaiting us. Hundreds, if not thousands of fish, a plethora of different types, all gathered in their enormous schools flitting to and fro, gliding through the water in perfect unison, swaying, dancing, moving so rhythmically to and fro – it was as if we had fallen into a movie scene, or upon a David Attenborough documentary. This was one of those remarkable moments in life that really makes such an impression on you, you know you’ll remember it forever. It is fantastic to come away from screens and distractions and immerse yourself (quite literally) entirely in nature, admiring her in all of her glory, astounded by this incredible world that exists just beneath the water’s surface – with life just happening as it does.
This was easily the best diving that we’ve done in Indonesia, so definitely one for your bucket list!
Next up is lunchtime and then we head to the mainland for some exhilarating activities and spectacular sightseeing that our host Josh has planned for us. Our first stop is a local school. Women dress us in traditional attire and the children all excitedly say hello to us in English. We then get to observe an English class, at this little school that they have built on a lake, they have also built a zip line – just for the fun of it, so of course, we get involved!
We visit local villages and wave to all of the people as we pass them, their jaws lie agape – I suppose tourists have been far and few between in these remote areas during the pandemic… Finally, after a wild and rocky ride, we arrive on the top of a mountain to see a sunset that takes our breath away – it’s a high-energy moment of pure elation among the group. Possibly the best end to a perfect day…
But the night isn’t over yet! Josh says he has something exciting in store for us – night has fallen and we arrive, bewildered at a graveyard unlike any other. The locals surround us, greeting us all warmly. It’s the most bizarre sight – colourful gravestones where people dance and sing, bright vibrant lights and even children’s funfair rides! This is Palowengan – a place where death is celebrated for the life those who have passed had lived. The people here have prepared biscuits for us and so we sit down in the midst of this otherworldly cemetery and basque in the wonderful peculiarity of another culture. After many photo ops with the locals – and far too many sugary treats, we all load back onto the bus to the boat, to head to our home away from home, on our paradise island.
DAY 5 – A True Work Of Heart
It’s time to begin the long journey back home to Bali to start editing all of the incredible footage we captured. We say our heartfelt goodbyes but promise to return.
We so wanted to portray our exact experience in the best possible light, showcasing this amazing place to you the way we experienced it. With such extraordinary natural beauty to work with and the real raw passion we felt for the island, our final edit of this video production is a true work of heart. Pulo Cinta is heaven on earth and we are so grateful to Josh and his staff for making our stay so magical.
Watch the full video below.