Mamuju before the earthquake

Mamuju earthquake

The city of Mamuju in West Sulawesi has been hit by a 6.2-magnitude earthquake.  Mamuju is a regency of Indonesia. This caused a lot of damage, killing dozens of people and injuring thousands more.  The earthquake occurred in the early hours of Friday, 15 January 2021.

A hospital was even levelled, which added to the tragedy.

A spokesperson said “The hospital is flattened – it collapsed. There are patients and hospital employees trapped under the rubble and we’re now trying to reach them,”

This has saddened me greatly because I had the great pleasure to visit Mamuju in 2019.  I have only happy, positive memories of my stay there.

The city of Mamuju

Mamuju is the capital city of West Sulawesi Province and also the regency of the same area.  The city is nestled on the coast of Sulawesi and faces the Makassar Strait.

At this stage, Mamuju does not attract many tourists.  Part of the reason for me visiting Mamuju was to take part in discussions with the regional government to evaluate its potential as a tourist destination.

I found the city to be quite modern.  It boasts a population of around 100,000 and the locals were very welcoming and friendly.

Boat regatta

I visited Mamuju to attend the Sandeq Regatta. That was a real highlight.  The regatta is described as being the “The world’s fastest, longest and hardest race for traditional fishing vessels”.

These outrigger boats scream along at very fast speeds, and the teams are very competitive. Once traditional fishing and trading boats, they have gone high tech, and the fleet makes for an impressive sight, as they manoeuvre around a long course.

One of the true joys of travelling is to find yourself in a place that is virtually unknown by all, except locals. Mamuju is one of those places.

Indonesian archipelago

Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago, home to over 17,000 islands.  Sulawesi is one of the largest islands within Indonesia. I couldn’t help thinking that the country must boast hundreds of places like Mamuju.  Towns and cities that have charm, yet few outsiders know of them.

That’s partly why I enjoyed Mamuju so much. I love remote, little known places, and Mamuju was a gem.

All of the resources you would expect to find in a reasonably-sized city were there.  Shopping centres, hotels, foreshore promenade and lovely people.

Tough people

I made friends there and stayed in one of the hotels that have suffered great damage.

I have only positive memories of Mamuju and really feel for those who have suffered due to the earthquake.

Indonesians are resilient, and I’m sure that the city will be re-built. When we can travel again with impunity, once coronavirus is under control, I shall endeavour to return and pay my respects to those who suffered as a result of this calamity.