Local fishermen now patrol the waters that their peers once dynamited
which each bar I visited stood on a different island. Once out at sea, AJ Hackett, a New Zealander, explained how he illegally bungee jumped off the Eiffel Tower: two “beautiful girls” distracted security guards so he could sneak to the top, where he spent the night. First thing the following morning, he jumped. The publicity helped Hackett make a successful business of bungee jumping.
That happened three decades ago. The Kiwi kept a holiday home on the island for many years before turning his beachside estate, a former coconut plantation, into six bungalows for tourists.
Hackett is busy building six more, using natural materials and local tradesman. Even when they re nished, coconut palms will outnumber bungalows by a hundred to one. The estate, Pondok Santi, falls in line with a recent local government mandate, calling for 80 per cent of new tourism developments to feature some form of eco-tourism.
Hackett said the islands have changed a fair bit since he rst arrived, not always for the better. He suggested I meet someone trying to put some of those things right.