Lemonade bubbles spray behind the boat as it whizzes across glassy, translucent water. A dot in the distance becomes a surreal vision of the perfect escape from everyday life. Picture postcard perfect: endless blue on blue, crystal clear water sprinkled with coral, and a deserted white sandy beach dotted with thatched bures and tall palm trees. It looks like a deserted paradise.

Gangga Island in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, is the chill-out destination where snorkeling and diving pursuits can be intermingled with slouching on a daybed, sipping wine, watching hermit crabs scuttle around the foot-washing tap, or devouring some of the best food I have ever had at a remote island resort. Off the ordinary tourist path, any airport hassles, flights, car rides, and boat transport to get to this incredible destination fade into the background the moment you are greeted by the staff with big smiles on the tip of the long wooden jetty.

A bucket-list destination for many scuba divers and snorkelers, North Sulawesi has some of Indonesia's best underwater reefs. Gangga Island Resort is perfect for those wishing to explore the marine world of three famous areas: Bunaken National Marine Park—home to numerous coral reefs and a myriad of fish species, Lembeh Strait—unique marine critters such as seahorses, and Bangka Archipelago—scorpionfish, ribbon eels, ghost pipefish and many more unique to this area. Gangga Island Resort shares its heavenly island with two villages, Gangga I and Gangga II—the locals are predominantly fishing folk, with many working at the resort.

Island Idyll - Gangga Island Resort - North Sulawesi - Indonesia - The Wise Traveller - Beds

The aquamarine water is pristine with an incredible marine life biodiversity. The current can be strong off the resort's shoreline, and snorkeling the exceptional house reef has to be timed with the tides. It's a wonderland clear of rubbish and full of colorful coral, which is a rarity at the doorstep of a resort. Boat trips are plentiful for snorkeling and diving—private or with other guests. The island's PADI Five Star Dive Centre caters to all experience levels. You can even do a diving introductory course and flap around the pool first to get your diving skills up to par, or for the proficient divers, go night-diving when the underwater world becomes a different wet universe.

This is a diving or snorkeling nirvana with over 30 exceptional diving spots—marked on a huge map on the reception area wall. I have failed to learn how to scuba dive three times—I can't manage to take a mask off and put it back on underwater. I also suffer from aquaphobia, which I discovered when I attempted to go for an introductory dive off Lizard Island Resort, Australia, years ago. Snorkeling gives me the next best opportunity to peer underwater in wonder. At Gangga Island Resort, even the most novice snorkeler will be made to feel comfortable as the guides will hold your hand the whole time you are floating around if you need reassurance.

Island Idyll - Gangga Island Resort - North Sulawesi - Indonesia - The Wise Traveller - Cabin View

The resort is not just for underwater babies to frolic in the sea. Plenty of guests didn't join the scuba tank brigade going diving in the morning, afternoon, and at night—instead, lazing around Gangga Island in a state of utter bliss was the done thing, indulging in a bit of pampering at the oceanfront spa, or simply reclining on a sunbed with a good read. The lush swimming pool was the scene for high tea in the afternoons, cocktails any time, and pre-dinner aperitives while watching the crimson sunset. The common area comprising the restaurant, bar, and reception sits in an open-air wooden building constructed in the local Minahasa style, facing the swimming pool and blue water beyond.

Island Idyll - Gangga Island Resort - North Sulawesi - Indonesia - The Wise Traveller - Beach View

Island Idyll - Gangga Island Resort - North Sulawesi - Indonesia - The Wise Traveller - Island Idyll - Gangga Island Resort

Gangga Island Resort is a boutique retreat with only 15 fantastic beachfront bungalows of two units each. The private verandahs are decked out for total relaxation with a comfy daybed smothered in pillows and a sitting area for a nightcap by the stars.  Bedrooms with massive glass doors allow you to have your choice of air-conditioned comfort or ocean breezes to wake up to. Large bathrooms with double sinks and an open showering area are perfect for the beach vibe of the stylish accommodation. You could arrive in your swimmers carrying a sarong and a toothbrush. Daily housekeeping ensures that your sandy feet don't leave a trail under the airy high ceilings. A stocked mini-bar plus coffee and tea amenities provide the makings for that early morning coffee on the verandah or perched on your personal beach bure as the world wakes up around you.

Gangga Island Resort is where you can totally disconnect from everyday hassles and dream of swimming with mythical mermaids.

Gail Palethorpe, a self proclaimed Australian gypsy, is a freelance writer, photographer and eternal traveller. Check out her website Gail Palethorpe Photography and her Shutterstock profile.