After a few weeks in Bali, it was time for me to move on – to the far east of Indonesia. Meeting up with adventure operator Perama Tours, I made the long voyage eastward to see the Komodo Dragons of Komodo and Rinca islands, Indonesia. A few pics.
Our boat departed from Lombok, an island just to the east of Bali. Although I could have taken a ferry or speedboat there, I decided to fly from Bali to Lombok, and then take a bus across Lombok to the small town of Sengiggi. Sengiggi was nothing special, and I stayed in a very sketchy hotel – but only for one night, before getting on the boat the next morning.
Morning 1 of our voyage to Flores was actually spent on land, exploring a bit of Lombok. First stop was a village in which traditional pottery is made. Here, the locals stack up wet pottery and fire it by burning stacks of hay on top. A smoky, yet effective method. Reminded me of the traditional indian pottery made in the American Southwest, complete with rubbing and scratching.
Finally, on the boat – the Santosa. The Santosa is a traditional Indonesian fishing style boat, which has been custom built to house guests. It’s made of heavy wood, and constructed locally by hand, without the use of any pre-drawn plans.
Our first stop at sea was a small sand island with a few shacks, and fire pit. We relaxed all day, did a bit of snorkeling, and had a bbq for dinner. Of note, I think I’ve ruined myself a bit by doing some of the worlds great dives with my much loved sailing crew. Although the snorkeling in Indonesia was fun, it just didn’t stack up to dives I’ve done in the BVI, Mexico, or most notably, the Blue Hole in Belize. Also on the small island, a group of farmers grew peanuts and sesame seeds. While most everybody else was sunbathing, I hiked around to hang out with the farmers.
In order to make good time at sea, and get all the way across to the east side of Indonesia, we sailed all through the night. This time around, I was merely a passenger, and not part of the crew. At night, the crew would sleep in shifts, and keep the boat moving all night. Along with the rest of the passengers, I slept on deck in the cool nighttime air.
The next morning, we arrived at another beautiful island. First things first, a morning swim off the boat. I was fortunate to be part of a great group of people onboard, and we all got along very well. Then, a quick hike to get the blood moving in the morning, and then a swim in a very beautiful brackish lake. Interestingly, the locals hang up bits of coral from the trees, for good luck. In addition to the lake, we also spent time on the beach, and exploring the local farmers village.
Day three – Komodo Island. We woke up in the morning having anchored just off the shore of Komodo Island, and made the trek into the interior of the island. Although most of the time I’m not particularly scared by animals, this time there was a definite feeling of uneasyness amongst the group. Komodo Dragons frequently eat water buffalo, and other animals as large or large than humans. Their bite is venomous, and after biting, they wait for their prey to die, and then eat them. In addition to many Komodo Dragons, we also saw a deadly Asian Pit Viper, about a foot and a half away from the trail on which we were hiking.
And of course, later in the day, relaxing on the beaches of Komodo Island.. after having just seen these massive lizards on the same island, I was a bit uneasy hanging out on the beach.. imagining a Jurassic Park-type situation.
And an afternoon sleeping on the boat.
That evening, we sailed into Labuan Bajo, Flores for dinner and a walk around the local fish market. Fish markets are always good for interesting photos, but this one was good for only that – flies and rotting fish were everywhere, and after a few photos, we got out of there quick. I was walking around Labuan Bajo with friends Jan and Sebastian.
The next day, more Komodo Dragons, this time on Rinca Island. Rinca was nice – and hot. Notably, we saw a young Komodo in a tree.
After returning overnight on the boat to Lombok, Jan and I partnered up to make the trek from Lombok all the way across Indonesia to Jakarta. Jan was meeting his girlfriend in Singapore in a few days, and I was meeting a friend in Thailand. Our schedules just happened to work out perfectly, and we had the same ideas for things to see across Indonesia, so we traveled for a while together.
First leg was a speedboat from Lombok back to Bali, where we spent one night at a nice enough hotel.