As a right of passage heading east across Indonesia it seems, there are a few ways that you can get there. You can fly. You can take the overland bus for 3 days. Or you can be all ‘bad ass’ and get on a boat. Being the ‘bad ass’ that I am, I chose to go boating… drugged to the eyeballs on anti seasickness tablets and antibiotics from my recurrent tonsillitis of course, just in case I didn’t want to know where it was that I actually was.
Bec and I got picked up in Sengiggi and transported down to Bangsal to wait for the boat. More and more of the people that were to be sailing with us started arriving too and it looked like there were going to be about 16 of us. Eventually they ferried us off down the road to get us started sailing. We thought we were going to be cool like the boys from the Lonely Island, but alas it was not to be….
One of the boys dubbed it ‘the floating prison’ because it didn’t look like much. And as much as the others moaned and complained, I didn’t really feel that bad about it. That and the captain and his men are super proud of their boat I am sure and it would be impolite to say offensive things about it given their pride.
So all aboard. And onwards we sailed. The first day was not too much. We kept on for six hours before we stopped off the northern coast of Lombok for a swim. During this time most people sat out on the front of the boat and played the ‘get to know you’ game. Lunch was served and was quite good actually. A lot of traditional foods and quite hefty serving sizes too.
The first night we spent sailing through the night asleep upstairs on the plastic mattresses crammed next to each other on the top level of the boat. Given my excessive school teacher preparedness, I pulled out my mosquito net and my sleep sheet and laid those out for some extra comfort and protection against the mosquitoes. I slept quite well considering.
The second day was to see even more sailing and some more swimming and snorkeling. We stopped off at a beach in the morning to go for a walk around and explore some of the coral reef around the area with the snorkel. We also stopped off at a waterfall which we hiked to and sat around in. It was just beautiful and you could sit in a pool at the bottom of it and relax.
More sailing through the night and this puts us towards the more interesting areas of the sail and what we came for. Day three. The first part of the day was spent around Manta Point hunting for the manta rays to swim with. There were about twenty of them and they were so incredible and majestic as they floated through the ocean. At some points they came to the surface and flapped their sides to make waves before heading back under the surface. Incredible animals.
Speaking of incredible animals, the afternoon was spent on Komodo Island trekking around. The thing that I came here for. After all of my time spent watching David Attenborough documentaries on the venomous spit ridden horrors, I had to go and see them. There was no option. Excitedly we started on the long walk around the island and it took us maybe ten minutes before we spotted our first one. I managed to get my picture taken with it from about a meter behind the tail. Quite daring considering what I have seen of them and understand of them. Some of the other people didn’t seem bothered with this at all and were getting way too close that it scared me. But we all wound up safe.
We saw a few more dragons around the island just chilling out and a baby one going for a walk about before we got back on the boat. The last night on board was to be spent floating in a cove instead of driving so we could all get a decent sleep after what was to be the ‘party’. An uneventful session of drinking that lead me to call it a night and get some rest.
The last day was visiting Rinca Island to see some more komodo dragons. The views over the island were spectacular and we saw more dragons here than we did on Komodo Island. It really is an incredible place and looks so barren compared to the islands of Lombok and Sumbawa that we sailed past along the way to get here.
We stopped also at a pink beach along the way. There are not many of these in existence, made pink by the crushed up fragments of pink coral from the region getting mixed in with the sand. It really is a stunning sight.
The last stop was a white sand beach for some more snorkeling in which we saw a baby sting ray before heading to our port of Labuan Bajo to say goodbye and disembark. The boat trip was over and it was time to go find a room, a shower, and the next adventure.