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Komodo

Around the world travel, Backpacking, Bucket List, Flores, Indonesia, Komodo, Lombok, long term travel, Southeast Asia, Travel

The Slow Boat to Flores

 

After a day of catching our breath and doctoring our hiking wounds in Labuan Lombok, we set out on what felt like the never-ending journey to Flores. We left the guesthouse at 4pm and caught a 6pm bus/boat which we travelled on all night, finally arriving in Bima at 4am. Here we sat at a dusty bus station, which consisted of a slew of a deserted busses lined up in a row. Directly across from this was a row of tables where we could at least get a cup of coffee. We sat and waited for this promised bus to show up, and at around 6am, it did. We boarded and began the next drive to Sape. It was a gorgeous drive through windy roads at sunrise, but I was fighting the onset of sleep, and deliriousness won this time.
In Sape, we bought tickets for the 8am ferry to Labuan Bajo. The temperature was already creeping up and none of us had got much sleep to speak of. We were hungry, hot and dirty as we boarded the last ferry. Once on the boat, we learned that the journey would take about 8 hours. As we left the port, I couldn’t help but think that I might be able to swim faster than this gargantuan boat was going to get us there. I had never felt so disgusting in my whole life. I’d been in the same clothes for 36 hours. I wanted nothing more than to scrub myself clean, shave my legs and clean out the black grime from under my fingernails. It was going to be a long, hot boat ride.
It was just that, but arriving in Labuan Bajo felt like some sort of liberation, and knowing we were going to be there for at least 5 days without having to move again sounded like heaven. First things first, we found ourselves a small garden bungalow nestled on a hill, overlooking the harbor and providing stellar views of the surrounding mountainous landscape. Secondly, we found a laundromat!! And then we got ourselves cleaned up… with a nice, cold shower!
Now it was time to get down to business and set up the diving for the week. We organized a couple of days of diving with Dive Komodo. The first day was an experience. Our first dive was in some of the strongest currents I’ve ever dived in. The vis wasn’t great either, so overall it was a bit of a disappointment, especially paired with the expectations I’d had of diving in this part of the world. The second site was actually called the “washing machine,” because it is known for a churning current at the beginning of the site, one that literally swoops you up and in , and throws you out on the other side. We were diving with, and not against the current this time, so it was more of an enjoyable dive. However, nothing compared to the second day of diving.
We set out to Manta Point for our first dive- a site notorious for manta rays. Before even getting into the water, we could see the rays swimming up to the surface to feed. After diving along with 3 or 4 of these majestic creatures and taking in some beautiful sprawling coral, turtles and sharks, we ended our dive. Back up at the surface, we spotted about 20 rays, and jumped in to snorkel with them during our surface interval. They are such beautiful animals to watch glide through the water.

 

After a couple more dives, we began our way back to land, making a stop at Komodo National Park on Rinca Island to see the komodo dragons. I’m not gonna lie, these creatures freaked me out a little bit. Before we arrived, one of the larger and older komodo dragons decided he was going to eat a monkey for lunch. This took place near the park HQ and someone had managed to capture the footage on his camera… Somehow, after seeing that, the walk through the park to see them up close made me a little uneasy. Still, we went and made it back alive, and spotted about 10 of these beasts on our trek.

 

We had about a 1-1/2 hour boat ride back to land after this, during which we managed to catch the sunset, and we topped off the evening with dinner and beers with the dive shop crew. On the agenda next- a couple days of chilling out and preparing for the next grueling journey to Moni. Oh, Indonesian transport, you’re killing me!