Caroline and Sven's further adventures 2016 travel blog

Our easy lunch of coconut plus noodle soup.

Everyone helps to haul out the returning fishing boats.

Sunset from the Sunshine Restaurant on the beach where we appreciated ice...

Lombok potter. Had to spin the wheel by hand.

Recently planted rice.

Our cruise boat at anchor while we snorkeled.

Lunch on the deck that doubled as our "bedroom" at night.

Local fisherman.

Komodo dragon heading off to the water hole.

Taken by the ranger, his stick at the ready. A lazy, well...

On Komodo Island, part of which is a National park.

Keeping cool in the perfectly clear water.

Bali, Lombok and Flores all have these tsunami warning signs anywhere near...

Our bus to Bajawa being loaded.

We are ready for 2016 and many adventures!

Happy New Year to you all! We are in Bajawa on the island of Flores, a smallish town 1200 metres up in the mountains surrounded by volcanoes. Very lush and green and away from the high humidity on the coast. There is a Catholic church and a mosque in the town so not sure yet how New Year's Eve will be. The shops are doing a roaring trade in fireworks and we are hearing and seeing some of these being let off already.

We enjoyed our "cruise" to Flores Island from Lombok. We booked "deck class" (as opposed to cabin class) and joined 13 others sleeping on the upper deck each night on provided mattress, pillow and sheet. It was actually much nicer being up in the breeze. Each morning we stacked up our mattresses and that deck became our dining room. It never ceases to amaze me what delicious food can come out of such a small kitchen. We were 35 people altogether with 8 crew. There were really interesting people to talk to from many different countries - Korea, USA, Australia, UK, Spain, Czech Republic, Germany, Singapore, Finland, China, Malaysia, France.....and 2 kiwis!

Our first stop was a little island off Sumbawa where we snorkeled amongst a myriad of coloured fish and some interesting coral. We walked just 10 minutes further into the island where we swam in a lake that has formed in a volcano crater. The water was luke warm (just like jumping into a bath) and very salty - floating was a breeze. It was eerie knowing that the lake was about 200 metres deep and to think what was heating it!! They are unsure why the lake should be salty as there is no known connection to the sea - some process of osmosis we were told. Indonesia, being on the ring of fire has many volcanoes, 130 of which are active.

Komodo Island was the highlight of the trip where we saw the komodo dragons, about 4-5 metres long when fully grown. There are approximately 3,000 on the island. We were accompanied by 7 rangers, each armed with a long forked stick. The komodo dragons have long forked yellow tongues which dart in and out and they can smell up to 5km distance. The females lay between 15 and 30 eggs and incubation takes 8 months. They are cannibals and often eat their babies, hence for the first 3 years of their lives, the young komodo dragons live up palm trees. The island has introduced deer, wild pigs, goats and cats which the komodo dragons hunt and eat. They will bite a deer, often on the leg, stalk it and in a day or two when it succumbs to infection from the bite, the dragon enjoys its meal. They only need to eat about every 30 days and are solitary reptiles. On the island the males out number the females by 4 : 1, something they can't explain.

We had another snorkeling stop at a picture perfect beach - clear, azure water and pinkish sand. Then it was on to Flores Island, a last farewell dinner on the boat and an air conditioned room in the hot, humid port town of Labuang Bajo.

Then yesterday we had an epic 10 hour local bus journey to bring us to Bajawa. When we got on the bus, there was already large sacks of garlic all the way up the aisle which we had to clamber over to get to our seat. The bus then continued around town adding sacks of potatoes on top of the garlic with people, babies and children on top of that once all the seats were filled, live chickens, a puppy, lots of produce and luggage on top, and 3 people standing in the stairwell in front of us!! We had sore butts by the end of the day but it was worth it to catch glimpses of daily life on Flores. The bus climbed up steep hills with hairpin bends, down the other side to rice fields on the flat, then back up over the next mountain.

Oh, by the way, we've just booked a flight back to Labuang Bajo!!

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