As I haven't written you for quite a while,I need to think where do I start. I think I last left you on Gili Meno. We left in the morning to Lombok,which is a bigger island next to Bali but smaller than Bali itself. From Lombok,we hopped on a bus with all the other people we then spent the whole trip with. We had to drive across the whole island of Lombok which took hours and we got on the boat just about 1pm. On that day we did not do anything apart from sailing. Originally we were supposed to stop for a bit of snorkelling but I think we left the harbour too late so we didn't have time. Let me introduce you the people we spent the 4 days with. We had a German couple, 2 Dutch girls and a guy, an American 'not' couple, 2 girls from France, a guy from Canada, an other one from Andorra, an American, an English couple, 2 people from Malaysia and us. The crew was a people of 4 plus the captain, Sunny who was a very funny guy. The age gap was fairly big as the English couple was 18-19 while the oldest was about 36. But generally it was a mid 20's boat . It started very slow, everybody was to themselves in the beginning then we started to get to know each other and by the evening,we were all singing during dinner when Sunny started to play in his guitar and also sing -not always correctly -. The boat had an upper deck where we could sunbath pe all day and a covered part where we slept. It was so tight,we literally had to walk over each other. We only had a mattress and a blanket. As it got really hot in the night,some people started to take their mattress out and slept under the sky. The more people went out the more airy it got inside. The lower deck had an area where we ate on the floor and seats on the side but they were extremely uncomfortable to sit on. There was a bit of space in the front of the boat to sit and sunbathe. All in all,we could all have our little areas. Mine was mostly on the upper deck under the sun ☺️. The team was good but you could see the little groups who talked more to each other than others. The Americans,the Andorran and the French girls was one group while all of the others was an other. The young English couple didn't talk to anyone apart from the very last day. The Malaysian guy didn't speak English so he was to himself or talked sometimes with the Malaysian girl during the whole trip. The first evening, after the dinner singing and guitar ring session, we all watched the beautiful stars, had chats and just enjoyed the view. There were fruit bats -flying foxes- flying over the boat from one island to the next and sometimes they flew very close which was amazing to see. We stayed on the upper deck for quite late just talking and being amazed by the beautiful sky where we saw millions of stars as there was no light to disturb this beauty. We had to wake up every morning at 6.30am as breakfast was ready by 7am. The first night we didn't actually sail, we stopped before sunset and only left at 2am while we were still sleeping -or tried- and then again stopped a bit in the morning so we could have a little snorkelling. Breakfast was French toast with jam and a banana,it was actually very good. We left around 8am and the only stop on that day was a waterfall inside the jungle. We had to walk about 20mins to get a massive waterfall in lush jungle which had several pools to lay in and on the top of the waterfall we had an other pool where we spent a bit of time. It was amazing!!! The island called Moyo and I guess the waterfall has the same name. On that day that was the only activity, we went on a straight 18 hours sail after the waterfall which was a bit boring but we kind of boring so we were all over the place. Some of us -like me- stayed under the sun on the upper deck, some tried to find a bit of shade, some stayed downstairs and just payed on the floor chilling and others went to sleep under cover. We talked, ate and just had a rest. As we did nothing, after sunset we glazed the starts again, listened some good Spanish music and actually pretty much most of us went to sleep very early, 9-10pm. Lunch and dinner was always rice and noodles with vegetables. Not too vary. The 3rd day was the best, we did most of the activities on that day. We started with a little early morning exercise which was climbing a small mountain in Lava island where we got rewarded with the marvellous view. We could see the bay and also the whole Komodo island. It was running. We spent about an hour up there and we could cool ourselves with a half an hour snorkelling afterwards. As we were sailing all night, we got around Komodo by the early morning. Our next stop was our favourite spot, manta bay. They said, we will be able to see manta rays. I saw them on Animal Planet or Discovery Channel but let me tell you,nothing prepared me for what I have seen. We were still on the boat when someone said, look it's down there, it's huge. And whatever was it,it was indeed very big. So we were all like,nooo,it can't be it's too big. So put the snorkelling mask on and jumped in. As soon as I put my head in I saw one far swimming away from us. All the others started to swim after it but as I was the last one with Rich, we could hear the captain shouting, go to the other side. So we did and what we saw there under water just blew my mind!! The manta rays are massive...and when I say massive, imagine something 4m wide swimming towards you with their big open mouth...so I panicked and started to flap around. It went away. Richard's pipe didn't work so I gave him mine so he can see them as well. This time, it was an even bigger one swimming to us and then 2 and it was just amazing!!! They kept coming towards us and then swam away. Richard had the same first reaction as I, basically he shat himself when it started to swim around him. We saw about 4 of them just kept coming going without us even trying to find them. Then Rich went back to the boat and that when I saw the biggest creature in my life -after elephants-, a very huge, about 6m wide black manta -the others had a white belly-. And it was incredible. His mouth was so big, it could have swallow me completely. I had a really bad headache so I went back to the boat as well and we could see from up there how many rays were around. Everywhere we looked, we saw rays as they are coming up to the surface and back again. So we kept shouting to the others where to go. It was one of the best experience in my entire life. Since the experience we found out that we were extremely lucky because April is the month when the rays mate and that's when we can see them. Other months you have to be very lucky to see 1,let alone 5-6 like we did... Unfortunately my headache got worse, I actually felt physically sick so I had to go and lay down. I even missed lunch. The next stop was Flores's most famou pink beach where we had to swim out and we could spend there 2 hours snorkelling or just enjoying sun, whatever we felt doing. I personally felt doing nothing so while they all went out, I stayed on the boat 1 more hour and just tried to rest my headache out. It did work so after an hour I swam out as well and could see that the pink colour is caused by broken red coral pieces mixing with white sand. You could only see the pink colour from very close or when the water washed the sand. After an hour we all went back and we started to get to Komodo. We stayed by the island over night and seeing flying foxes again, we all had a very good day and evening. We talked a lot that evening with the Dutch girls. Next morning we all had to awake by 6am and after a nice banana pancake we all headed to see the dragons. First we stopped at Komodo National Park where they say you MIGHT see a Komodo dragon. Again, we were very lucky as after 10mins walk,we straight saw 3. We had 3 guide with us, one in the front,one in middle and one in the back. People do get hurt by komodos so they have to be very careful. We spent a good half an hour there taking pictures while the guide tried to make them move -he succeeded-. They are actually very big and aggressive,especially when there are more females than males. The walk on the island lasts 1-2 hours depending wiphich trail you take with the guides and we did see a few dragons here and there but nothing like the first encounter. After Komodo, we went to Rinca island where apparently we have more chance to see them. I know now why. My idea is,because Komodo is in the jungle so you go through a man made trail inside the jungle so you have trees and greenery on both sides,more difficult to spot them. While Rinca isn't in the jungle, it's more open so you can actually see them far away on the open area. That also might not be the reason but that's my hipothesis.☺️ We did see again 4 of them in Rinca around the guide station as they can smell food. One of the camels actually got really aggressive to and other hit her with her tail. It was pretty good to see it,even though I couldn't film it. The guide on Rinca was hilarious.
Here are the facts we learnt:
- Komodo dragons are cannibals,so when they were born, the babies are climbing onto the closet tree and they stay there hidden for 2-3! years eating insects and lizards. If a brother gets to the same tree,they also eat their weaker sibling...
- the female lays about 16-32 eggs and only about 2 survives - natural selection they say
- the female protects the eggs but not the babies
- they can start to mate when they are about 4 years old
- when they mate, the female can have sex 3-4 times a day with different male dragons and they do it for a week without stopping
- males can live for 50 years while female only lives till about 20-30 years
- they eat everything,even bones,so their poo is white because of the calcium inside
- there are 32 registered attack on Komodo since it opened -which isn't that bad-
- there was a Swiss couple who got lost in Komodo and they only found their remaining clothes and camera after days. Everything else was eaten
- Komodo dragon only attacks human when they feel threatened
- they only eat once a month like python and they can eat 80% of their body weight
- they are slow killers, they bite and the lots of different type of bacterias do the job, they can kill a cow writhing 4 days. So after the Bute the dragon just follows the weakend cow for days and then eats it
- a human probably would live for about 2 days depending on the blood loss without help
- with antibiotics you can be easily saved
The entire boat trip with food and all entry fees cost 1,800,000IDR/person. The park entry fee -if you wouldn't do the boat trip- to Komodo cost 225,000IDR plus 50,000IDR tax and 80,000IDR for guide which is a must. Boats from and to Komodo are about 350,000IDR including lunch and snorkelling but NOT the entry fees.
Rinca islands cost is 275,000IDR park fee and 80,000IDR for a guide. I'm not sure but I think if you buy a park fee in Rinca it should be also good to Komodo. Worth a check. In the end of the day the boat trip isn't that expensive to compare that only the park fees and guides cost half of it.
On that day we only got breakfast -banana pancake- and lunch and as we arrived to our final destination, Labuan Bajo in Flores, we could all go our separate way. We had the choice to stay one more night on the boat for free or we could have got accommodation. Few of us stayed on the boat -we thought to save some money- and most of the others went away. As soon as we sorted our stuff out on the boat,we went to the 'town' to find a travel office as we literally had no clue what we can do in 6 days on Flores. We knew it's beautiful around, I knew I wanted to see the Kelimutu volcano lakes but we heard everything is very far in distances we weren't sure if we can make it. Thankfully the guy in the office was very helpful so here is our plan: At the moment we are in Bajawa where we came from Labuan Bajo yesterday. It took us about 8 hours to get here and we had to change bus in Ruteng -where you can see the spider web rice paddy but apart from that nothing there-. There is no straight bus to Moni where we need to go if we want to climb Kelimutu. So we are staying 3 days in Bajawa which is a very cute little village, people are amazingly kind and nice, the scenery is beautiful and it's just really worth a trip. Today we just walked around in the village we took an off the beaten track route and got into a very nice area where people do farming and they are very nice towards us then tomorrow we are climbing Gunung Inerie which is a 2245m mountain and then just planning to motorbike around. Finally we leave the day after tomorrow to Moni and then go and see the tri-coloured lake. Accommodation is generally around 200,000IDR/night everywhere. That's the basic and we don't have a very nice room but it has a bed and shower.
I think, Indonesian people are far the kindest and nicest people we have ever met.☺️