Published: March 23rd 2012March 19th 2012
We left the Gili Islands in the morning, and while waiting for our boat we watched as the clouds started rolling in. The wind had been blowing for some time making the 20min boat ride to the main island of Lombok rather treacherous on our small and overfilled boat. I'm not religious but I was quietly praying we'd make it across safely as I clutched the 13kg of my life that I brought with me from canada...knowing full well it would be gone if, on one of these waves, we tipped just a little bit too far. We finally made it across as the rain started falling, but couldn't pull up to the shore because the clever boatman decided to squeeze our boat in between a dozen other crowded and swaying boats, to the other boatmen's heavy disapproval. Once that was sorted out it was pissing rain an we were being swarmed by local 'porters' who, if you're no careful, would just grab your bags and run off the boat then asking for money. We eventually fought through the mob and made our way to the rendezvous point.
Here we hopped in a van to drive across Lombok to get
to where the boat, our home for the next 3 nights, was located. We picked up some chickens along the way and eventually made it to the boat and hopped on. So a little background info; when we decided to do this boat ride there were two options: the $200 boat that served western food and was meant to make tourists comfotable and the $150 one that served indonesian food and was a little more representative of SE Asia. We were feeling adventurous and opted for the second. When we got on this boat there were no cushions or chairs so we had to sit on the hard deck for the next 4 days. There was also only one toilet for ten people (although in the high season they have 18 people on this boat...yikes!), no sink to wash your hands, the thinnest little mattresses to sleep on in an area above the 'bridge' that even I couldn't squat down without hitting my head. All that mixed with the fact that it's still rainy season and rained like mad every night made it an interesting few days.
After the first night I was mostly used to all the rocking
and layed down on the deck to watch the ceiling when the waves got particularly bad. During the days we did a lot of really nice snorkeling, walked to some waterfalls, visited Rinca Island and saw some Komodo dragons (which were just lying down the whole time) and visited a local village along the way to get a new part for the engine. While the boat wasn't the most comfortable, the food was fantastic. We had fish bought from fishermen along the way, various indonesian dishes and two meals of chicken. I also got to watch a chicken being killed and skinned; I figured if I'm going to be okay with eating it I should at least be okay with what's really happening to the animal. It's a good thing I wasn't squeamish because the guys preparing it started making the head talk and were making the legs walk around. Silly boys.
Eventually we landed on the island of Flores in Labuan Bajo. We only intended to stay here a day to scuba dive Komodo National Park then leave, but we couldn't get a flight out to Ende when we wanted so we stayed a total of 4 nights.
The first day we went diving and it was the best diving we've done to date...more what we were thinking the great Barrier Reef would look like. The area is filled with islands surrounded by coral reefs, fish, sea tirtles, sting rays and even manta rays (which we didn't chance to see unfortunately). We enjoyed it so much (and now had the exta time) so we went diving the second day as well. The coral wasn't as nice but we saw a lot of different things so we still enjoyed it. Next day we were pampered at the spa for 4h which only cost $37 each, and the day after that we mulled around for the morning and headed to the airport for Ende.
There's not much in Ende, it's a city you go to to get somewhere else. We were on our way to Moni to go up Mt. Kelimutu to see the tri-coloured lakes. If you haven't heard of these remarkable lakes, they're three crater lakes that are each a different colour and change every so often. Two of the lakes change quite frequently between green, blue, white, yellow, red and brown while the other tends to
stay black. That's until February when the black lake turned dark green (kind of like a normal lake) and the other two turned blue-green (the normal volcanic lake color). Sooo weren't too happy about this news, but we had come this far so we went up anyways. Unfortunately it's still rainy season and when we went up you couldn't see 10ft through the fog. The wind was strong enough it would blow and clear the fog enough to see each of the lakes individually, but this on top of the fact that the lakes were all green wasn't so nice. Que sera, sera! We headed back to Ende and then flew out to Jogjakarta where things picked up a little.
There are more photos below