Komodo and more diving!

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May 14th 2011
Published: May 15th 2011
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Well here I am 12hours away from London... and whilst i’m really looking forward to seeing friends and family, visiting my favourite sushi place and wandering around the streets of London, I will miss Indonesia and all the amazing places I’ve been.. but then again I’ve spent more money in the last month than I have in the last 5 months put together ... however that is mainly due to the fact that I’ve been diving in some of the best sites in the world.. and as we all know, diving is not a cheap sport - can it even be called a sport?.. not sure.. ok.. not a cheap hobby!! So i reckon it may be time to earn some money!!

So. In the last blog I put up endless underwater photos but it just goes to show how enthusiastic I was about the diving (and in particular the macro life at Lembeh) However for the past week I have again been diving... but this time with the big stuff in Komodo. I promise not to put up quite so many photos though!!

Well I left you on my return from Sulawesi. The return flight to Denpasar (Bali) and then the onward flight to Labuanbajo, Flores was not nearly as eventful as the flight to Sulawesi (remember Sylvie and the job offer?) However I did sit next to a man who, despite my trying to read my book insisted on asking me question, which I replied to politely but abruptly and after many furtive looks my way, and random questions he asked for my email. Now I had literally only spoken 8 words to him and here he was asking for my email address... why?! Now I don’t like to lie but I was in a tricky predicament! I didn’t want to offend him as although he was annoying he was nice enough but I also didn’t want to give him my email. So I told him I didn’t have one. He looked shocked and asked if I was on facebook – I said no, he looked even more shocked – he asked if I had a mobile number – I said no, he looked even more shocked!! Then he said, “how do people contact you?!” Now this is why I don’t like lying!! Clearly I was caught in a lie as I don’t think there is a person on this planet that doesn’t have some way of communicating with people. As he sat looking expectantly at me I was desperately thinking of how I could get out of this without telling him I’d lied!! So in a rather quiet voice I admitted I did have an email, but that it was work address – I thought that might put him off asking for it... it did not. So eventually I caved in and gave him my hotmail address!! That’ll teach me. You might think that would be the end of it. I hoped it was... but no. A few more minutes passed and then he asked when my birthday was (at this point I was beginning to wonder why he wanted all this information and what damage he could do with it!!) I told him July – being purposefully vague. He didn’t get the hint and asked when – I reluctantly told him the 20th knowing what would come next... yup... he asked what year... at which point I told him it was a secret, turned away and left him apologising. Thank god for short flights as we then started to land so I closed my eyes and pretended to sleep (which is what I should have done from the start... I know for next time!! Weird.

On the flight from Denpasar to Labuanbajo I met a lovely Canadian guy called Frank who I befriended and the two of us went on the search for some cheap diving. I remembered I’d met a guy (called Guy!) in Pulau Weh who worked for a company called Dive Komodo, so we headed there and half an hour later were booked up for a 4 day, 3 night dive safari (different from a liveaboard because whilst you sleep on the boat, you don’t have a cabin you just sleep under the starts.. hence its value for money!) and we also had a free place to stay with the lovely Guy... I love travelling!!

The next 4 days were a blur of diving, eating and sleeping. And I don’t say that lightly. ALL I did was dive (3 or 4 times a day) eat (really good food considering it was cooked in a tiny room at the back of the boat on a single hob, and there were 11 of us!) and slept (the first night it rained so we got a bit wet ! but apart from that it was great... we had mattresses and pillow, but no walls so to speak!.. it was great.) So eating, diving, sleeping. The diving in Komodo is lovely, it has the most beautiful soft corals I’ve ever seen... teeming with reef fish. And then there were the mantas (6 or 7 on one dive) and the sharks (white tips) and giant trevallys. My favourite dive was probably an early morning dive on the second day when we went to Castle Rock and just hung out as we watched endless sharks and giant trevallys having their breakfast right in front of us! There were so many fish and the corals were so beautiful... it was breathtaking. By the end I was absolutely shattered. My second favourite dive was probably one where we had some really strong current and were literally whisked along a lovely site... or perhaps it was the night dive where we saw lots of macro stuff, including nudis mating... or was it the dive at Manta Point where we saw a line of mantas gliding along a foot above our heads?.. You get my point... it was great!!

Once back on dry land I had a few days before I was flying out, and after saying goodbye to Frank (who it turned out, had met Sandra – remember the girl I travelled round Sumatra with? – And was going to meet her in Lombok!! It’s a small world! ) I hung out at Guy’s place, slept and then hung out at a pool at a local hotel with his flat mate, Erin, and her parents!! It was lovely. I don’t think Labuanbajo is a particularly nice place, but when you have lovely people to hang out with it doesn’t matter... and having only met Guy briefly before, it was really nice of him to let me stay at his. Erin even gave me clean Alibaba pants (I threw my blue ones away... it was a sad day?!!) and a clean t-shirt, so that I wouldn’t be spending the next 4 days travelling in smelly clothes! Bless her. I did another moped ride with all my bags on my back/knees/arms... hysterical... and not entirely safe, but I decided that if I fell of f the back I would only land on my rucksack so probably wouldn’t hurt myself!! .. Brilliant logic!! There was also a lovely man who gave me a lift on his moped (lots of moped taxis there; called Ojeks) and when I tried to pay him, he told me he wasn’t an Ojek but just wanted to help... and he refused to take my money!! What a nice man.

And here I am. On my way home. The first stop was Bali, where I spent the night in Kuta, and met up with a friend from Lanta, (Ollie) and bought endless presents to take back with me. Then from Bali I flew to Bangkok where I spent the day with a friend of mine (John) who is teaching over there. And from Bangkok I fly to Heathrow via Mumbai. Four days of travelling.

It has been an amazing trip. I’ve met some amazing people. I’ve had some incredible experiences.

This is the life. And what a life!!!

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