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Published: July 20th 2010
We'd been recommended the Gili/Lombok to Flores boat trip and despite it being a bit pricey (IR 1,500,00 or 100 quid each) we booked it as it sounded like an interesting adventure.
Boat Trip - Day 1
We got the morning shuttle boat from Gili Air to Bang Sai harbour on Lombok, then a minibus to beach resort Sengiggi, where we paid in full at the boat tour office and stocked up on essential supplies for the journey (beer, wet wipes and biscuits!!). We got chatting to a British guy who had just come back from the trip who said he was complaining because the boat was awful, the food was horrible, the crew very pervy over the girls and people's things were stolen off the boat. GREAT we thought, just what we want to hear but before we get going. What an idiot. Putting these accusations to the back of our mind we got another bus over to the east side of Lombok, the driver stopping off along the way at various shops and markets to buy the food for our trip - veggies, fruit, eggs, water, rice and live chickens in a sack!!
We got to
Labuhanlombok harbour and boarded the boat that would be our home for 4 days along with 11 other backpackers (5 Brits, 4 Dutch, 1 Swiss and 1 Argentinian). The boat was small and basic - it had a deck, upstairs covered sleeping area for all 13 of us, squat toilet (hole to the ocean!), small kitchen, downstairs engine room and bag storage and the bridge/helm (I had to look up nautical terms on Wikipedia as I was calling it the ''Captains steering wheel room'' and that just wouldn't do!!). There seemed to be over 10 crew and 3 kids, maybe this was going to be a bit crowded. So as all the bags and supplies were loaded the engines started and we got on our journey. The engine was very loud and was like a jack hammer. At first we thought we were going to need headache tablets but we soon got used to the noise and it didn't bother us. Once the sun had set we spent the night getting to know our fellow passengers, chatting to our guide Man and star gazing. The boat was dark because the captin needed to see where he was going and there
was no light pollution for the islands so we had the best view of the stars we've ever seen. We could see millions of twinkling stars, many shooting stars and the huge milkyway. We think we was a satalite moving too.
We woke the next morning anchored by Moyo Island. Because of the sheer distance we had to cover, we had driven through the night so none of us had had much sleep. Some adults and the kids had been dropped off so we had only 4 crew now and had more room to move. We had a lazy day of exploring Moyo island and bathing in the freshwater water fall there (our only shower for the trip!) and snorkling. That night we also had far to travel so the captain drove all night again - thank goodness for earplugs.
We woke to find our boat anchored by Laba Island, which was very volcano-looking and hilly so we all swam over to the island and walked to the top of a peak to see the amazing views over Sumbawa and Komodo Island. The water was bright blue and we could see that
the land around us was completely deserted. Next we went to and snorkled around the very pretty Red Beach on Komodo Island. The sand was flecked with tiny peices of red coral so the beach appeared to be pink. The current around here was very strong and all of us struggled to swim back to the boat so had to be rescued by the crew who threw us a life saving ring and pulled us in! The highlight of the day was when we visited Komodo National Park and went on a guided walk to try to spot the famous Komodo Dragons. It was mating season so we were told we might not see any (i.e. they were finding mates not hanging around the water hole like usual!). We got lucky though and saw a small female sleeping under a tree (~1m long) and a huge male hanging outside the cafe (~3m long). We have wanted to see these creatures for a long time so we were very pleased. That night we anchored by Kalong Island which is famous for it's colony of Flying Fox Bats that come alive at dusk. They flew over our boat looking for food (insects
and fruit) making eerie screeching noises like out of a horror movie. They were huge too and that steriotypical cartoon bat shape. We tried our hand at fishing with hand lines and the insides of one of the poor chickens but didn't get any bites. Very coo day thoughl.
After breakfast we went to dry and arrid Rinca Island to see more Komodo Dragons. There were more dragons on this Island according to the guide we had. We walked past an empty Dragon nest (dug holes in soil) and watched as a small Dragon raided a Megapodes nest and ate their eggs. Most of the Dragons were hanging out by the parks cafe and guesthouse (we presume they get fed!). We had to keep our distance because their mouths are full of bacteria and if bitten, the bite would quickly become infected and the wound would turn fatal. They normally eat deer and wild boar and kill their prey by biting them and then waiting for infection to set in. We were mindful of this and did run very fast when a high spirited large male made a run at our group. There were plenty of
rangers around so no one was really in any danger!
After we had taken loads of photos we made our way back to the boat and went on to pretty deserted Kelor Island for one last snorkle and swim before docking in Lubanbanjo, the port town on Flores Island and our final destination. We said a sad goodbye to our group and guide before going into town to find a hotel and had a well needed shower.
We really enjoyed the boat trip and would recommend it. The scenery in this part of Indonesia was jaw-droppingly gorgeous. The group we had were really nice and a good laugh. The boat was small but it was all we needed, everyone had enough room to do what they wanted. The sleeping area was cosy but again fine, we all slept like logs after doing so much in the day. The crew were great and the food was plentiful and tasty. The bloke who tried to ruin it for us at the start was clearly stupid.
Lubanbanjo turned out to be very expensive so we decided not to stay. We got tickets to Lombok and left the next day. Back to the
beaches for our last 2 weeks in Asia.......
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