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Published: September 13th 2014
Our magic spot in Lehok Ginggho
Naomi & Alex on beach on left; Luna Ray on right
The next day (6th Sept) in the bay Lehok Ginggho we took Luna Ray up the northern branch and explored behind a small island, making for a very well protected anchorage. S8 41.022 E119 38.897 In the western gap between the island and Rinca was a large expanse of shallow turquoise next to a lovely beach… a little spot of paradise. We explored another inlet and Naomi caught some bait fish off the dinghy with the cast net. Then at the next little headland we ducked our heads as we entered a remarkable little cave and landed the dinghy on the tiny beach inside. There was another entrance from the water from the next beach along and also from land, a small area of flat ground with cliffs enclosing it.
We had found an amazing spot but felt compelled to leave and headed out the bay the next morning and around the bottom of Padar island, feeling some of the Indian Ocean swell roll us around. We met turbulent water around the south of the island and headed north to Pink Beach on Komodo Island. The stunning jagged mountains rising up from the sea was our view in
almost every direction. Along the way the engine played the same trick that it did 1-2 weeks ago, revved up a little high and then cut out. Was able to rebleed and restart her again fairly quickly, whilst Naomi was able to maintain our course slowly with about 5 knots of wind and a little push from the current.
As we neared the beach a local guy came out to direct us to a mooring buoy just around the headland from the beach. There were supposed to be several at the beach but the couple remaining were apparently too shallow. This was a disappointing as the beach was looking very un-pink, and apparently its best appreciated at sunset and we couldn’t see it where we were stopped.
Predictably the local guy then offered us the usual variety of services- fuel, water, laundry, wooden dragons - none of which we needed. A few other friends came to try their luck too while I hurried us into the dinghy and around to the beach before the tide picked up and made snorkelling a struggle.
Snorkelling on the west side of the bay was very good though you had to
keep an eye out for the numerous tour boats coming in and out. Naomi went for a splash too and said it was the best she had seen - like swimming in a giant fish tank. The beach was more noticeably pink when sat on it as you could see the flecks of pink coral in the sand.
After lunch we took the long dinghy ride across the bay to the Komodo Island visitor centre, just to have a nose around and perhaps see some Komodo dragons actually on Komodo. After a chat with souvenir hawkers we were asked if we wanted a ranger as a guide, but we explained we had done that on Rinca and just wanted to stroll around but they explained we couldn’t go far without a ranger (seems silly as you walk anywhere you like if you land on other parts of the island). Soon after he then offered to take us to the kitchen where the dragons often hang out for “no ticket”. I think he was just keen to play with Alex.
So we took the short stroll there and saw four dragons, and generally they were larger than the Rinca
not so Pink Beach
wild boar bottom left
Island ones. One lay atop another!, just below the kitchen entrance where a few indonesians hung out smoking and joking. A couple of “wild” boar were foraging nearby, and a deer strolled by too. They denied feeding the animals and apparently they just stayed there attracted to the smell of the food.
We dared visit the souvenir stalls but quickly became so harassed we bolted back to the dinghy.
After a quick stop to pick up drinks and snacks at Luna Ray we headed around to Pink Beach for sunset to see it in all it glory. It still wasn’t very pink but it was a fun spot for a sundowner. We watched a wild boar roam the beach and a tour boat struggling for 20 minutes to pull up it anchor.
When we left after breakfast the next morning I still hadn’t decided where our next destination should be. I was keen to visit one of the two resort islands to organise a day’s diving but knew also we couldn’t really afford the time. We threaded our way between the island’s reefs and the beach, out into the main channel and the wind picked
up nicely. As we sailed north I could detect from the water the wind was about to drop out so I let it decide our fate, and turned the boat more into wind as we headed east toward the dive resorts.
As we took our next turn north between two islands the wind dropped from 18 to 4 knots in a matter of seconds, so we motored the remaining 10 miles to Kanawa island - a place a website reports having the best snorkelling in SE Asia. We managed to pick up a mooring amongst a few tour boats just off the resort jetty.
Ashore I went for a snorkel - it was very good - we had some lunch (overpriced and not tasty) and I booked 3 dives for the next day. The resort is a cool low key place aimed at backpackers with about 15 chalets, 8 bale’ (small huts with blinds for walls) and tents under small thatched roofs. After some playing around with Alex in a hammock, I went to snorkel again where I had been told was the best spot but by then the tide was so far out I could get over
the reef. 9th Sept
Naomi dropped me off and I left with the dive boat with 6 customers and 4 instructors - a great ratio - I was a little nervous as I haven’t dived in four years and the sites here are notorious for being challenging because of the strong currents. Two of the planned sites were changed on the day due to tidal conditions (seems they struggle to predict them as much as us) but this suited me well as now the first dive was an easy one called Mini Wall. Saw a group of 40 large Bump Nose Parrot fish at the rescue stop. The next site was Castle Rock which can have strong currents so we had to make my first “negative entry” which means you jump in the water with a deflated BCD and immediately roll forward and descend head first to get out of the surface current. 20 metres down we met by 8 Black Tip Reef sharks milling around the many other fish. We kicked our flippers continuously to hold ourselves in place to watch them, before finishing the rest of the dive. The last dive after lunch was “The
Cauldron” or “Shootover” which was a between 2 islands also at the NE tip of Komodo Island - you could see the current turbulence on the water’s surface. Here we followed the coral down to 20 m, gradually came around to the foot of a crevasse of reef where we sat and watched the mass of large fish circling above us. We then swam up the crevasse, and rose further over the rocks to only 5 m depth where the current really picked up so we flew over, and then we dropped down again and a huge manta ray glided overhead. Following the guide’s lead we all turned to cling onto the rockface against the current but every handhold I grabbed came away. I swam desperately to find a good hold, breathing rapidly and almost got swept away but the other guide stretched out his hand for me to hold. With this I found a solid bit of rock as he slipped back. I was about to shake his hand free but now realised I was holding him! We all gripped on while the ray gracefully swam around overhead. I think I inhaled half a tank in about a minute
so after nosing around a turtle head deep in coral the dive was over. I have never been so panicked in a dive but the variety of fish, sense of flying over the undulating terrain, and colourful clear coral made this possibly my best dive ever.
We got back mid afternoon so I went for a snorkel before the tide dropped too far again and the coral here was wonderful - it was like a neatly manicured aquarium.
On the 10th we set off after breakfast, came around the headland of the island of Sabajor Besar and sailed behind 3 other rally boats that had anchored there. We had a good 15 knot breeze on the beam which made for beautiful sailing as we crossed the passage back to Komodo Island. We all came around its northeast tip and down into a very well protected bay. A local fisherman directed us to the best spot to anchor before coming over to sell us some wooden dragons. S8 29.734 E119 33.029
There were two islands just north of the bay and it was the most northerly of the two where I had done my last dive
rushing through the gap
the narrow pass between the islands
yesterday. We took the dinghy to the nearer gap and I did some drift snorkels through it. The southern edge was quite dull, but the northern edge had good coral and I enjoyed lazily flying over it. On my second run through though I got a surprise as I saw about six sharks that seemed to be squabbling over something. For some reason this sight wouldn’t worry when diving but when snorkelling, perhaps because I am alone, it strikes fear in me. Then one of the beefier ones that looked about two metres long started edging my way so I called Naomi over and quickly jumped into the dinghy. That was enough snorkelling for that day.
We stopped at a nice beach where I stood on something and got a nasty scratch on the arch of my foot, and relaxed on Luna Ray the rest of the day.
The next day we left casually after breakfast at 8:30 as we needed good visability to come through the gap in the island. At least we had had a good chance to survey it the day before when I was snorkelling. I stood on the boom directing Naomi
again between the coral edges as we got pushed through by the rising tide. Then we had a quite a pleasant sail across the bay with plans to get to Gili Bantar Island 20 miles away or the next anchorage another 15 miles after if things went well.
The wind slowly died off so the motor went on but as we came around the headland there was 15 knots plus on the nose and choppy seas so rather than battle into this we decided to cut the day short and pulled into Montjo bay (NW Komodo Island), dropping anchor in 14m of water just off the reef. Another lovely spot surrounded by the steep autumnal hills of Komodo, pale beaches and turquoise water over reef.
I went for a snorkel, it was pretty good, and then took a walk a up the hill while Noami & Alex went beach combing. Our last day at Komodo Island.
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