Posted: 21st November 2011.
Been 9 or so days since one of my lengthy updates that you all love so much and we have left Flores, bound for North Komodo today. We have stopped at little bays for overnighters or to have our little domestic days where we do the laundry etc. We stopped at one place and scrubbed the hull …much needed…I don’t think I’ve seen Cam move so quickly as when he saw the baby sea snake!!! Screamed like a girl, hauled himself up into the dinghy in about two seconds flat and left me in the water to deal with it….what a gentleman, and so brave…apparently when it comes to snakes its every man for himself!!!
Flores has been absolutely picturesque if you can look past the pollution and the poverty and like most Indonesians exceptionally friendly and helpful people. We are however very glad to be moving on. The north coast of Flores was becoming extremely monotonous and after a month we are looking for a change of scenery.
Since I last wrote we have stopped at a few places for diving or just overnight anchoring, but the two most memorable places have been Reo and Labuanbajo. Reo was our first stop..with plans just to anchor overnight and get some miles under us due to our time limits. We decided to explore a little further and followed the river course in our dinghy finding a place to tie up and walked into a very busy little town. On arrival we were greeted by a guy who spoke quite good english who directed us to the local Sunday markets which were in full swing and we managed to ‘Berapa hargunya?’ our way through them buying beans, lemongrass, pumpkin, noodles, beer and soft drink…i think for a change we actually made it through relatively cheaply.
We were most definitely the star attractions with many ‘where you from’s’ being asked, and a developing trail of children giggling behind us!! Reo was also the place we experienced our first monsoonal downpour. Each evening about 5pm we start to hear thunder rumbling in the distance, the humidity really kicks, the clouds turn black and by nightfall the sky is electric, with flashing lightning..it is quite spectacular! We managed to put 100 litres into the water tanks in 1 hour and the bilge pump in the dinghy was working overtime!
After leaving Reo our next big town stop has been Labuanbajo. I must admit after Larantukah (our last big port/ferry stop)I was a little apprehensive about going into town. Larantukah was a seedy little town and I was of the mind that Labuanbajo may have been the same. How very wrong I was…Labuanbajo is a great little town, quite modern by Indo standards but not as modern as Ubud or Denpasar..definitely not as busy! We never got hassled once to buy anything, the people were very friendly and left you to explore for yourself. Labuanbajo is the main stopping off point for people to see the Komodo dragons and dive Komodo and many of the Indo’s speak fluent english…the town itself has many European influences such as a divine little bakery where we bought the most sensational wholemeal vienna loaf with pumpkin seeds in it (whoopdy doo you say….but when you’ve been eating nothing but flat bread for the last month its a HUUUUUUGE deal!!!)..we even went back the next day and bought more, had the best brekky burger and bumped into a pair of aussie ladies in their late 50’s from Canberra there (tube of vegemite in hand!!!). We also ate at a place called ‘the lounge’ who without a doubt made the best pizza we have ever eaten…weeell except for a coriander pesto and prawn pizza from Little Creatures. We walked throughout the town and discovered lots of fresh veges and then the fish market…..the fish market is a smell to behold and not for ones with weak stomachs, the smell of dried fish, mixed in with the flies on the not so fresh fish is quite unimaginably bad!! We were very lucky to get out of there without a second dose of travellers gut just from looking!!
From Labuanbajo we moved on down to Rincah Island to see if we could get a glimpse of the dragons. Fantastic spot to see them and good to see they have taken some initiative with the rubbish here as well…not one piece seen on the island and very little in the surrounding waters. We only had a short hop of 12 or so miles from LB to Rincah so arrived around lunchtime and took the dinghy in to see if we could hire a guide. Got pinned by the harbourmaster at the jetty who wanted to see and stamp all of our boats paperwork (we were in the dinghy??) so Cam had to go back and get our passports etc etc 50,000Rp (just under $6AUS) later we were allowed to enter the park with ranger Bruno as our guide…20,000 each for park entry, 20,000 each conservation fee, 50,000 for the camera (good thing we didn’t have a handycam as that would have been 150,000), 50,000 for walking the trail and another 50,000 for something we are still trying to work out what its for??
We paid our guide an ext ra 100,000 as was expected (but he was extremely informative and a very good guide) so we managed to blow a total of 380,000Rp for the day…the grand total of about $45AUS…we can handle that!!! So we saw many dragons(bloody big bungarras!!), monkeys and water buffalo, even managing to watch a confrontation between two dragons and a buffalo down at a watering hole… the buffalo didn’t look like he gave a crap about the komodo being in his pool he just wanted reprieve from the stinging flies. We also saw a very weak and sick looking buffalo with a bleeding wound on its back leg which had obviously had an altercation with a dragon..poor bugger..it takes them nearly a month to die apparently before the dragons actually eat them…okay for the dragon who only needs to eat once a month!
Anyhoo enough on the biology lesson…it was well worth it and a most enjoyable day, very hot and we walked about 5km…poor Cam reckons he is going to fade away if we keep doing all this exercise..personally I think the beer will win hands down! Quite frankly I think he needs to be kept busy to the point of exhaustion as idle hands do the devils work and he has managed in one evening to wipe all of our waypoints and somehow almost completely stuff up our chartplotter…..the other day he set off the man overboard alarm off and couldn’t turn it off….it was one button…what would he do without me!! He is currently sitting at the helm trying to undo his handywork manual in hand…if only he had thought to use it earlier!!!
Anyhoo beautiful people we are about 1/3 of the way to our destination today (Northern tip of Komodo Island), a recommended dive spot according to ‘101 Anchorages of Indonesia’, I had better go and check that the captain hasn’t been left to his own devises for too long as anything could happen!!
much love to all,
Nikki (and Captain Courageous, or was that Curious?)