Part 1: A 3 day cruise on an old fishing boat – Flores to Lombok

Ahead of me was Komodo Island with the tiny village of Komodo nestled along the coast. Around me the open sea. For three days and three nights a charming yet weather beaten old wooden fishing boat would be my home taking me from Flores to Lombok. We sailed through Komodo National Park, along the coast of Sambawa and ended in Lombok where I would start the trek back to Denpasar.

We left from Luab Bajo harbour and as we headed through the docklands I couldn’t help but look at the other boats and wonder whether we would make it. Thankfully, I was proved wrong, our boat was a sturdy, probably converted fishing boat and our crew was knowledgable, friendly and very able. The next three days would prove to be the highlight of possibly my whole South East Asian adventures.

Old volcanic Islands dot the sea covered in thick green bush or trees. Idyllic beaches on every island and flying fishes jump from under the boat, skimming across the top of the water at astonishing speed. To my fairy tale view on the world and bad eye sight, they looked like fairies flying out over the water.

Our first stop was Rinca, the smaller of the two islands where Komodo’s inhabit. Despite it being smaller it has a higher population of Komodo Dragons and animals in general – deer, wild horses, wild pigs, one clawed crabs and an array of birds . You land at a small dock and are met by the guides who will take you on a walk around the island. In parts looks like we have just walked straight into Jurassic Park. I was expecting the opening credit song and long necks to come strolling over the hill at one point.

The Komodo dragons were all lounging around the camp, hoping for scraps. They look so prehistoric and ridiculously lazy as they lie splayed out on the ground. Looking at them it is hard to believe that they can run 20km/hr. When they walk it is almost comical as their legs move as if not attached to the rest of their body. Circular motions with floppy feet is the only way I can explain it.

After the Rinca adventure we headed to the pink beach to get in an hour or so of snorkelling. It is pink due to the red coral pieces which are through out the sand. I got to swim with a turtle! Well he was swimming along and I stopped in awe and joined in beside him. He was so close it was amazing and his shell was beautiful! Turtles look so peaceful, wise and chilled as they glide through the water. And the coral! It was stunning! Vibrant colours – purples, blues, yellows, greens, oranges and reds – and filled with fish. There were Parrot Fish shimmering with all the colours of the rainbow, clown fish (Nemo) protecting their coral home, a Royal Blue Tang (Dory) and Moorish Idol (Gill)

Our dinners and lunches were all delicious and communal, made by our crew. Everything was laid out on the floor and we sat around cross legged and chatted away into the evening in a muddle of languages – French, English and Indonesian. The first night we anchored off the coast of Komodo Island, our first stop the following morning. Local children came out on canoes trying to sells us carvings, necklaces and bracelets from the village and we sat and took in the peaceful surroundings. Already looking forward to the next day!

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