Part 2 : A 3 day cruise on an old fishing boat – Flores to Lombok

Our second day began with an hour and a half walk on the island of Komodo. We only saw five dragons but these were much larger and alert and we were told to keep a wide berth when taking photos. One of our tour guides happily showed us a picture of another guide’s foot that had been attacked two weeks previously. The guide’s foot survived but it was very gruesome. Good start to the morning.

Banana pancakes for breakfast with condensed milk on top (surprisingly tasty) as we sailed toward what would be the highlight of my trip and possibly my whole travel adventures so far. We were headed to Manta Point to hopefully get a chance to see and swim with some manta rays. When we arrived as the current was incredibly strong the plan was laid out; dawn all the snorkel gear, spot the mantas and the boat will sail ahead of them, then you jump off the front of the boat and with the current and a bit of swimming end up near the mantas. The first time we jumped, for me, was a bit stressful. Jumping off things has never been a forté of mine and the first time was a bit if a mess as it was a scramble to get off the boat and then my mask didn’t sit properly so swimming and breathing proved complicated. The next time we just missed them, and third time we were lucky and got our own private underwater ballet! We jumped off the boat and four 3-4 meter wide mantas swam under us. We thought we had lost them but they were spotted ahead of the boat so we all swam over to them instead of getting on the boat and they stayed put. The four of them gracefully twirling and flipping around each other, dancing in unison. I was completely mesmerised. At times we were so close I felt like if I put my hand out I would have touched them. We were all on a massive high for the rest of the day!

Later in the afternoon we snorkelled again and I got to see the fattest fish I have ever seen! It looked like it had ate a tennis ball. The crew caught a large fish that evening, similar to a tuna but they didn’t know the name in English and the Indonesian name now escapes me. Whatever it was it was tasty. We ate it raw like sashimi and then mixed in with a stir fry for dinner with cabbage, chilli and garlic. Fresh fish, you can’t really beat it,

I fell asleep that night under a blanket of stars at the bow of the ship. Occasionally seeing a dolphin swim along side the boat, watching the constellations rise in the sky while the boat seemed to follow the silver path of the moon.

We sailed throughout the night and onwards the next day as we had to get all the way to Lombok the night of our third day. It was a long way to go but we were lucky to have a nice breeze, calm seas and two swimming stops on route. One of which was at a waterfall. Half way along Sambawa is a little island called Moyo where we stopped to have a waterfall shower. A half hour trek into the middle of the island revealed a massive waterfall with calcified rocks so you could actually climb up the rocks without slipping. It is still a little scary going down but worth it! There are fresh water pools all the way up the waterfall which you can jump into and at the bottom, a large “bathing” area with natural showers (mini waterfall’s). It felt like you were getting a back massage the same time as you were having a shower. It felt pretty great after three days on the boat even if we do get rinsed off after every dip in the ocean.

Our three day sailing adventure came to an end around 8pm as we arrived into port and said our goodbyes to two new friends as they headed off to catch flights and we settled down for our last night on the boat before heading off to our next destinations. The smell of banana pancakes woke me up and I quickly scrambled down to the kitchen area so they could teach me how to make the famous pancakes. I must say my pancake flipping skills need a bit of work. Finally, it was officially time to leave the boat. Say thank you’s, best of lucks, goodbyes and start the next journey. For me it would be a long 10-12 hour journey across Lombok by bus, car, and moto, then a ferry and finally onwards to Kuta by shared taxi for my last two nights in Indonesia. It really was the icing on the cake to an incredible first trip in that part of the world and has just made me want to go back for more and more and more.

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