Of Dragons and Russian Underpants
Labuan Bajo Travel Blog› entry 35 of 49 › view all entries
Apologies for the slightly odd title, but all shall be explained... I spent 4 days and 3 nights (could have spent night 4 on the boat but 3 was enough!) on the boat trip from Senggigi in Lombok to the Komodo Islands, finishing in Labuan Bajo, Flores. To say the boat failed to meet our expectations slightly would be an understatement....all 18 of us spent the first half hour or so making comments along the lines of 'what have we let ourselves in for?', 'we're supposed to sleep here?!', 'thats the toilet?!' etc. I'll upload some pictures of the boat when I get a chance but yes, very basic! At night we were given 1 inch thick plastic coated mattresses, rock solid little pillows and blankets and basically had to make our bed where we could find a spot on the deck. This was all very well the two nights we were moored up by beautiful islands and had had a good dose of Arak (indonesian spirit made from palm fruit, strong stuff!) but the other night was spent on a 15hour journey from one set of islands to another and that was definitely not plain sailing!
I had the misfortune of being at the very front of the boat, which is a) the most rocky and b) where the waves land. That was a sleepless night with a soggy bed....not fun. Bar the rather basic boat though, we had a great time. As I'd chosen the cheaper boat it was all other backpackers of a similar age; two canadian girls called Kelsey and Alex who had the sense of humour of 12 year old boys but were alot of fun. Then there were two finnish guys with an interesting collection of tattoos between them, a lovely swedish male nurse, an English asian guy called Jez, a 30ish english couple Sam and Matt, a bahasa-speaking Australian girl Alice, a well travelled scot Pete, an Essex lad Rob, a 50ish Canadian lady Evelyn, three irritating american boys and Kerrill. The Russian. In his grey underpants. I kid you not, the guy wore nothing else for four days straight! When we boarded the boat he was wearing board-shorts but within minutes he had stripped down to a pair of grey boxers and adopted his favourite stance; hands on manly-russian hips, boxer-clad crotch facing the world at the bow of the boat. He wore this same pair of boxers to swim, to sleep and to torture our poor eyes for four days straight. We've come away with some delightful shots which he seemed only too happy to pose for....coming to a Facebook group near you soon!
The first islands we visited were Moyo and Satonda with beautiful beaches, great snorkelling and a salt lake where locals believe their wishes will be granted. So hanging from every tree surrounding the lake are strings of shells, dead coral and other random objects, some with the wishes attached. We took a bit of a swim in order to take advantage of the magical properties and I can vouch for the salty quality of the lake as I got a good stomach full! Yuck. We also visited a waterfall where I managed to give my hair a decent wash. Seawater and my hair are not a happy combination. Think scarecrow. Ginger scarecrow. The Komodo national park, where we visited both Komodo and Rincca was fantastic, we saw our first dragon within minutes and it was a full-size 3m! I was utterly overwhelmed, they just stroll around among buildings and people with not a care in the world. I suppose they can really as they're quite capable of fending us off and snacking on our remains. Enormous, absolutely massive. I'll upload some photo's when I get to Singapore.
Boat trip complete, most of us checked into some bungalows for real beds and showers before a final goodbye party on the boat. Really lovely bunch of people and I was pretty sad to say goodbye to them. Not all of them though, because while on the boat it turned out a few of us fancied the trip to Kelimutu so we made plans to hire a driver the day after next. Which meant I had but one free day to do some diving around the islands, apparently not to be missed. So, still somewhat exhausted I went off for two dives (involving 2hours either way on a boat, much to my dismay) where I saw octopuses, a large reef shark, turtles, tons of fish and some fantastic coral, the most colourful I've seen so far. Unfortunately the current was rather strong so on the second dive we were mostly clinging to rocks to avoid being swept away. Then towards the end, I was! From a depth of 10m to the surface within a minute. Little bit scary....
Anyway, next update will be my trip across Flores to Kelimutu with Alice, Rob and Pete. Enough blogging for today I think! (especially since this is the second time I've typed this, damn internet connection!)