Trip Start Jan 08, 2011
Trip End Dec 20, 2011

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Where I stayed
centro bajo hotel

Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 251 ;

Day three of our crash course in getting to know flores and another early but not so early start with a 7:30 pick up from the hotel a hotel which by the way charges upwards of twenty quid for a twin room, looks like it should, has all the trimmings - tv and the WiFi which is why we came here...but.....can't manage hot water....????

Down to the port and hopped onto a small boat that had been arranged for us, the port was busy, not over crowded but bustling with a few freight ships being loaded up and unloaded a few passenger ferries and a oddly a fair few almost luxury looking charter vessels which looked like the really old cargo ships or pirate ships like dhow's or other Asian ships, all converted and renovated all with small speedboats towed behind - looked pretty smart some of them, maybe one day with a few million quid that could be us!!!!

From the minute we got outside the bay we were all pretty much gobsmacked by how it looked, millpond water, lovely blue, clean sea and we all agreed that it really didn't matter that it cost a lot, it was worth it.
For over two hours we were surrounded by this and it ticked another of the boxes on the searching for list, that perfect sea trip, surrounded by small islands with perfect strips of white sand and areas of water a colour that can't be recreated and not sure the pictures really show it, but where the white sand was only just a few feet below the surface of the water in the shallows it was that "perfect" picture we had in our heads, only a few boats floating around or that we passed so basically had it all to ourselves...we were a little excited.....

We had got excited almost from the word go, when we saw the tiny little plane we were heading towards at Bali airport - it had propellers!!! Most of you will have done it and already know what we're talking about, but for us it was a first and in a childish way made you feel nervous, excited, and added to the sense of adventure if you understand, and from the minute we could see bits of it come into view from the aeroplane I thought we might be lucky with what we would find, knew before we left java that it would come at a price, but how do we know if we'd ever be back again???

You can't say its off the map, but it felt a lot less travelled than some places we'be been, and its a bit of pain to get too so in that sense it seems only the lucky,rich or determined get to enjoy at the moment but pretty sure it won't stay that way for ever.

Arriving at the jetty on Rinca was pretty cool, just our boat and a few minutes behind us a speedboat from one of the luxury yachts and a few of the park rangers, not that they really looked like park rangers, a short walk to the offices and we have before, seen, been in and travelled through national parks, but this one really felt like it.
Then was our first and only disappointment of the day, we'd been told, because we had asked more than once, that all we were to pay extra than what we had paid to the bloke who organised it all, was a twenty thousand rupiah park fee. Well that wasn't all we had to pay, we had to pay a tax, a camera charge and a guide fee - instead of the 60 we were told, it cost two hundred and twenty thousand - bit different, but that's the problem when you just book a package, there's always a lie, there always bits of information left out - a "misunderstanding" and because you book a package, you don't research it, if we had done it all ourselves it would have been read up on and we would of known what to expect and we still would have saved money, and not even cared quite as much if some charge we didn't know of popped up, but in this case we hadn't got the time, three days a lot to see, no possible way of doing it all in that time by ourselves so a case of knowing you were going to end up being ripped off a little.

And it was soon forgotten anyway, after a little talk through some stuff he led us round a path and suddenly we're met with these komodo dragons, nothing can prepare you for it and I still don't think it really registers, you had to say it out loud, but your standing there looking at these creatures, definitely a once in a lifetime experience. There not massively interested in you, so standing gawping taking lots of photos and videos was pretty damn cool, watching them flick their forked toungue about and occasionally let out a very loud long sound, a mixture of a deep hissing sound and a muffled roar, and as safe as it is your not allowed to go within five metres of them, and however uninterested in you they are its no joke, they can be super fast and the odd inquisitive one who walks towards you does mean business, if they could get to you they'd eat you. A little worrying at the same as cool!!!

Then was the walk, we opted for the hour which first took us past a dragons nest where the guide explained that the nest was not in use, how the dragon will dig itself a hole to a certain size,lay its eggs, cover it back over and
dig a second hole as a red herring to other predators on the islands and so that the mother or any other dragon cannot find them. Each time the dragon lays eggs it can lay between 15-30 eggs, incubation period nine months, and dependant upon temperature survival rate is between 15-50% of the eggs that are laid. The mother will only protect the eggs for the first 3 months, leaving after that so that the mother will not know where they are, they're cannibals!!!!!
Once the survived eggs are hatched they dog themselves out and then for a period of time we now can't remember they live in the trees until they're big enough to survive. That was our little lesson over, well worth the fifty thousand....

Then we walked along again, came to another nest, which sent cordoned off by rope, and was, as he told us, not being used, not sure if it was all bluff really. So he led us right up on top of it and as yapping away, we turned to walk away and saw something that looked like a snake move into the hole, pointed it out and he edged a bit closer bent down to look in and said, dragon, waving us back, no need to tell us twice!!!! And as much as he then laughed at us, he was the first one to move quickest - which made us think, mmmm maybe not all bluff then.
Once he knew that the thing wasn't going to fly out as us, he then decided to show off a bit , picking up rocks and throwing them at it, it didn't really work, the animal wasn't interested and eventually gave up, still, we were all watching over our shoulders as we walked away. If there had been eggs in there it we wouldn't have been allowed anywhere near it, I think if they'd known one was digging in there we wouldn't have been allowed so as he said, we were lucky.

Nothing else interesting happened on the walk, but we did go back to near the kitchen where the dragons hang around the camp hoping to be fed, which apparently they're not, not quite sure if I believe that ir not but couldn't really care, means we got to see them, lots of them up close and personal.

That was that, a very short time spent there but something again we'll never forget!!
Back on the boat and took the opportunity to lay in the sun at the front of the boat whilst the other two sat under the roof in the shade and it wasn't long before we were heading towards one of the beautiful islands we had spotted on the way out, saying that looks like our paradise beach we've been looking for, hence why we all got a wee bit excited!!! Couldn't wait to get off, grabbed our masks and snorkels, lauren didn't have to go with the skanky ones, she had a brand spanker from Dubai, and we couldn't wait to get into the water, dumped our stuff on the beach, along with lots of excited noise from Claire and off we went, no one there, just one posh boat with an old couple anchored onto the sand bank like our boat, but only us in the sea, only us on the beach, and wow, yes, we found a paradise beach, we swam out just past the strip of dead coral washed up and we were stood in that water, that perfect turqouise water that you dream off. Time to go for a snorkel!!!! Headed away from the shallows, to where we could see the colour change to the darker blue and were met by a steep immediate drop off that we couldn't even see the bottom of, and all below us was the live coral, beautiful beautiful beautiful and unbelievable too, all to ourselves, it really doesn't get much better. All types of fish, different to Malaysia and some right weird looking things too, even saw some more real life nemo's, the whole time, all you could here was Claires screams off excitement coming through the water and back through your snorkel. Crazy, she was just a wee but excited, but only showing how we felt, a couple joined us for literally minutes, from another boat, but for whatever reason they didn't hang around - as we found out later, a tiger/lion fish, not quite sure which or even what it is, had attacked someone else the day before - maybe that had something to to with it...??? Who knows.
Loads of pictures taken on the beach and back onboard we had a weird but tasty rice,noodles,and some kind of meat, we think maybe dog, and soon back in port, the day over and end to our three day trip, and sod it we know we could have done it our way with the right amount of time, saved ourselves the niggles and probably a lot of money but it was easy, and worth it, every penny.

Walked back, bumped into jack, had a polite go at him, asked for some money chance, so if your going there, either do it yourself or beware of the little buggers who call themselves fixers...couldn't fix a blown fuse.....

Back to the room, tried to sort out our blog, ate dinner an to bed it was, six o clock start in the morning....
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