Saving the best for last
Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
15Trip End Oct 31, 2010
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The girl in the office phoned the captain, and shortly afterwards, a boat was there to pick us up. We were enjoying the ride and views of the surrounding lush volcanic mountains, when after 45 minutes a thick black plume of smoke spewed out of the engine. A moment later, the engine died. The driver seemed to find this amusing and laughed as he got on his phone and explained to us "no problem, other boat coming." Well, we waited for a while just floating in the middle of the ocean but after an hour or so another boat came by and towed us the rest of the way. When we got to the island, the water was as crystal clear and blue as water can be. We were led to
The next morning we awoke early to have some of the best pancakes in the world. Then we literally spent the whole day snorkeling, and it never got boring. The coral was the best we had seen yet on this trip and the marine life was also outstanding. We snorkeled, took a break to eat lunch, read some of our books, snorkeled again and soon enough it was dinner time. Pretty stressful day I’d say. At diner time, we make arrangement to charter a boat the next day that would take us to Rinca Island to check out the famous Komodo dragons.
The next day we got on our chartered boat and started the trip with another superb snorkeling spot at close by island. After snorkeling for a bit, we continued the trip to Rica island. The boat ride was about two hours, but the weather seemed perfect, and we couldn’t really ask for more. That was until the weather took a turn for the worse, and out of nowhere we were in the middle of an absolute torrential downpour. All of a sudden you couldn’t see more then 20 feet in any direction, and we were surrounded by a big cloud of grey. Luckily by the time we got to Rinca, the rain had subsided, but the sun never came out the rest of the day.
Rinca was pretty cool, but we thought it was kind of overpriced. We paid almost as much in entrance fees as the cost of our boat for the day, and we only spent an hour there. But we figured, we aren’t going to come all this way and not see the world’s largest dragon, so we paid and entered the national park. Most of the dragons, while not tamed or accustomed to humans, were hanging out by the camp kitchen. I assume they were waiting for the leftovers or
We seemed to be at Kanawa at a very lucky time. An Indonesian guy named Matt, who spoke excellent English, was at the island doing some staff training. His job is to help develop tourism and to teach hotel staff how to provide good service to the customers. So we got some out of the ordinary treatment. The food at Kanawa was decent and cheap, but the menu was small and after a few meals you’ve already tried everything on the menu. But Matt was there to teach the staff how to put on a dinner buffet. So for dinner three out of the four nights, with Matt’s help, the staff created a delicious buffet consisting of fresh fish, squid, chicken, vegetables, rice, and homemade sweet and sour and chili sauces. So good. I think it was the best fish I’ve ever had (it seems we are having a lot of “bests” on this trip).
The fourth and final day at Kanawa was again spent snorkeling and also organizing our diving trip for the next day. Matt hooked us up with his friend Condo who is a pioneer of diving in the Komodo area. Condo has been diving here for decades and has more than 15,000 dives under his belt. We also found one other couple on Kanawa from Holland to join us for the next day and we finalized our plans. On our last night, we hiked up the mountain again to enjoy the sunset
The next morning, Condo picked us up a bit late, but we still beat all the other boats to the dive site. We geared up (me diving and Kristen snorkeling) and jumped in the water. The first site was awesome. I saw six manta rays, a huge shark, and tons of big fish that looked like tuna. It was my best dive to date. The currents were very swift, and Condo had a large metal hook that
The second dive was also fantastic. Unfortunately, the other diver we were with (Kenny) developed a blood clot in his eye so he had to sit the dive out. So it was just me, Condo and
At the end of the day, we rode back to Labuanbajo (the town where the airport is) with Condo. Matt took us to a local hotel he manages where we crashed last night. In a couple of hours, we are flying back to Bali, and we will have 10 hours there to check out a few last sites before reuniting with Korean Air for our flight home….and we are keeping our fingers crossed for the free first class upgrade.