Perama Island

Trip Start Sep 17, 2007
Trip End Oct 08, 2008

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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Saturday, May 17, 2008

This morning we joined up with our group and headed off on our three-day Perama cruise to Flores via Komodo Island.  The principal reason for taking this tour was that it would hit the Komodo Islands and bring us to Flores at the same time.  And it was more interesting than the alternative: sitting on a bus for three days. 

We piled on the Perama bus and set off across the island of Lombok.  We made stops at the island's largest shopping mall to get supplies, and then headed straight through to the port on the far side of the island.  Along the way we made a stop at a pottery village.  We've seen a couple of these demonstrations by now, but this one was a little different.  Unlike in many places, where the pottery wheel is constantly spinning, here they only occasionally rotate the pot with their foot.  They had rejected electric pottery wheels because they spun too fast.  The lady very expertly crafted a flower pot and then invited the audience to try one.  Erin of course was the volunteer.  In India when we had done this we basically sat near the potter as he made the pot.  This time Erin really did make the majority of the thing, and it was a complicated process.  The woman would demonstrate, give Erin a try, and then fix up whatever she had done. 

We stopped at the strangely named "Perama Docking," which was basically a ship-building site.  Perama has emerged as a massive tourist agency, with posts all over the islands and shuttles and boats to everywhere.  They also have more upmarket cruises.  The boat they are building for the Bali-Lombok cruise is a trimaran, made with traditional methods and materials.  They gave us a tour of the boat-in-progress, and also fed us banana fritters and tea.  En route we had also tried a "pillow," which a sweet snack of rice and banana steamed in a banana leaf pillow for a long time.  It was different.

After the docking we moved down the road to the harbour and boarded our home for the next two nights.  It's a pretty nice vessel, roomy enough for the almost thirty people on board.  Some people were shown to their tiny (VERY tiny) cabins while we, the deck class, arranged ourselves on the floor.  We met our crew, then had a pretty nice lunch as we powered out of Lombok harbour.

We sailed for a couple hours to our first stop, Perama Island.  The company owns this spit of land off the coast of Lombok.  Maybe they bought it so they would have a nice stop on their cruises.  It was beautiful and deserted.  We took the opportunity to check out the coral gardens.  This is a wonderful replantation project that Perama is currently involved in.  They take broken coral, anchor them to concrete blocks, and place them around the island.  The parts eventually regrow at a couple centimeters a year.  The results are spectacular.  The place is a brilliant coral garden, more vibrant and diverse than the reefs we have seen elsewhere.  It now provides a nursery for tons of fish.  The patches around the garden are no less impressive.  We sat to watch a banded shrimp play around in the coral among a couple tiny clownfish.  Nearby I spotted a very well camoflauged stonefish hanging out on the rocks.  It took another fifteen minutes or so for me to see the second, much bigger one right next to it.  These guys are seriously deadly, and their proximity to walking level was a healthy reminder to shuffle your feet in the sand to scare up...pokey things.  We helped out replanting some coral, then lazed in the hammocks to watch the sunset over Lombok. 

In the evening we had a great dinner around the campfire, and the poor crew got together a ragtag band and sang a couple songs for us.  Mr. Perama himself had been staying on the island, and he regaled us with a tear-jerking speech about his mission to bring jobs to Indonesians and protect the reefs that were their livelihood. 

To finish the night, we were forced to learn the Puja Puja dance.  This is a popular Indonesian dance that all the kids know at the moment.  Essentially it is the electric slide, but there are ten variations that increase in complexity.  It's pretty interesting to watch.

Fed and entertained, we reboarded the boat and sailed overnight in an arc around the island of Sumbawa. 

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