After a few lovely days relaxing on the three rustic Gili Islands north-west of Lombok we jumped on a four day boat cruise (cruise being a bit of an exaggeration) island-hopping all the way from Lombok to Flores.
The boat was pretty rustic with only a small open air lower deck and a top deck full of the mattresses we were to sleep on (but not enough room to stand up). We set off sailing…and didn’t stop for 24 hours. The engine was a deafening dududududududu sound and it went on ALL night. And guess where the engine was located…just under the sleeping deck, right by our heads.
However we had a good group and we all chatted and lazed around looking at the lovely scenery. We stopped for some swimming and excellent snorkeling in the clear waters and then walked to a waterfall which had a jacuzzi type tub at the bottom of it. As there was no shower on board (just a bucket of fresh seawater) we all washed our hair in the ‘tub’.
The next day we arrived at the main event…Komodo National Park. Komodo dragons are the world’s biggest monitor lizards (up to 3m long) and are pretty deadly, just one bite is enough to kill a human through blood poisoning. They are incredible, with snake like skin and drool hanging from their mouths. And they can run up to 15 mph. You wouldn’t want to mess with them.
Moreover, it was slightly worrying to be told that they had no stock of the required antibiotics on the island, and that any bite would require evacuation to Bali, which is not exactly close. The sense of unease was heightened further as we set out on the trail to be told about the Swiss tourist who had recently died after being bitten when he was separated from his group, and the park ranger who was recently attacked by a dragon in his office – although luckily thanks to its young age, he survived. But we were safe, the ranger had a stick with him…
The next day we moved on to the island of Rinca, which is much smaller than Komodo but with a similar dragon population made seeing them much easier. As we arrived we immediately saw six or so of them lurking around the kitchen (waiting for scraps). They were all slithering over each other and looking suitably scary.
After some serious cabin fever on the last day we arrived in port and stepped onto dry land (and into the nearest Western restaurant). However, on our tight budget we still went back and slept on the boat in port on the last night.
* Simple, just keep them alive until needed (as the ‘chef’ on the boat demonstrated).