The evening before, I struggled to go to sleep for rain and wind battering the windows of our hotel room, and the first thing I did when I woke up was look out the window to the sea. There were layers of cotton wool clouds, some worrisome darkening in the corners by the mountains, but it was dry!
With our fingers firmly crossed, we took off to the harbour, and after only a little bit of waiting we set sail. The sea was slightly choppy, and the sky a tad overcast, not ideal for a day of snorkelling. But moping is not allowed on holidays, and we were excited to finally go and see the Komodo National Park. Much of the Park is sea, and our first day was dedicated to the wonderful world under the surface. First stop, Kanawa Island, where we snorkelled off the jetty, and just when we were putting on our fins, we saw the first wonder of the day floating just beneath us: two spiky lion fish. I literary dunked the camera under and snapped away.
|Lion fish at Kanawa Island
We did not see too much more, as the water was still choppy, and after lunch on the boat we proceeded for more snorkelling at Sebayur Kecil island. We saw many amazing fish, including the kid's favourite, the tomato fish, and many sea creatures. Roel and Jasmijn spotted one very rare being in the shape of a huge dark lump, somewhat like a finless dolphin. Guide Paul recons it can only have been a dugong, or sea cow, a very rare sighting indeed! It was gone too soon to snap a photo.
The sea was very choppy, and landing on our Pirate Beach Camp for the night was adventurous, but we were elated to arrive in our slice of heaven for the night. The promised camping was more like glamping, with running water and electricity (which they managed to get going just after we showered the kids in the dark). The rough beach was perfect for play, collecting huge shells, or just relaxing.
|Our trusty yacht
The next morning gleamed bright and blue, perfect for seeing more under the sea, first stop Batu Bolong. If you’d jump in an aquarium, you would not see this many fish, in all colours of the rainbow. We spotted a huge barracuda, as well as countless others, small and big, bright and dark. The coral was unspoilt and radiant.
Next stop was Manta Point, and just when we were face to face with one of these gentle giants: the camera battery was flat! Nevertheless, the creatures were awe inspiring, and even though Jasmijn had been claiming she’d never swim with huge (they can reach up to 4 meters wide), scary creatures like this, she jumped in and did it.
Lunch was at Mawan Island, where we climbed the hill for the most amazing view of the surrounding islands, in the now perfect sunny weather. We saw a very pretty blue spotted stingray here, as well as many little blue fish.
Afterwards, we set sail to see the dragons!
|Juvenile Komodo dragon at the ranger station
After admiring the lazy lizards at the ranger station we went for a walk around the island, which had amazing views, but not a dragon in sight.
|We're going on a lizard hunt
|Rinca Island views
|Flying foxes at Kalong Island
|Flying Foxes on their way to Flores
Then it was time for us too to head back to Flores, in the dark that quickly descended. Our adventure was almost over, and it was one we wil never forget!