Our last main stop in Indonesia…Labuan Bajo. LB is the final point on the Lombok – Komodo boat and the base for diving in Komodo and surrounding islands – it definitely grew on us over the week we spent here. The people are so welcoming and the children seem so happy. As soon as school’s out, EVERYONE is playing in the streets. The fish market isn’t one to miss and the sunsets are breathtaking.
We feel so incredibly lucky to have the last week of our overseas travels spent in Komodo National Park. Based in Labuan Bajo, we spent a number of days out on Manta Rhei’s dive boat (would 100% recommend), exploring the Flores sea. We came across sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, gigantic fish, tiny fish, mandarin fish, skeleton shrimp, turtles, octopus, eels, nudies and so many other special creatures – there’s too many to count. The corals here are really beautiful and even though this is the low season, it’s some of the best diving we have ever done. We hope this amazing natural environment will be able to withstand increasing tourism in the coming years and remain as picturesque as it is now.
We took a boat from Gili Air to Labuan Bajo with stops along the way for snorkelling, a waterfall, a huge salt water lake and Komodo and Rinca Islands to see the Komodo dragons. There’s two totally different perspectives on this trip – one who had the most amazing time and one who was seasick out the back of the boat for four days – though we had a really fun group of people that made it all worthwhile! The boat totally exceeded our expectations after reading reviews of rats and shipwrecks and overcrowded decks. The food was good, the crew was great, the islands are beautiful and the company was the best part. A definite highlight was swimming with Manta Rays the size of your car.
Gili Air turned out to be a really nice place to base ourselves for a little over a week. We stayed in a little homestay a few minutes walk from the beach with an amazing neighbour, Evie, who told us about her real Eat Pray Love story…it’s nice to be a part of that.
We also ended up doing our free diving course with Gili Air Divers – challenging but rewarding, to say the least. Mark made it down to 23 metres (me…not quite so deep!) and we both learned to hold our breath longer than we ever thought possible.
I think we were so preoccupied with the water that we took almost no photos here…these are a few that we do have.
Apo Island is absolutely a place we will be coming back to as soon as possible. We’re sad to be leaving after almost two weeks! This island is a haven for divers, our pictures don’t do it justice – especially the colours of the corals. The entire island is surrounded by corals unlike anything we have ever seen, filled with big fish, small fish, snakes, turtles, nudies…everything. We tried our first few drift dives and experienced three night dives – lucky enough to see blue ring octopus, mandarinfish, electric-looking jelly fish and plankton that sparkle in the darkness…and then some. After a week of diving, we decided to stay a few more days to complete our advanced open water.
We stayed at Mario’s – anyone visiting Apo Island in the future should definitely check them out. The dive masters are excellent, the food is delicious, acoustic music night and day and the people are really good company. The showers are cold and the island has only three hours of electricity a day. The community is caring for the island in such an amazing way – the place still feels pretty untouched and so well taken care of. If our time in Asia weren’t (far too quickly) coming to an end, we would love to stay here longer.
It’s more fun in the Philippines