Kamis, 05 Mei 2016

Sailing Komodo Trip 2016

Written in English and Bahasa

If someone ask me where is my favorite destination in Indonesia, I would simply say Komodo National Park. Why? Because this place has everything, from white pristine beaches, exotic hills, to the breathtaking view of the underwater beauty. Not to mention the Komodo itself, the last dragon on earth. No wonder this National Park was chosen as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature on 2007.

Welcome to Komodo National Park Indonesia
They say there are million roads lead to Rome, so does to Komodo National Park. You can sail from Labuan Bajo or you can simply depart from Bangsal (Lombok) to Labuan Bajo (Flores) and arrive few days later like what I did on last March 2016.

I chose Lombok-Labuan Bajo route for couple reasons. First I live in Jakarta, and there is no direct flight to Labuan Bajo from Jakarta (should transit in Bali). So in my opinion, taking flight Jakarta-Lombok and Labuan Bajo-Bali-Jakarta will be way cheaper rather than taking Jakarta-Bali-Labuan Bajo and vice versa. Besides, I can do short visit to Lombok, Gili Trawangan, and Bali. Nevertheless, as we sail through Sumbawa, we will visit Moyo Island and Satonda Island which mostly aren't covered by Sailing Komodo Trip depart/return from/to Labuan Bajo.

So after booking the sailing trip in advanced, I went to Bangsal Harbour, Lombok on early March 2016 to start this sailing komodo trip. I wasn't alone, in fact there were 22 other participants. Mostly were "hardcore travelers" as they had been months away from their homeland, traveling to see the world, and by coincidence they were in Indonesia. Some from Europe, some from States, and some other from Latin America. If before I knew their existence through Indonesian travel writer’s book and blog (especially Trinity the Naked Traveler), now I had chances to meet them in person and simply got inspired. After all, they were super fun and friendly, making this Sailing Komodo Trip more excited than I expected.

Our lovely boat, Rainbow Bintang
Moyo Island was our first stop. When our boat approaching Moyo Island, I was kind of surprise that our boat stopped 500 meters away from the shoreline instead at the pier. Liked it or not, we had to swim by ourself to reach the island this very early morning.

To be honest, I was pretty confidence with my swimming skill as I did a lot of snorkeling and hey, I was a diver as well. But swimming on the ocean with nothing attached: without fins, masker, and life jacket, well it was 10 times harder. Believe me. I struggled a lot and spent at least 10 minutes to arrive safely on the island.

Once I set my foot on Moyo Island, I could suddenly feel the relaxing and quiet ambience. This island was a perfect example of typical "hidden paradise". Very tranquil and very peacefull.

Not far from its white pristine beach, laid the stunning Mata Jitu Waterfall. By the locals, “Mata Jitu” is define as springs that fall right on the pond below. Just from distance, you can hear the sound of splashing water breaks the silence of wilderness. For sure this is one of the prettiest waterfall anywhere found in Indonesia. I wasn't surprised if this waterfall was the reason why Lady Diana, David Beckham, Mick Jagger, and Maria Sharapova went to Indonesia.

Mata Jitu Waterfall
Since we had arrived in Moyo Island, it’s such a waste if we didn’t visit Satonda Island. Luckily this island had been covered in our itinerary so we didn’t have to worry about the transportation to go there. This was just another reason why I love this Sailing Komodo Trip, I didn’t have to worry for anything as the accommodation, meals, itinerary, and transportation had been well arranged. I just had to come and simply enjoyed day after day.

Situated 2 hours away from Moyo Island, Satonda Island was another exotic island surrounded with colorful corals right nearby its white sand beach. Under 10 minutes walking from the pier, laid the Satonda Lake, a lake that had salinity more than salinity of the ocean.

By the scientist, it was believed that the Satonda Lake was covered with fresh water before, like any other lake on earth. But the eruption of Mount Tambora on 1815 created big Tsunami towards the island hence replaced the fresh water with salt water. If you are on the island and want to get the best view of the lake, there is a walking trail to the top of the hill where you can enjoy the view to the fullest.

Satonda Lake

On the next day, we arrived in Gili Laba after sailing 16 hours nonstop from Satonda Island. I thought I would be pissed after sailing for that such long period of time, but actually I really enjoyed it. Maybe because the friends along this Sailing Komodo Trip were super fun and diverse, so I didn’t get bored at all.

Trekking in Gili Laba was not that hard. Yes, there were some steep and slippery roads but it was still manageable. By less than 1 hour, we arrived on top of Gili Laba. The view was just breathtaking, making me hard to breath as the view was so beautiful. The green hills somehow marry perfectly with the turquoise of shallow water and the dark blue of deep ocean. Even though we went there in the middle of wet season, we were so lucky as the sun shone all day long.

On top of Gili Laba
Next, we went to Manta Point. We could barely spot manta swimming freely and gracefully from our boat. But snorkeling with them was worth a try, that's why we quickly grabbed our snorkeling gear and a minute later, we found ourself surrounded with not only one-two mantas, but thirteen mantas including some black tip sharks and schooling of sardines. And what made it more perfect, the current wasn't that strong. From what I heard, manta usually spotted in strong current areas as it liked to swim counter-current so it was a lovely surprise that we didn't have to deal with such condition.

Spotted, Manta swam at 7 meters deep ocean
After swimming with manta, we continued sailing to Pink Beach Komodo. Some people claimed snorkeling spot in Pink Beach Komodo is one of Indonesia's very best. Well, it wasn’t exaggeration though as I would say it was not only Indonesia's best snorkeling spot, it was a world class snorkeling spot indeed.

Covered mostly with red-coloured hard corals and soft corals, this was where the famous pink beach get its pinkish colour. Don't ask me about the fish there because they were "crazy", swimming and running in every direction, making me want to stay there forever. And the Pink Beach itself, oh, maybe this was the prettiest beach I had ever seen, with soft-pink-coloured sand beach and clear-turquoise waters. You are one step closer to heaven when you are on the beach, especially in Pink Beach Komodo.

Healthy corals on Pink Beach Komodo
Pink Beach Komodo, the prettiest beach I had ever seen
When I woke up on the fourth day, our boat had arrived in Komodo Island. Yeay, it was the day that we had been waited for so long. Finally we could see komodo the dragon on their natural habitat.

Without wasting anymore time we quickly went to the information center, made short briefing about the rules on park and what should do and don’t. Then we were offered 3 options of walking trail: short trail, medium trail, and long trail. Of course we chose the medium trail without hesitation as the short trail was too short so we had small chance to see komodo, while the long trail was too far and too long.

Less than 30 minutes walking, we could spot some komodo rested under the trees. The more we entered the forest, the more and more komodo seen. Sadly we didn’t meet the young komodo who spent their youth on the trees because it was afraid to be eaten by adult komodo.

Komodo is a cannibal animal, but normally it hunts deer and buffalo which can be found anywhere on the island. On its mouth, there are more than 50 deadly bacteria. One bite can lead a fatal result. After the bite, komodo just have to wait until its prey dying slowly because of the venom and the deadly bacteria.

During briefing on Komodo Island
Mokodo? No, it's Komodo
After Komodo Island, we continued sailing to our last destination, Gili Padar. Situated between Komodo Island and Rinca Island, Gili Padar wasn’t inhabited by Komodo at all so it was safe.

Gili Padar was just another masterpiece. The landscape was so iconic yet very instagramable. Trekking on Gili Padar was way easier than in Gili Laba. Just under 30 minutes walking, we could finally arrive on top of Gili Padar. The view from up there was very beautiful so that I barely had jaw opening moments couple of time. It was truly a heaven on earth.

The spectacular view of Gili Padar
After visiting Gili Padar, our boat sailed to the final stop: Labuan Bajo. Then it was the time for me to say goodbye to this wonderful sailing komodo trip. Although it was short trip (only 4 days and 3 nights), but this journey kept remind me again how beautiful Indonesia is. For sure I needed days to move on from this piece of heaven. If there is another opportunity, I would be more than happy to come back again, visiting other islands on Komodo National Park such as Rinca Island, Kelor Island, and Kanawa Island which weren't yet expored.

Thank you Flores, Thank you Komodo National Park.
You are wonderful.
Till we meet again.

Instagram : @williamkellye

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