One of the goals of our Indonesia trip was to dive in the Komodo National Park, which apart from hosting the last dragons of the same name, contains one of the richest marine reserves on the planet. We had made a reservation with a local diving company, Wicked Diving, which lived up to the expectations of its near-perfect Tripadvisor reviews. They also ended up having Spanish dive masters 🙂 and together with four other PADI divers, we went on a 2-day sailing trip with 5 dives.The plan was pretty simple: dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, sleep, repeat. It’s definitely worth bargaining with any operator, as we realized that we had been able to get a significantly better price than the rest of the group (~$250 vs. ~$350).
The dive sites were absolutely spectacular, with the most diverse, colorful coral, turtles, nemos, cuttlefish, lionfish, lobster, and even a small shark. A definite must do for anyone who calls him/herself a diver!
Surface time went by quickly, with people sharing travel experiences, devouring rice, chicken, Nutella, the best pineapple ever… The night was magic; we turned all the lights off and enjoyed stargazing in the most quiet and relaxing environment.
In the afternoon of the second day, we stopped at Rinca Island to see the Komodo dragons. The visit has to be guided by a ranger who carries a protection stick, since the dragons are extremely poisonous and cause several deaths every year. The day was hot, and we had a hard time spotting dragons during our walk. We saw a young male, which ran away quickly. By the end of the ~90min walk, they took us to the safe bet: the area behind the rangers’ kitchen, where 3 larger dragons laid lazily sniffing food. They were not as impressive as I had expected, but still interesting to observe, as they looked like dinosaurs. On the way back to our boat, we got lucky with one more sighting: a baby Komodo dragon hunting and eating a mouse… cool!
Back in Labuanbajo, all the divers met up at the local fish market, picked some seafood and got it grilled right there. Success!
PS: The next morning we were supposed to fly out to Bali… but when we got the airport, our flight had been cancelled due to airplane issues. This is very common in Indonesia, so plan accordingly. The airline put us in a high-end hotel, where we spent the day tanning, swimming in the pool and eating for free. But to be honest, I didn’t enjoy it, still don’t understand people who travel like this :S The good part was that we enjoyed the most beautiful sunset of the trip, if not our lives.
The next day we went back to the airport and fought our way into the first flight of the day. Labuanbajo is a tricky place to be stuck in (the nearest airport is in Maumere, a 2 day drive, and there is only one very long ferry per day) and all the people from the day before plus the ones from that day wanted to get on the plane.