Timor to Lombok

Trip Start Apr 26, 2005
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Trip End Ongoing


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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Lombok

The last 10 days we have been sailing from west Timor in far eastern Nusa Tengarra islands that are part of Indonesia's massive archipelago of 17,OOO islands. We sailed on a 35 metres long ironwood schooner called the "Katharina".  There was enough room for 14 guests to have their own toilet and shower - luxury!

This area of Indonesia is pretty hard to travel around independently - so this island hopping cruise really helped us to achieve a pioneer experience whilst enjoy some luxury with a happy & efficient crew to make our journey relaxing & enjoyable.

Our journey set off. from Kupang in West Timor stopping via Flores to Lombok on a number of deserted idyllic islands & beaches as well as some inhabited ones. Each day we got a briefing as we all peered over Ari's shoulder at the map of the area highlighting what we could do the following day.  The food was spectacular once we convinced the crew that we would prefer to eat Indonesian food rather than Western style meals..and were fresh, delicious and spicy - yumm!

Our fellow passengers included one French couple (living in Hong Kong}, a Hungarian/German couple and Ruth a 75 year old American who has travelled more in the last two years than most people travel in a lifetime.  She was an old hand at these trips having taken various trips around teh area and she knew many of the crew quite well.  I hope I am like her when I am her age - fantastic.  The crew were great fun too in particular "Eddie Murphy" who look like him and was always laughing and messing around.

An average day consisted of waking up to find ourselves at new island, the boat usually sailed overnight, then a few hours of snorkelling/swimming, visiting a local village and a few more hours swimming or snorkelling..

The villages we visited are rarely visited by anyone other than fishermen. Some have not seen a tourist for 5 years. This means we are more of an entertainment to them than the other way around. Often crowds would form, some hoping to sell us things but most just to watch us. The children in particular mobbed us when they found we could take pictures on digital cameras and then show them the picture. In some villages the children would be afraid of us walking 5 paces behind and then running away when we turned around but a quick couple of chasing games and digital photos broke the ice. Then we would become a giggling procession of kids and tourists. Ruth, who used to be a music teacher would get them to perform songs for us.

Snorkelling on these islands took us to pristine reefs, which teamed with fishes, turtles and rays. We even went swimming in a fresh water lake that was in the centre of a volcano.

The highlight of the trip was stopping to see the Komodo dragons. The beasts get huge, the longest we saw was about 10ft long, but didn't stop it moving at a frightening speed when chasing food. We are trying to find a map so that you can see the wonderful islands we visited - well worth a trip before the crowds find them...

Indonesia has really been fantastic, the people here have the best sense of humour, if Thailand is the land of smiles then this is the land of laughter.

We now have a few days left in Bali to catch up with Phil's cousin and then we are off to Borneo.
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