Boat Trip To Komodo National Park

Friday, November 10, 2017
Sometimes, when you travel, you make decisions without being aware of the outcome. And sometimes - just sometimes - the outcome of a specific decision turns out to be above all expectations.

View towards Komodo Island from Gili Lawadarat, Indonesia
Joe and I decided to leave Bali in hopes of facing the ancient Komodo Dragon. We had a choice between taking a four day boat trip or a flight to Labuan Bajo, which is the closest mainland town to Komodo National Park. For a mere 1,700,000 IDR per person including everything, it wasn't really difficult agreeing upon the boat trip.

The boat that took us from Lombok to Labuan Bajo, Indonesia
After catching a fast boat to Lombok (500,000 IDR per person) and transfering to Bangsal we were finally ready to meet our fellow travelers for the next four days. Fortunately, our group turned out to be well-functioning from the very beginning. Travelers from every corner of the world had gathered on this particular boat with the same goal.

Enjoying a sunset from the boat near Komodo Island, Indonesia
One of the first stops we made was on Mojo Island, where we hiked to the waterfall. It was quite nice and climbable. Not the clearest water you'll come across, but it felt quite good to leave the boat for a short while.

Sengelu Falls on Mojo Island, Indonesia
Sleeping on a boat is something different and quite special. It takes some getting used to for sure, but we enjoyed very calm waters and woke up to amazing sunrises.

Sunrise from the boat near Komodo National Park, Indonesia
One of my favourite stops along the way was at Gili Lawadarat, which is right next to Komodo Island on the northside. We arrived early in the morning and hiked the view point, which is quite famous for its brilliant picture-perfect overlook towards Komodo Island.

Group photo at Gili Lawadarat, Indonesia
Next stop Manta Point: "As I dropped in the water at Manta Point next to the others - I spotted a few mantas through the air bubbles from my splash. I went above the water to adjust my mask, the current was strong. Victor and I got pulled away from the boat and right into a massive group of mantas. I counted at least 60 of them passing by me on the seabed, right below me and on each side of me in the surface. Some of them so close that their wings would touch me. When you're down there in that large aquarium called the ocean, you just forget about everything else. All your energy and every thought is directed towards what your eyes are taking in".

There's no doubt that the Manta Point was the absolute highlight of our trip. Perhaps because it came so unexpected as the main goal was to see the komodo dragons. Every single person on the boat seemed high after our manta adventure.

Manta Ray at Komodo National Park's Manta Point, Indonesia
On our last night, some of the guys had bought fish from a local village and we had a feast all together. Something as simple as fresh fish can sometimes be the most amazing thing.

Dinner on our last night
Next morning we set foot on Komodo Island for the first time; on Pink Beach. Named so because of the pinkish sand on the beach. On the beach we quickly spotted a lazy komodo dragon resting in the shade. And later on another one strolled down the beach forcing everyone to flea to the ocean.

Pink Beach on Komodo Island, Indonesia
After having a struggle to get back to the boat through the strong current, we continued to Loh Liang on Komodo Island. Some of the local rangers took us for a walk around the trekking paths. Luckily we spotted several active komodo dragons. These pre-historice animals are truly fascinating and terrifying at the same time.

Komodo Dragon on Komodo Island, Indonesia
One of the local rangers on Rinca Island told us, that in ancient times the komodo dragons could grow up to 17 - 19 meters! Today the oldest ones will only make it to about 4 - 4.5 meters, which by all means is still pretty impressive.

Komodo Dragons at Loh Buaya on Rinca Island, Indonesia
About half an hour away from our final destination; Labuan Bajo. We anchored the boat at Kelor Island to go for a swim. Unfortunately a storm was under way and the weather changed fast as we were enjoying a dip. Suddenly the storm had rushed the tide and our boat was now stuck on the coral reef of Kelor Island. The men (read: mice) on the boat took action and went into complete "caveman-mode". After several tries, we were finally able to push the boat off of the reef and we could head for Labuan Bajo.

The "men" pushing the boat free from the reef of Kelor Island near Flores, Indonesia
The time we spend together during those four days were incredible... Indescribable, really. But let me try to put it this way:

There's no such thing as the best place to visit in the world. The best place is not somewhere you can go look for or book a trip to. The best place is in the moments. It's how you feel for a moment in your life. And most importantly it's how you share that moment with the best of people. With friends. That's how you'll remember being in the best place at the best of times with the best of friends.

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