Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Boat trip part 2

Part two

Have I left you in enough suspense?

Here I am on a somewhat cramped boat that has absolutely no luxuries to speak of, surrounded by really incredible natural beauty.
Day 1: The group and crew board the boat and we shout at each other over the engine  in an attempt to get to known these people that we're going to be stuck with for the next 4 days. We travel for about 4 hours and anchor for the night. The guys try to play a complicated game of poker and there are several conversations going on in English, Spanish, German, and French that are filling my background noise as I stare into the descending deep blue night. At 2 am the engine starting jolts me awake, but I fall quickly back to sleep. Only to be jolted awake again as the boat got pitched around by rough waters for 4 hours. It was slightly uncomfortable, but not horrible, yet. Nope, the best was yet to come...
Day 2: We spend the day snorkeling and swimming the surprisingly and consistently strong Indonesian currents. Everyone knew day 2 was going to be the longest day because we had a 17 hour-long haul to make. It starts in the early afternoon and as each hour progresses I'm getting increasingly nauseous and ill feeling. I try various things, laying down upstairs, reading, my iPod, then laying downstairs. Finally I end up with only one option, sitting up and staring at the rolling Sawmbawa Staight, which is known for its rough waters (a fact I learned afterwards). I was completely miserable and green, though, amazingly, did not puke, but really wished I could have. The real problem was that I could find nothing to distract me from how I was feeling. Everything made it worse, the only thing I could do was stare at the waves as they assaulted our boat. Just me and my misery. The hours, no the minutes, draggggged on. Finally the crew gave me something for my stomach. I have no idea what it was, nor did I care, I just swallowed it and prayed it stayed down. It did, which allowed me to sedate myself enough to endure the final 13 hours. Thank you makers of Ativan! You're the only reason I didn't pitch myself overboard!
Day 3: The boat finally stopped and I breathed a huge sigh of relief at the silence and lack of motion. I spent the rest of this day recovering from the previous. In the afternoon we arrived at Komodo Island, one of two islands where the dangerous Komodo dragons live. The guides warn you that you might not see a dragon during the trek on the island. Sure, we didn't see any in the wild, but there were plenty hanging around the small camp, attracted by the smell of food! They are impressively large creatures with massive claws that I can't imagine going up against. While they were interesting to see, it was somewhat anticlimactic. The dragons mostly lay around, hoping their stillness will attract prey to the watering hole they've settled themselves into. Still, I wasn't to keen on getting up close and personal with one and their venomous hook-shaped teeth. One guys comment from the group was "oh, well we have a nurse with us so we should be fine". To which I replied "Sorry, buddy. You'd still be screwed!" Like I could be being to treat a venomous Komodo bite in the middle of no-where! Hahaha, the things people think we medical folk can fix at the drop of a hat. Tonight the boat was blissfully anchored and I got more than 4 hours of sleep, which is all that I had had for the last two days combined. Sleep, blessed non-moving sleep. Ahhh.
Day 4: The last morning of "MORNING COFFEE TEA MORNING COFFEE TEA MMOOORRRRNNNIIIIINNGGGG" dawned. Yet another stunning sunrise to view. Today we trekked in Rinca Island, the second home to the Komodo's. Apparently these massive beasts, which are 300lbs and 10ft long when they reach adulthood, can swim between the two islands. That, unfortunately, I did not get to see. Like yesterday we saw most in and around camp. Except for the dragon that decided to escort us back into camp. We kept having to pause and wait for it, they move rather slow. Though, we were told repeatedly that they can move quickly when attacking (if you say so Mr. Guide Man). The dragon apparently got tired, because he plopped down in the middle of the path and wouldn't move. We had to go through the bush to get around him. In the late afternoon we arrived, in one piece no less, to Labuanbajo, the port town of Flores. Being the penny-pincher that I am I gave up a fourth night of sleeping in a bed and stayed another, read free, night on the boat.

At this point now I've been on a boat for four days straight, with no shower or comfort to be had. To say that showering and finding a bed was a top priority the following morning is an understatement. To say that the shower that followed was the greatest shower that ever was cannot even begin to sum it up! Oh cleanliness how I've missed you! Gillie, a German girl from the boat, and I spent a lazy day lounging about. Our only activity was hitting up the spa during happy hour and getting 90 minute massages for $12. Sadly is was all I did in Flores. Due to my initial start date being pushed back and +36 hour bus ride back to Bali looming ahead, I was left with little time in Flores.
Flores is an interesting island that not many tourists make it to, as it is not as easily accessible as Java, Bali, and Lombok. There is an airport, which had been closed the afternoon we arrived. Apparently a plane hit a couple of cows on the runway! Three days later and the airport was still shut down!
What is there to do in Flores you might be wondering? The only real attraction in Labuanbajo is the diving. For all you divers out there, this is where you want to go. The currents and reefs create a huge pool of food, fish, and marine life that, at least by the written and oral descriptions I've gotten, in pretty unparalleled to anywhere else. Then there are the volcanoes. This is Indonesia after all. In Bajawa lies a volcano that has three lakes. Each lake is a different color, ranging from the normal blue-green to pinks and oranges, created by the sulfur and bacteria in the lakes. I really wanted to go here, but alas, no. Instead, after one night of sleeping in a bed, I embarked on yet another transportation adventure.  

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