Adventures living as expats.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Kinawa, Komodo, Rinca Islands - Dirty 30 part 1

Jeff planned THE BEST EVER birthday trip for my dirty 30 this year.  We set off last week for our 6 day trip to Flores, an Indonesian island east of Java.  We flew into Lebuan Bajo which is launching point for going to Komodo National Park, home to the Komodo dragons.  Since the park and surrounding water has been protected from destructive fishing, the coral and marine life are pristine and extremely diverse.  

After we arrived, we took a boat to our bungalows on the small Kinawa Island.  There are maybe 20 bungalows and 1 restaurant on the island.  We arrived and had a beautiful but unsteady walk to the beach along the rickety dock.  The water was incredibly clear and there was a bunch of sea urchins waiting below to add a little excitement to the walk.
Hati-hati (careful)
Our first night was a bit of a bummer after a long day of travel.  The restaurant ran out of chicken, fish, and pizza so we had white rice with soggy veggies and a plate of bland pasta.  They did have cold Bintang though which was a relief.  Next, our fancy new camera broke (after a little googling we discovered that there is a recall for the specific problem).  Luckily Jeff threw in his trusty old point and shoot that's managed to survive a lot of abuse including a dive from bleachers onto concrete.  Finally, in the middle of the night Jeff had a huge cockroach (I mean literally 1.5 inches long) fall on top of him.  It turns out mosquito netting is great to keep little bugs out, but makes a perfect ladder for giant roaches.  Well Jeff completely smashed the guy and one of his friends and we were never bothered again.  Guess they learned their lesson.

Our last pictures before the dreaded "Lens Error"
The rest of the trip only got better and better.  We spent the next 2 days boating, exploring, and snorkeling.  We saw Rinca Island and spotted about a dozen Komodo dragons.  They are ugly and scary, but so fascinating to watch.  It was the time of year that the mama dragons are guarding their eggs so we got to see a few nests.

Next up, tons of snorkeling!  We were so lucky to see a squid, octopus, puffer fish, stingray, turtle, lion fish, and sea snake.  The squid was swimming around and changing colors with the different coral.  Sometimes he was really dark, other times blue, and could even disguise himself with spots.  The turtle was just cruising around, and had a large fish following him everywhere rubbing against his shell.  Maybe he was cleaning him off?  The grand finale of the trip was Manta Point where we saw about 8 manta rays.  They were so big and majestic.  Watching them swim was incredible because they would barely move their "wing" fins, but they were swimming along pretty fast up-current.  I would kick with my fins as hard as I could and still not keep up.  

We also went to the famous Pink Beach on Komodo Island.  The red coral just offshore has turned the sand pinkish.  

The Kinawa part of the trip was fantastic, but after 3 nights I was getting a little island fever (and was seriously craving a glass of wine).  For the second part of the trip we headed to Lebuan Bajo, for now here are the pics of the trip.

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