Bali- Komodo National Park Cruise 7 Days/6 Nights
We will meet in Sanur (Bali) in the morning and depart for either Padang Bai or Amed, on Bali’s the southeast and eastern coasts respectively, where the ship will be anchored and waiting for us. This is a pleasant and beautiful drive of either approximately 1 hour or 2.5 hours (depending on the departure point), and a great opportunity to see a little bit of the island. After we board the vessel you will have a chance to settle in before the captain gives the orders for the anchor to be lifted prior to crossing the Lombok Strait. This deep trench of water between Bali and Lombok marks part of a very important ecological boundary, which was first described by Sir Alfred Russel Wallace, the British naturalist. Wallace noticed that the flora and fauna of the islands to the west are home to Asiatic animal and plant species, whereas the islands to the east of the invisible ‘Wallace Line’ have a greater similarity to species found in Australia. In the afternoon we will make our first stop at one of the three Gili islands, a popular holiday destination just off Lombok’s northwest coast. We will spend a few hours here, during which time you can choose from a number of water activities: swimming, snorkelling, paddleboarding, kayaking or simply enjoying the beautiful white-sand beach.
Moored off the coast of North Lombok, we will enjoy a hearty breakfast before going ashore and boarding a private bus for a trip into the interior of the northern side of the island and the traditional village of Senaru. Here, we will be taken on a tour, by one of the local women-guides, of the simple thatched houses and gardens of fruits and spices, which will give us an insight into the culture of the indigenous Sasak people. Our mellow adventure will then lead us down a well-trodden flight of steps through the tropical forest to Sindang Gila, a roaring 40-metre tiered waterfall. The small gravel beach and flat rocks at the base of the falls are a meeting place for the local people, and if we want we can take a dip under the full force of the intense flow. Our walk will continue alongside an old irrigation canal offering panoramic vistas of rice fields stretching towards the sea. The area around Senaru and Bayan was the birthplace of Lombok’s unique Wektu Telu belief system in which ancient animist practices are combined with Islam. If we have time, we will visit Bayan Beleq, a grass-roofed mosque with woven bamboo walls. Said to have been founded in the 16th century, this is the oldest mosque in Lombok. We will also see some weavers and spinners demonstrating their age-old skills. After re-embarkation, we will explore one of the coral reefs near Gili Sulat, which is a marine conservation area.
This morning we will moor off Labuan Aji village on the island of Moyo, visit the village and then walk to Diwu Mba’i waterfall, where can swing on a rope and jump into the deep clear river pool below, or simply bathe in the refreshing cool water. Our next stop will be Satonda, a strange and mystical volcanic island with a sunken crater lake in its centre that was filled with saltwater when the nearby Mt Tambora erupted in 1815, causing a tsunami that flowed into the crater. The eruption was the biggest volcanic explosion in the collective memory of mankind; it had roughly four times the energy of the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, and gave rise to the ‘year without a summer’ because of the effect on North American and European weather. Local people believe Satonda to be magical, and with this in mind, we will walk to the lip of the caldera to view the mysterious lake, alongside which are trees believed to be ‘wishing trees.’ Visitors to the island tie a small stone to a tree and make a wish. If your wish comes true, you are bound to return to the island to offer thanks. The seas surrounding the island are rich with soft and hard corals and colourful tropical fish, so we will spend the afternoon swimming and snorkelling. Another highlight of our visit to Satonda will be the sight of thousands of flying foxes that commute at dusk from the island to feed on the mainland, returning before first light the next day. Immediately after sunset, we leave for an overnight passage on a course due east.
Today we will visit Wera, a Bugis Settlement on the northeast coast of the island of Sumbawa, where the men build wooden boats along the black-sand shores and the village women spend days weaving brightly coloured cloth. Here we will visit the village and have a look at the hand-built boats in various stages of construction. Some of these boats are colossal in size, and it is fascinating to see how they are constructed. We will then proceed to the island of Banta, passing Sangean island, an active volcano towering 1800 metres above the surrounding waters. Banta island lies within the boundaries of the Komodo National Park; it is uninhabited and perfect swimming and snorkelling.
When we wake up, the boat will be anchored off the famous Komodo Island, one of approximately 80 islands that make up the Komodo National Park. We will go ashore at the ranger station in Loh Liang for an early morning ranger-led trek through the park searching for Komodo dragons. In this savannah-like setting of dry, rugged landscape, we will encounter, at a safe distance, these awe-inspiring, giant lizards – Indonesia’s living dinosaurs. We may spot deer, wild boar, sulphur-crested cockatoos, butterflies, rare orchids and jungle chickens among the strangle-fig trees and the distinctive lontar palms. After returning to the onboard we will cruise around the coast and visit Komodo village, where we can buy some local handicrafts. Later we will head to the gorgeous Pantai Merah ‘red-beach,’ which takes its name from the particles of red coral mingled with the sand. Here we will swim and snorkel over one of the richest reefs in Eastern Indonesia, relishing the unforgettable spectacle of the region’s many varieties of coral and marine life.
Today we will visit the ranger station of Loh Buaya on Rinca Island where we will have another ranger-led nature trek in search of more Komodo dragons, which are indigenous to this small group of islands. Rinca is also well known for its diverse wildlife, so we may spot monkeys, wild buffaloes and deer as well. From the top of the hills, the scenery is breathtaking. In the afternoon we can go snorkelling. With over 1000 species of fish in the waters of the national park, there is much more to this wildlife reserve than just dragons. In the evening we will go ashore to an island where you can enjoy a quintessential SeaTrek experience and a highlight for many guests. With your feet in the sand and the stars rising in the vast Indonesian sky, the crew will build a bonfire and prepare a beach barbecue as a final celebration of our memorable voyage.
After breakfast in Labuan Bajo, we will visit the local market or take a private bus to the inland village of Melo. Here, local ‘strongmen’ will perform the ‘Caci,’ a ritual whip-fight between two rivals in which the players, each armed with a rattan shield and a whip, will try to hit each other while dancing to the rhythm of traditional acoustic instruments. The men of Western Flores are famous for this test of daring and skill, requiring lightning quick moves to dodge the infliction of a wound. The winner is loudly applauded and cheered by the village. Besides this, the cultural group will also showcase other traditional dances. After the performance, we will have lunch on the boat before transferring you to the airport for your flight back to Bali.