Arrival in Labuan Bajo & Boat Transfer to XPirates Dive Camp
I left Kuta, Bali in the morning ~ Kadek once again picked me up at the hotel and drove me to the airport.
I flew Nam Air and it was a quick one hour flight. My “window seat” did not have a window 🤷♀️ and I had to take a pic from the window behind me.
My first impression of Labuan Bajo was wow what a friendly place. I had lunch and there was a group of ladies from Jakarta at the table next to me. So friendly and we chatted a bit. I keep saying it, but people are so friendly. Best part of travelling is the people you meet!
My boat transfer wasn’t until 5:30 so I wandered about. There is a Starbucks!!
There is a lot of construction work going on. The Starbucks is in a new marina terminal that’s still being built. I have a feeling they’re building up for increased tourism.
I have a great story for what you can use makeup removal wipes for 😳🙄 that’s best told over A LOT of wine. I stocked up on sunscreen, a lot of tissues and found my meeting spot.
Texting with Bryan earlier in the day about seeing the Komodo Dragons. I think he’s the grown up now and I’m the child 🤪
I have to confess that I was afraid of the seals in Antarctica when we had to walk by them and they barked at us. Instructions were to raise and wave your arms and appear bigger.
The boat transfer out to the XPirates Island was an experience! Myself and another woman, Rachael, came out together on a wooden boat.
I got on the boat by sliding on my butt down this piece of cement.
The boat driver gave us these snacks. I’m not sure what it was, but it was delicious.
The boat ride was wonderful watching the sunset!
XPirates Dive Camp
We arrived at the camp as it was getting dark so I didn’t get to fully appreciate where I was until the morning.
I have a bungalow at the top of the hill all to myself. The bedroom is open with 3 walls and I fell asleep listening to the ocean and looking at the stars and woke up with the sunrise! The bathroom is underneath.
There is a feeling of the laid back lifestyle of the 70s that I loved! We had BBQ night with music ~ Kenny Rogers and Alan Jackson were popular choices and my feet were bopping along with the beat.
Everything was solar powered and lights out was at 9:00 pm. The wifi wasn’t strong, but sufficient to check messages and post a pic or two. The water in the shower wasn’t hot, but air temperature and I was okay with that.
I’d shower to rinse off and crawl into bed with a breeze blowing in nighttime. I LOVED IT ❤️❤️
Komodo National Park
Komodo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia. There are 3 large islands (Komodo, Padar and Rinca) and 26 smaller islands. The park is also one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature.
There’s talks of closing the park in 2020 to make improvements. Currently, I found it to be very charming and beautiful without a lot of tourists. The charm will fade once there are thousands of people muddling about.
Padar Peak – Padar Beach – Mawan Island
Padar Island was spectacular! We hiked to the top of the island and the views were breathtaking. There are about 7-8 dragons on this island, but we didn’t see any. We did see a lot of dolphins on our way to Padar Island.
When we arrived on our wooden boat, a speedboat went ripping by. Speedboats take away some of the charm of the area.
Padar Beach is the best Beach I have ever stepped foot in. There were deer there and they weren’t scared of us at all! I got so close. The sand is pink because of the red coral and so, so soft. Crabs were scuttling about and a lot of shells and corals washed up. It isn’t spoiled yet by mass tourism and very few stop at this beach.
We saw dolphins and while snorkelling saw turtles and flying mantas!! Seeing the manta was a high point! They are so graceful.
Rinca Island, Manta Point and Turtle City
After much discussion, we decided to do the Rinca Island Trek instead of the Komodo Island Trek. The dragons are bigger on Komodo, but you may not see them and it wasn’t guaranteed. On Rinca Island, they’re a little bit smaller, but we were guaranteed seeing them as well as baby dragons.
On Rinca, we saw dragons by the buildings, but not out on the hike.
I didn’t snorkel today and stayed on the boat. The current was very strong and I dive better than I snorkel. Maybe this winter I suck it up and take proper swimming lessons at my gym. At one stop, another boat drifted with the current too close to the rocks and my boat and another boat had to pull it away with ropes. The top part of the other boat got tangled with my boat too, but I didn’t quite see all of that clearly. It came close to the folks who were snorkelling and I was glad I wasn’t in the water. I would have been the one trailing behind and squished by the drifting boat.
From the boat I did see many turtles in the water. They are stunning creatures!
I said goodbye to the wonderful people I met and took the boat back to Labuan Bajo. My room for the night was nice and I had a hot shower. I didn’t realize there was a mosque there and listened to the call for prayer as I relaxed.
Somewhere between leaving the boat and checking in my room, I left my sneakers behind. Bummer, they were new.
Jackie is “Mom” to one amazing son, an IT professional and an obsessed traveller. She spends her time reading, golfing at Ladies League and implementing software projects. Jackie has travelled to all 7 continents and 93 countries and is always planning the next destination and adventure!