This leisure expedition includes the Komodo area for a couple of days of snorkeling, beach combing and hiking through one of the most beautiful National Parks of Indonesia. Entering the Flores Highlands you have an opportunity to hike to some remote villages and witness the tedious process of ‘ikat’ weaving, practiced amid unsurpassed scenery of gigantic volcanoes, bamboo forests and intriguingly colored crater lakes. It is the very best introduction to the soul of Indonesia.
Day 1: Leaving 08.30 a.m. from Sanur, south Bali, you will be transferred to the anchorage of ‘Katharina’ off the village of Amed, north-east Bali, a pleasant ride through a largely unknown area of Bali (approx. 2 hours). After boarding and settling in on the vessel, the captain gives the orders to lift the anchor and we set ail across the Lombok Strait. This stretch of water between Bali and Lombok marks an important ecological boundary, first described by Sir Alfred Russel Wallace, the 19th century British naturalist.
He noticed that flora and fauna of the islands west of this boundary are home to Asiatic animal and plant species, whereas the islands east of that “line” have a greater similarity to species found in Australia. In the afternoon we make a first stop at the small island of Gili Trawangan, off the west coast of Lombok, for a couple of hours of swimming, snorkeling and beach-combing. Late afternoon we go on a north-easterly course for the overnight passage to east-Lombok.
Day 2: Docked in Labuhan Lombok, east Lombok, we board after breakfast a local coach for a tour into the interior of east Lombok, untouched by the crowds frequenting west Lombok. We will visit a pottery village, attend a local dance performance and have our lunch on the way. After re-embarkation we continue our journey to the island of Sumbawa.
Day 3: First we go go ashore at Pulau Bungin, a small settlement of ‘sea-gypsies’ (bajao) on the coast of Sumbawa. We stroll through narrow streets lined up by houses on stilts that are underwater at spring tides. Here we witness a first performance of traditional music and dance. Afterwards we continue to Pulau Moyo. At the Southern point of Moyo we spend a few hours relaxing, swimming and snorkeling. During the night we follow the coast towards the East of Sumbawa.
Day 4: We arrive in the morning at Wera on the east coast of the island of Sumbawa. Wera is a Buginese settlement famous for its boatbuilding. Here we will see all kinds of craft in various stages of construction, much the way the Katharina was built in 1998. We visit the village and hope to attend a local performance. If weather prohibits a safe landing, we sail to Sangean island, an active volcano towering 1800 meters above the surrounding waters. We will meet the people of the tiny settlement on the island and make a short hike testing the steepness of the volcano. In the afternoon we proceed to Gili Banta, uninhabited and perfect for some excellent swimming and snorkeling. During the night Katharina sails onward to the island of Rinca, part of the Komodo National Park.
Day 5: We wake up with the boat at anchor off Rinca island, the second largest of the eighty islands in the Komodo archipelago and the richest in terms of fauna. We will go trekking through spectacular scenery of savannah, looking to view wild horses, water buffalo, wild boar, monkeys, and of course the famous ‘Komodo dragons’. We have lunch while crossing over to Padar Island to another spectacular beach location for some exceptional snorkeling. A quiet night will be spent in the bay of Loh Liang in form of Komodo Island proper.
Day 6: This morning we will go ashore at the ranger station in Loh Liang on Komodo Island for another trek through the Park. In a setting of a dry and rugged landscape we will meet some of these giant creatures that come closest to anything you ever fancied of prehistory. Shock and awe is our part! In the afternoon we stop at the small island of Mesa where we visit a settlement of the Baju, the ‘Sea Gypsies’ who are indigenous to the area of the Lintas Strait and live in houses on wooden stilts that are often underwater during the high tide. If time allows we will make a final stop in the Park at Sabolon, another paradise in its own right. The beach has a pink look caused by scattered particles from red coral. As the sun sets we hoist the anchor for the overnight passage to the North Coast of Flores.
Day 7: Today we take our time to explore the Riung Archipelago, a group of (17) uninhabited islands with white sand beaches and beautiful coral gardens just off the North coast of Flores. Here we will spend the whole day beachcombing and snorkeling. A hike up to the hill warrantees the spectator of a spectacular view of the main island. We will have a barbecue on a desert beach before we continue our voyage further eastward.
Day 8: Early in the morning we reach Ropa, Central Flores, the starting point for our excursion to Kelimutu. The Kelimutu is a volcano with 3 crater lakes, each in a different color. Situated in the midst of forest-covered mountains, the colors of the lakes are a surprise, as they change from time to time. They may be turquoise, black and a reddish brown, but don’t be surprised if you find a white one or a red one! We take our time to experience the spooky atmosphere surrounding this natural phenomenon, quite unique in the world.
On the way back we stop in several villages to meet with some of the women who specialize in the typical Flores ikat weaving techniques. Back on the vessel, we move to a nearby beach for the remainder of the afternoon for relaxing, swimming and snorkeling. In the evening we may have another BBQ on the beach. At night we will have our last sailing from Ropa to Maumere, east-Flores.
Day 9: Early morning the Katharina will arrive in Maumere. In the morning we will pay a visit to the small village of Watublapi where we will witness a cultural performance and the traditional hand weaving process typical for Flores. After the performance you will be transferred to Maumere airport for your return flight to Bali. Participants should be aware that itinerary and program of our sea voyages occasionally may have to be modified, due to factors beyond our control: unfavorable weather conditions, delay in processing harbour clearances, modified schedules of domestic flights. The cruise director and captain of the Katharina will adjust the program accordingly in the best interest of all. Please note that the domestic flights are not included in the price.
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