Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Paradise, Flores Sea, Indonesia, March 2nd 2014

Lazy Dragons and Paradise Islands...

Trekking on Rinca then, no colourful birds, the dragons are all lazy and can easily be found loitering by the canteen and thus far that's it in terms of nature spotting, not even an interesting bug! Heading out of the woods now and upwards over grasslands in the very hot sunshine. Finally at the top of the hill and here we get to see a panoramic view of the bay and it's calm blue waters. Our guide points to the Komodo Island, much bigger with some pretty challenging terrain as the hills there loom much higher than on Rinca.

Back down to the rangers area where a small canteen there is offering good old pot noodles and well, various versions of, for visitor nourishment - bring your own snacks! The  Little gift shop of course stocked with plastic models of Komodo Dragons, souvenir t-shirts and a few postcards - I didn't look to see how much of it comes from China!

Back on the boat, off to an Island or two and time to scoff a few bananas en-route. About 30 minutes and the boat drifts onto a deserted beach. An unnamed island in the Flores sea and uninhibited by the looks of things. Some washed up garbage unfortunately but minimal and doesn't really detract from that desert Island feel. Translucent to turquoise waters lap gently onto the white sand beach - a beach littered with bright red corals and giant shells. Actually there is some habitation on this Island, a goat clinging to the steep hillside munching merrily away on the tough looking grass. About an hour here, enough time for the snorkelers to make that amazing discovery and for me to explore the beach.

Back on the boat among a few disappointed snorkelers - no amazing discoveries, in fact nothing much to see, a distinct lack of marine life around here. The engine splutters into life again and the boat is pointed at another Island, maybe better luck there.

Island number two hasn't quite got the tranquility since there are a few other tourist boats anchored to the beach. Nonetheless still uninhibited, wild and natural. Once again though a small quantity of washed up,garbage. A steep hill forms most of the Island, quite a long way up actually but possibly worth a climb later. Locals who operate these tourist boats seem to be bringing the family along too - men catch a fish, the wives light a fire and cook it while the kids strip off and lark about as usual! All this while the tourists snorkel, swim and sunbath. Not me though, I'm going to climb that hill. Like a mountain goat I am, almost running it like there's no tomorrow, well, a slight exaggeration perhaps. Not to bad a climb actually, plenty of foot holds and clumps of grass to grab hold of. I think three quarters way up is enough getting slightly dizzy looking back down, must be the heat! 10 minutes rest then looking down on the tropical beach below. A picture postcard scene with shades of blue, white and green all making this a scene that might just be right out of a brochure. No, it's definitely me high above, quiet and serene with just a slight breeze and savouring the sights that is truly a tropical paradise. It's a long way down better get going and it's slightly more difficult too - one slip and its all over!

Back to base then among some disappointed snorkelers who were clearly expecting more marine life than was seen on this trip - 2 clown fish and 1 manta ray between the two Islands. Although I didn't quite conquer that last hill, still please to have got some uniquely scenic photos. Now though it's eating time as we try to scramble off the boat up onto the quayside - the tide has dropped considerably and no gangplanks around here, at least the water isn't too deep.

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