I had wanted to do a trip like this for so long to see the Komodo Dragons but pretty much every review I had read was not so good, from the misadventures of Adventurous Kate to the bad reviews on Trip Advisor.
I ended up booking with PT Nuansa Wisanta Bahari from the Gili Islands for this 3 night, four-day trip, and a short trip to Lombok was where our tour was to start. This company ran one of the tours on offer within my budget and were recommended to me by the Hostel I was staying at. I booked a cabin as well which just gave me that little bit of extra space and privacy. Others slept in the big main cabin where there are just rows of plastic mattresses. The passengers on this trip ranged in ages from 18 to about 33, and then there was me. As I have found with most trips blending in with younger people is never an issue, and younger travellers are generally pretty cool and eco-friendly!
Before setting sail there is a briefing on what to expect, and you could purchase snacks, beer and non-alcoholic beverages which were kept in a big chiller on board. You are expected to keep track of your own drinks and not drink other peoples. The boat was quite big and seaworthy and the crew were friendly, helpful and experienced and most spoke English. It wasn’t a first-class trip by any means but the scenery and snorkelling was some of the best I have come across in all my travels.
There was no boat shower, just a 200L water drum and a container for washing the salt off yourself. Toilets were clean (bucket flushing) and there was toilet paper. The cost also included the use of reasonable snorkelling equipment. There were also power outlets to charge your devices. All flip-flops are stored in a basket for when we went to a beach or island as bare feet are the norm on the boat.
The scenery and the views we encountered were absolutely out of this world and I got to snorkel with multi-coloured fish, manta-rays and turtles.
We stopped at Pink beach, and yes the sand is a slight shade of pink! Most of us swam there from our boat and then a little dingy arrived selling ice cold BINTANG for $1.00, winning!
Komodo Island had a “Twilight Zone” kind of vibe. It was very humid and damp. It was different to the other islands we had visited. Komodo Dragons are lazy feckers, they barely move but if they decide to attack, then they can move really fast and you would probably be killed. There was one guide for 5 people. I almost shit myself when a big Dragon decided to walk out of the ladies toilet when we arrived.
At the end of the trip, when we arrived in Labuan Bajo, most of the accommodation was already booked out, but our Captain let us sleep an extra night on the boat for free. He took our boat away from the Harbour and dropped anchor about 400m offshore ensuring no random person boarded us (when you berth at the Port you are expected to climb over about 4 boats to make it to the jetty).
Overall this was a unique experience, sailing four days on a boat and seeing blazing sunsets, colourful alive coral, abundant marine life and feeling the VIBE of Nature.
TIPS: Take a sleeping bag liner to sleep in.
Take extra snacks
Lower your expectations, this is Indonesia not luxury cruising