As we started our westward journey across Flores, we came across a small town called Riung. It was a good little anchorage with a small restaurant at the end of a long pier so we headed in for dinner. We were surprised to see other travellers here, as we had not seen many other westerners during our time in Flores. There is fabulous diving in the surrounding islands and Riung is the jumping off point for the dive boats, so they cater for some tourists. Luxury!
We met a spanish girl who told us there was a band playing down the road, so we wandered down there and had a lovely evening listening to a really good band, drinking bintan and relaxing. It’s so much fun discovering places like this – I hope they stay the same and don’t become spoilt over time.
We moved on the next day to a small anchorage called Gili Bodo on Sabibi Island. (top pic) We were visited by an array of small boats all wanting something. We gave them all lollipops and asked them if they had any fish. One small boy of about 12 grinned and said he would go and get some for a magazine – the main method of learning English, so I told him if he bought a couple he could have two magazines! I mentioned bananas and he said yes he could find some and some papaya and potatoes – score! We didn’t really think he would return but within the hour he came back laden with goodies. No fish unfortunately but enough fruit to last days. He wanted fishing gear to Ian made up a few hooks and he was thrilled. He also got some clothes, pens and paper as well as the magazines. We were impressed that he had not only kept to his word but realised the benefits of barter rather than just expecting gifts. That night we had some other people over for dinner – satay chicken not fish! We are running really low on meat now with only three more meals in the freezer. Looks like we may become vegetarians after all.
Next morning we upped anchor and set off for Labaun Bajo. LBJ, as it’s affectionately called, is the main centre for visiting Komodo National Park and the famous Komodo dragons, so we knew we could re-provision and fill up with diesel. We chose to anchor at the Eco resort – an upmarket hotel with pool!
I loved Labuan Bajo. It was another very clean, busy little town with many young travellers all here to dive and visit Komodo. As a result there was a great range of restaurants, supermarkets and shops. Many of the Sail Indonesia fleet were here already so about 15 of us all went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner – which was very welcome after all the local food. We went in by water taxi which took about 15 mins, but our taxi home never materialised so we hitched a lift with a large tender to one of the dive boats, which had a 50HP engine. We were home in 5 mins.
We spent the next day re-provisioning. A good selection of supermarkets but not a large range. I did find Olive oil so bought a litre bottle which went way over our budget but we may not find it again for a while. We bought new sunnies, a couple of slabs of Bintan, tonic water (for my gin of course) and fresh veg. All good except we smashed the olive oil on the way back to the boat – ho hum…
We wandered around town, exploring the little side alleys and everyone was very friendly and warm towards us. The side streets were spotless – they must sweep up every day. We know they pile the rubbish up on the main road and tend to use the ocean as their rubbish tip, but within their own private environment they keep everything clean. It was a maze of houses, shops, washing, motorbikes and chickens. Of course the kids all loved having their photos taken and just ran along beside us shouting ‘hello mister’
We had lunch with quite a few other cruisers at a lovely restaurant, obviously overlooking the harbour as they all do, and all were quite surprised as it turned out to be an amazing meal with lovely presentation. The complete meal including drinks and coffee came to less than $10. Could eat here every day …..
Feeling very full, we decided to go the the fish market. Big mistake as we missed all the squid and the other fish were covered in flies. Fish markets should be visited before 7am we discovered. So laden with all our shopping we headed back to the water taxi. Tiger Lilly, Atlantis, Indian Summer, Gaultine all loaded into the boat but half way across, because of the chop, they decided that we were overladen, so they pulled up alongside the fuel barge and asked four of us to get off, wait on the barge and they would come back later. So Stedem (Atlantis), Lilly (Tiger Lilly), Lou (Gaultine) and me all climbed on board and watched our little taxi with our partners, (and beer) chuff off while the water boys bailed! A good fun day that was.