We arrived in the small town of Labuan Bajo, which is on the island of Flores, in Indonesia. We stayed at a really cool place called Le Pirate. We had a tiny room, but it was really comfortable, nicely decorated, and had a hamock outside on porch. There was a rooftop bar, with a plung pool to watch the amazing sunsets over the harbour every night, and an onsite restaurant, serving great food. The location was very close to the harbour, so it was great when you needed to board a boat for a snorkeling trip.
The only downside to staying where we were located, was that we were positioned what felt like directly in between two mosques, and every morning at 4am, they began their chanting.
The town of Labuan Bajo is boring, and there is very little to do, it is primarily a starting point for trips to the Komodo islands. We walked to one of the nearby beaches, and it was so filthy dirty, that we did not dare enter the water, even though it was extremely hot weather.
We were excited to begin our adventures in the area, and booked a tour to the Komodo National park. Our tour began at 5am, as we boarded a slowboat and journeyed 4hours to the island of Padar. We hiked from the beach to the top viewpoint of the island, where we could see both sides of the peninsula and took some great pictures. After the hike, we again boarded the boat, and made our way to the Komodo National park.
When we arrived at the park, we hired a guide who took us on a guided walk through the park, to see the Komodo dragons in their natural habitat. The dragons are not in cages, and roam the island freely, so a guide is needed as they are able to help if there is an incident. The dragons were really large and one bite from their bacteria ridden mouth, can cause you to die a slow death.
After leaving the dragons in the national park, we made our way by boat to the famous “Pink Beach” for some snorkeling. The beach has pink sand due to red coral pieces that have been crushed and mixed with the sand by the waves. The area is really dense in corals, and fish, as it is all inside the protected marine park, and the snorkeling was amazing. We spotted some huge colour changing cuttlefish, as well as a large moray eel, and too many beautiful corals to mention.
After the snorkeling at Pink Beach, our next stop was “Manta Point”, where we got to go snorkeling with giant mata rays. We trolled the area in the boat until rays were spotted, then we all jumped into the water and swam with them as far as we could go. It was awesome seeing these majestic animals flying in bird like motion through the water.
After swimming with the manta rays we started our long journey back, and we were caught in a late afternoon monsoon storm. The wind and rain came suddenly, and the temperature dropped drastically. The waves were large, and we were unable to see very far, even the boat driver was struggling to verify our location. We rode through the storm which lasted about an hour, before we managed to break through and get back to calmer waters and weather.
Two days later we went on another snorkeling trip, this time to three closer islands, known as Kanawa, Sabola and Seraga. This was to be another amazing day of snorkeling, with calm clear water all day, and amazing reefs, corals, fish, turtles and creatures everywhere. We were so excited to spot and swim with a rare Black-banded sea krait, a highly venomous but extremely beautiful sea snake. We we very excited to see lionfish properly for the first time in the wild. We spotted one, and then suddenly found we were surrounded by many, we watched them hunting among the corals
Just like the previous trip, like clockwork, a storm came in the afternoon, and we were caught in the rough seas. This time as our boat was leaving the snorkel site, another boat that was near ours, anchored to the pier, managed to sink, luckily there was nobody on-board at the time. We again ride through the storm, back to the town for the day.
On the 8th of November (Francois birthday) we decided to go snorkeling along with the scuba guys as they were going to dive spots in the national park, known for large fish and reefs. The one place on the trip that was mind blowing was the island of Batu Bolong. We had never seen so many beautiful brightly coloured fish in such a small area. The island also had schools of large fish swimming by all the time, and we saw a giant moray eel swimming along the rocks.
After three amazing snorkel trips, Flores was definitely our new favourite snorkeling destination. It was time to leave Indonesia and make our way to our next destination of Cape Town.
We made a video of some of our snorkeling in Flores, here it is below, enjoy 🙂