The Seven Seas News - July 2013
Seven days on the Seven Seas
By Linda Garland
Two families who are lifelong friends joined for a trip on our favorite boat, the Seven Seas, which we have sailed with for 8 years already, and every trip is as good as the last. Ages from 65 to 2 years old! Five small kids we have on board, as well as five divers and some snorkelers. So a tall order to keep us all happy!
Day 1: Off we Go!
Sea eagles fly over us as we pull out of port, what a perfect welcome. Sailing out of Labuan Bajo's classically beautiful bay filled with a fleet of Indonesian wooden sailing Prahu, it feels like a maritime museum of the archipelago. We glide through the Islands of the park, a sculpture garden in the sea, such a different world is Komodo, each time we leave we re-plan to come back, it's a love affair with nature.
First stop a perfect little beach for the kids, shady, good walks and gentle snorkeling, lots of beautiful little fish at knee high water so perfect for the little one's first introduction to the underwater world. Then we kayaked while the others had the first dive, all very happy campers.
Day 2: Batu Monco
White bellied sea eagle with us again, diving for fish. The divers saw rays, turtles and fish galore. We walked in the finest sand with komodo trails only, lots more to see snorkeling from the beach, the water turquoise blue ... The trade winds keeping us cool which is perfect under the sun. Yummie steak barbequed for dinner, the boat is very relaxed and space for everyone to be together and apart.
Day 3: Gili Lawa Laut
Favorite dives Crystal Rock and Castle Rock, everyone in AWE. This is Komodo at its best. Drift snorkel for the non divers lots of big fish many large trevallies, the area damaged from the storm is coming back to life fast, much faster than they had originally thought... Soooo happy to see this... Late afternoon picnic and drinks on another pristine beach, so temping to collect shells... But we all respect the park rules of NO TAKE. I wake at sunrise daily as we often sail at 5 am to our next destination, and morning light is perfect for photography, the next menu of magical memories.
Day 4: Gili Lawa Darat
The back deck is where I do my meditation and yoga in the early morning, always catches the breeze, the divers go back to Castle Rock as they have sooo much more to see and it is one of the great dives anywhere. Reports of lots of sharks, the adrenaline is rushing... Divers so stoked! Bugis beach with a current running fast so fun for us all to play in for hours with the kids, thousands of tiny silver fish leap out of the water unexpectedly all around us, what a rush.... A group hiked up the hill for sunset. We have a bird watcher amongst us who is seeing lots of interesting birds.
Day 5: Sebita
Diving at Karang Makassar, one of two atolls in the center of the park, we all see soo many manta rays, both snorkelers and divers, they say they always come here at the new moon, some of the divers are finishing their Nitrox course, which means longer dives in the future. Batu Bolong dive lots of turtles and rays how perfect after a long afternoon nap. We, the beach team, all swam in another current, its exhilerating, and makes the swim more exciting. Rays again in the second snorkel of the day, we got lucky. At 6pm we go in small boats to watch the migration of thousands of bats as they fly for their evening meal to Flores. Strange, almost surreal with them all over head...
Day 6: Horseshoe Bay and Padar
My very favorite dive on Cannibal rock still in its full glory, the new divers are speechless. Many say it's the best of the trip... The snorkelers hover over the top and can see hundreds of different corals and fish which are only meters below the surface. Two more fun beaches at Nusa Kode. Sand castles, kayaking, this is really the dream family holiday, all the different groups are having maximum fun...
We visit South Rinca for Komodos in the wild, scary for the little kids at first but when they actually see them, it's an imprint for life as an experience. I still remember my first time so clearly... One of the family has a binocular camera so even when they were retreating into the forest he managed to get great images of these very ancient creatures.
Sunset time we hike across Padar to red sand beach my personal very favorite beach, its much wider and longer than the others so fun to play games. We had a football game with the crew, frisbee with the kids, I swam and others beach-combed till the sun went down with a glass of wine and snacks before a bumpy ride boating home to the Seven Seas...
Day 7: Visit the National Park Center
Lots of Komodo dragons and other animals to be seen at close quarters... Winding down, with all the usual fun of the last dives and snorkel sessions. Barbecue on Kelor island, lots of guitar playing and singing. Already planning the next trip... This is as close to perfection that I know of anywhere...