Hello Friends and Family!
Wow, is it really July already? We can't believe how fast time is flying by. We are back in Bali after a whirlwind trip through East Indonesia. The last time we posted we were leaving Lovina to head to Gili Islands. We woke up at 4:00 a.m. as we were told our driver would pick us up at 4:30 a.m. Well, that turned out to be more like a 5:30 a.m. start. That seems to be how things go in Indonesia. We said goodbye to Lovina and prepared for a 2-hour car ride followed by a 2-hour speed boat trip.
You can walk around the entire island in less than 90 minutes. We did many laps of exploring around the island. It was so beautiful here!
Two Bintangs and an amazing sunset? Yes, please! This was how we spent our evenings while in Gili Air.
It was quite relaxing in Gili Air and our days were spent reading, swimming and enjoying some wonderful Indonesian food. It was a good thing that this island was so relaxing because Leanne wound up catching some sort of horrible bug and spent a few days recuperating. Within no time she was back at it and we signed ourselves up for a 4-day, 4-night boat trip to Komodo Island.
We left a little piece of our hearts with Gili Air as we packed up and headed to the harbor to begin our journey to Komodo Island.
We don't even really know how to properly explain our boat trip to Komodo National Park. It was full of ups and downs, literally! It was a 4-day, 4-night boat trip. We were thinking it would be a sizable boat since there were 18 passengers and 5 crew members. Boy, were we wrong! We are fairly confident that our boat was actually a fishermen's boat. The lap of luxury...not so much! The first two days and nights were horrific but the last two days and nights were all worth it.
All 18 passengers slept upstairs. We are not sure who decided that many people could fit in this amount of space. It made for an intimate setting to say the least. At one point Josh rolled on top of Leanne and Leanne rolled on top of Stefano, the nice Italian guy that slept next to her for four nights.
This picture was taken shortly after we "set sail." There were no bon voyage cocktails on this boat. We were all smiles at this point enjoying meeting everyone on the boat. When the sun set and the night kicked in you could stare at the waves in the ocean and see plankton that glowed in the dark. It was really cool and definitely a great way to pass the evenings.
The first stop was showering at this beautiful waterfall. The problem with this was that we had to swim from the boat to the shore. After our freshwater shower we had to swim back to the boat. We guess 10 minutes of being clean is better than none.
Making new buddies on the water. We represented the United States, France, Spain, Holland, Italy, Canada, Australia and Czech. We guess it is easier to refer to ourselves as fishermen rather than passengers. Believe it or not, one of our fellow fishermen was from Boulder, Colorado!
Leanne tried to put on a happy face despite being lured in by the seasick monster.
The snorkeling was absolutely amazing. As we island hopped, we would stop and jump off the boat to check out the coral. Josh was lucky enough to see an Eagle Ray!
After two days and two very long nights, Leanne turned her deepest shade of green before finally painting the side of the boat. Meanwhile, Josh was drinking beers and local spirits with his new buddies like he was floating down the Guadalupe river on a hot summer day. That second night was the worst night on the boat. Around 2:00 am, everyone woke up wondering if we were going to flip over because the sea was so rough. However, by the time the morning rolled around we were greeted with calm waters and beautiful scenery.
Finally, Komodo National Park. We paid money to see these walking dinosaurs. The mood of the entire boat shifted the moment we set eyes on these incredible creatures. Those rough nights were all worth it!
The men on our boat made a feeble attempt to catch dinner. We wound up eating vegetables and rice that night.
While we were anchored in the middle of the ocean, children would boat up to us in an attempt to make money while selling all kinds of trinkets. This boat of cuties was selling wooden Komodo Dragons. Leanne gave one of them a pen and you would have thought it was Christmas morning.
The next morning we woke up early to catch a spectacular sunrise.
Our next stop was Rinca Island. This island was full of wildlife from Komodo Dragons, monkeys, water buffalo, deer and wild boar!
Getting ready to hike!
They had a list posted of Komodo Dragon attacks. It's hard to see in this picture but if you enlarge the photo you can see the list of attacks on the island. Newer entries were hand written. Luckily we had the latest in technology to protect us from the dragons. A stick! Haha!!!
On this particular island, monkeys are the main food source for the Komodo Dragons.
We saw a group of four of them chilling out.
Young Komodo Dragons live in trees for the first four years or so until they become adults and can no longer climb the trees. Adult Komodo Dragons will kill and eat the younger ones so this is why the hid in the trees.
There were thousands of lizards on this island but there was only one Joshzilla. Meanwhile, Leanne felt like she was at home with people of her stature.
Time for a group photo!
We arrived in Flores, our finally destination, on the fourth night. There were six of us that decided to stay on the boat for one last night to save a few bucks. We met up at a local bar with an amazing sunset to say goodbye and celebrate life.
We took a flight back to Bali and spent our last few days there. On the last day Josh took a walk on the beach while Leanne laid out. A local Indonesian man approached her and asked "Where are you from?" Leanne said "America." He innocently replied "You can't be from America because your nose is too big." You can't blame the man for calling it like it is. He then proceeded to ask her "How do you make your teeth so white. Do you brush them everyday?"
That's a good segway into our topic of...
You know you're in a third-world country when:
- Your domestic airline ticket looks like this:
It's the back of a receipt that says "Ok, thanks": and then somebody's name scribbled. (It worked!)
- The pilot of the plane is chain-smoking the entire flight
- You have to flush your toilet with several buckets of water (there are no automatic toilets)
While traveling through East Indonesia the pessimist would say, "You shower with your toilet water." The optimist would say, "You poop in your shower water."
Either way Indonesia will always have a special place in our hearts and we truly believe that we have made some lifelong friends through our adventures.
As always, thanks for following us and we look forward to catching up soon!
Leanne & Josh