Thursday, August 12, 2010

Indonesia Part 4.1 - Komodo Liveaboard

On August 1st, with exactly ten of our twenty vacation days behind us, therese and i boarded the Jaya Liveaboard dive boat. Our five night itinerary would include thirteen dives in some of the most exciting and impressive waters in Asia, in and around the Komodo/Rinca National Park. Nine passengers, three dive masters, and five crew members cracked open cold beers and started getting acquainted. We passengers were all about the same age and like-minded- two from san fran, a dutch couple, an aussie dude, a brit chick, and a swiss girl. We were having a good 'ol time. But as the boat pulled out of the harbor, we got some bad news from Jeremy, the lead dive master; there were engine problems. DUN DUN DUHHHHHHNN.

We all decided to hang in there and give it a try the next day. As a consolation, all the beer we drank that evening was on the house, and we would be treated to a few dives while we chilled out. But the next night, engine still no worky. By this point, we were all getting to be pretty chummy. We were all so chill hanging out with each other, that we all agreed to give them one more day to fix the engine. The aussie, Mark, and i played a little impromptu concert for everyone. He's a pretty awesome guitarist and singer, and i improvised a hand drum out of a 15 gallon water jug. Then we all got drunk.

Day three - we did a few more dives (my first muck dive... saw nudibranches, huge crabs, harlequin shrimp and the rare ornate ghost pipefish) and hung out on the boat, reading, relaxing in hammocks, enjoying good food and working on suntans. Long story short- the engine would not be fixed, and we would all get complete refunds. We were all dejected. Excitement had been built up and released many times over three days, but it was now official. The trip was cancelled.

In a flash of brilliance, we started researching other options. In the span of two hours, the nine of us had decided to fly to Komodo the next morning and were confirmed for 4 nights on the Mona Lisa, a much nicer boat than the Jaya. The price would work out to be roughly equivalent, the diving equal, both in quality and quantity, and best of all, we kept the team together! In addition, the Mona Lisa had hot, fresh water for showers, private bathrooms, and was not infested with thousands of tiny cockroaches, as the Jaya was. Unfortunately, we would not be able to bring our amazing dive masters with us, and we said sad goodbyes to Jeremy, Adam and Malin.

Actually, the whole Jaya ordeal turned out to be pretty sweet: we got four nights accommodation, three free dives, meals, beers, and awesome people to hang out with on a cool boat, all for free. AND we would still be able to do the Komodo diving on a better boat with the same awesome people. WIN!

After a five hour layover in Bali spent almost entirely in the luxurious Starbucks (where i posted Indonesia Part 3.2), we made it to Labuanbajo, Flores, and eventually the Mona Lisa. The next four days were an amazing blur of relaxation, diving, reading, frolicking with sea creatures, jamming, eating delicious food, trekking to the Komodo Dragons, drinking coffee and beer, and loving life. I could have spent a lifetime there.

The Speed Boat

The Mona Lisa

The Relaxing

The Dragons
Six feet long, poisonous, free to roam the island, the Komodo Dragons are awesome creatures to see. The whole national park is a self-sufficient, undisturbed ecosystem. The dragons are at the top of the food chain and feed off monkey's, deer, buffalo, and whatever they can find. We visited during mating season when they pair off and go into the forest, and you are not guaranteed to see any while on the trek. We saw ten. And some monkeys.

The Extra Shots from Rebecca's Camera
... in addition to the one above where mark and i are passed out at the table. Too good not to use. The first one is our tour guide in Komodo, armed with his stick to defend us from an attacking dragon. He was pretty chill though, and about 14 years old.
Above, from left to right: Sarah (brit), Anna and John (more brits), Mark (the aussie), Rebecca and Tom (from san fran), Kev and Therese, and Stephanie (the swiss).


1 comment:

Liveaboard Indonesia said...

Looks like you had a great time on board the boat with other divers who are excited to plunge into the deep blue sea.