Labuan Bajo offers a lot in terms of adventure, and that it one of the reasons I was so excited to spend a few days there! It is the perfect base from which to go on a trip to see komodo dragons, dive with sharks and manta rays, and go trekking to see waterfalls. As soon as we had dropped our things off at the backpackers, I headed out to book some diving for the following day. I walked into the offices of Dive Komodo and arranged to do my Padi Advanced Course with them, beginning the next morning at 7AM.
I spent the next 2 days doing some incredible diving around Komodo National Park, seeing some of the biggest fish I have ever seen, sharks and magnificent coral. On the third day Norm came with on the boat to snorkel while I dived, and then to go on a trip to Rinca Island to see the komodo dragons. The first dive site for the day was Manta Point, and I saw manta rays and sharks during the drift dive. The current was really strong, and I felt a bit like someone floating about in space, but it was an awesome experience. Norm said he saw a manta while snorkelling too, but it didn’t hang around too long unfortunately.
Our trek to see the dragons wasn’t too much of a trek, more like a 45 minute walk on a path… which we were grateful for! Things did begin a but sourly though because of all the fees we were charged to enter the national park. We were charged suspicious ‘local tax’, that couldn’t be explained to us when we asked what, or who, exactly it was for. There were also additional camera charges, an entrance fee and a compulsory local guide fee. Anyway, our irritation dissipated soon enough when we saw the dragons. Our guide was also a really nice, knowledgable guy from a local village… he was too cute to be annoyed with! Seeing the dragons is one of those things you just have to do when you visit Flores, and it was a unique experience that I’m glad I had. Obviously it isn’t as overwhelming as seeing a shark or manta ray because they just lie sleepily in the sun. Our guide assured us that they can run extremely fast, and that they have attacked humans several times in the past few years, so that added a bit of fear and excitement to the whole experience.
Within a mere 3 days I had seen many amazing things and had once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and it was so great. I was itching to continue and travel deeper in Flores, but that would involve a lot more travelling, money and time. Norman and I debated it and eventually decided that as we had come this far already, we may as well continue! And so we began preparations for a trans Flores road trip on a motorbike!