Monday, January 19, 2009

Getting to Komodo Island, Almost...

I had hoped to bring you a special report and photo album direct from Komodo Island, as my friend Bob has been out travelling in Asia since September. However, he ran into severe difficulties getting to the island and eventually had to admit defeat, as his email below explains...
After taking the ferry from Bali to Lombok (the next island to the east where we planned to maybe hike the big volcano, visit the Gili Islands, or book a trip to Komodo) we found more crappy weather, so our options became limited to travelling to Komodo by bus and ferry or travelling back to Bali and flying in from there.

We went for the 24-hour bus/ferry option to Komodo rather than travelling back to Bali. Unfortunately, by the time we reached the final ferry port on Sumbawa island ready for the eight hour trip to Labuan Bajo, we were behind schedule and reckon we just missed the morning ferry.

First, the bus company told us that we couldn't get tickets for the ferry right now because it would not depart for another four hours, and then, after a bit of arguing, we were told that the ferries had been stopped entirely due to the bad weather. The next one was due to go at 4am the next morning - but they couldn't guarantee it!

When we tried to go and check out the details for ourselves, the guys from the bus company followed us and basically told the people we were asking not to tell us anything or misinform us. We were then offered the chance to pay an excessive bus fare back to the nearest town, or wait about eight hours for a free ride back.

It was a totally horrible situation, but we eventually just got the hell out of there and got on a different bus back to the nearest town where we had to spend the night in a hotel and then fly all the way back to Bali the next day, because they didn't do flights from there to Labuan Bajo.

After we got back, we weren't particularly inclined to fly to Labuan Bajo at all, so we moped around in Bali for a day, and then I got a boat to the Gili Islands to take an open water diving course. So I'm sorry to report that we failed!! I was gutted, but it's wearing off now as we've seen some pretty cool stuff on the diving course so far. I ended today swimming with a massive manta ray, which was good for me but not so useful for you, I'm afraid. :-(

What a terrible shame. Thanks for trying Bob, and many thanks for sharing your experiences.


D.B. Echo said...

Sheesh. Maybe Douglas and Mark and company had the right idea, arranging a private boat to get them there.

Mosher said...

2 years later than originally planned, I'm aiming to get to Komodo this summer, around August. With any luck, I'll send you a report and just hope I have better luck than your fellow writer...

I've experienced crap like that in Asia before. The people there often come across as politicians - trying to find a short-term fix and instead creating a long-term problem. With their efforts to squeeze cash out of you and make a fast buck, they turn people off entirely and cost themselves money in the long run.

Fingers crossed I get a chance to be chases by a dragon in August!

Oh, and the diving over there rocks. I passed my Rescue Diver off Semporna in Malaysian Borneo and my Dive Master in Bali. Awesome place, hence my planned return later this year!