Indonesia – Diving and dragons

After the Rinjani Trek, some relaxation was definitely called for, and Gili Trawangan (Gili T) provided that in spades. An island with no motorised transport, where the sole activities available were drinking, eating and diving - well, I'm sure there were other things to do, but I wasn't going looking for them. I managed to get four or five dives in (including an abortive attempt at gaining the Rescue Diver qualification, kiboshed by injury), and otherwise did nothing for five days. Bliss! Impressively, I didn't take a single photo on the island - a shame, as the horse-drawn carts were a nice thing to see trotting up and down the narrow back streets on the island. My time left on this trip was drawing short, and I couldn't stay on Gili T forever (well, in theory I could have changed my flight dates, but that's a dangerous thing to do - I might never have gone home), so I booked passage to Flores - the 'capital' of the Komodo National Park. I had two options, a 2-3 day boat ride, or a 1-2 day bus. Strange how simple decisions can change a trip so much - I picked the bus. The journey was long and uncomfortable, and at a 4am changeover one of the other passengers realised that she couldn't find her iPad. After a quick check of the bus that we'd been travelling on and not finding it, everyone checked their bags to discover that there had been a thief on board. Along with the missing iPad, my wallet (which had been in my small pack) was missing every banknote (various currencies, totalling over £300), and another girl had had her expensive camera taken. The thief was clearly quite smart - the camera had been replaced with a couple of drinks cans, so the weight of her camera bag was unchanged - clever. The three of us were quite despondent - particularly the girls, who'd lost weeks worth of photos which hadn't been copied off the devices. I think I came off very lightly, considering I still had my camera and laptop. We all visited the police station in our destination (Labuan Bajo) the following day, but none of us were in any way expecting them to do anything - I actually had to type up our police reports myself, as they couldn't seem to work their own computers! Lesson learned - if you're going to sleep on a night bus, lock your bags and hold them tight, otherwise a light-fingered local will go on a shopping trip through then. Following the effectively wasted day visiting the inept Indonesian police, I joined some of the other former bus passengers on a days diving trip, which would also include a visit to the Komodo National Park...
Eroded islands

Eroded islands

They think they're on a hunt...

They think they're on a hunt...

This one knew we were there

This one knew we were there

A lazy Komodo Dragon

A lazy Komodo Dragon

The diving was in some high current areas - we were warned that if we strayed from the divemaster it would be likely that we'd be swept off and would need rescuing - I made sure to stay close! It was a little bit of a shame that my final dives of the trip weren't brilliant - there were a couple of incompetent/annoying divers in the group who incovenienced everyone else. Emptying their tanks in twenty minutes, colliding with other divers - at one point I had my regulator knocked out by someone passing beneath me too close. Ah well, nobody's perfect like me 😉 The lunchtime visit to Komodo island was fun - seeing the giant lizards sunning themselves, and trundling about like miniature dinosaurs. Particularly amusing were a group of American's dressed for an African safari, complete with matching khaki outfits and unnecessarily excessive camera gear.
Possibly too big for the dragons to eat
Fishing boats parked for the night

Fishing boats parked for the night

A spectacular sunset

The sun sets on my trip...

After a really good final night - the sunset, a fantastic BBQ fish dinner on the harbourfront, and drinks in great company - I managed to oversleep and miss my flight to Singapore. Silly really, and an expensive mistake, but this was the first flight that I'd ever missed so I wasn't going to kick myself over it. Booking an alternative flight was a simple task, and it wasn't long until I was back in Singapore for the final night of my trip. I must confess that I felt a little blue, wandering the streets of Clarke Quay - my nine month journey was about to come to an end. On the other hand, a couple of thoughts brought a smile to my face - I was about to see my Liverpool friends again, and I'd be able to start planning another trip! So, this chapter draws to a close, but the story will most definitely go on...
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