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Komodo and North Flores Coastal Cruise 250 miles 5, 6 or 7 days From Labuanbajo to Maumere
Top Indonesia sea voyages are meant as suggestions for the interesting courses that ships may follow through the archipelago. These routes are for planning purposes only and one must keep in mind that the itinerary and program may have to be modified as a result of unfavorable winds or other circumstances. This coastal cruise from Labuan Baju to Maumere includes a visit to the Komodo National Park and covers about 250 miles. This route would take about six days and could of course also be made in reverse.
The small harbor of Labuan Bajo on the west coast of Flores is the gateway to the Komodo National Park and only 30 nautical miles from Komodo Island itself.
On the first day, after a few hours of sailing we suggest you anchor at one of the many small islands in the heart of the National Park for a first taste of beachcombing and snorkeling. The final destination for the day is Rinca’s Loh Buaya Bay where you spend the night at anchor.
On the second day do go ashore on Rinca Island to watch the Komodo dragons in their natural habitat. Go on a trek through the Park in the company of one of the experienced rangers and other than some of the infamous dragons you are likely to encounter buffaloes, deer and horses. Afterwards cross over to a spectacular beach location on Padar Island for some exceptional snorkeling. Anchor for the night in Loh Liang Bay of Komodo Island.
Start the third day, again early in the morning, by going ashore on the island that has given the dragon as well as the National Park its name. Accompanied by another one of the Park rangers, do go for another hike on this very special island. The ranger shows you the dens and nests of the dragons and you learn a lot more about this mysterious creature, the single land animal from the era of the dinosaurs still surviving until today. In the afternoon we suggest a stop at the small island of Mesa to visit a settlement of the Baju, the ‘Sea Gypsies’ who are indigenous to the area of the Lintas Strait and live in houses on wooden stilts that are often underwater during the high tide. As the sun sets start off on the overnight passage to the North Coast of Flores.
On the morning of the fourth day you reach the Riung Islands, a group of uninhabited islands with white sand beaches and beautiful coral gardens just off the coast. Here you spend the whole day beachcombing and snorkeling. When one climbs up the hill there are spectacular views of Flores. We suggest raising the anchor sometime in the course of the night for the 40 mile passage to the Island of Palu’e.
Try to reach the island at sunrise and anchor at Punga Beach on the southwestern side of Palu’e. This almost-circular island is in fact an active volcano that last erupted in august 2013. It has a population of just under ten thousand people, who speak their own language. There are eight villages on the island but no roads or vehicles. The island rises to about 900 meters and the slopes are covered by jungle with only little arable land for farming. At the highest point of the island are the twin craters. We suggest you make an early morning trek up the hill to a site that goes by the name of Ko’a, where the villagers preserve a proud heritage in which ancestor worship remains a key ingredient. You will observe traditional village life in a place where drinking water has always been a luxury so the villagers have a routine to boil the brackish ground water and condense this into bamboo poles.
After your stopover on this out of the way island that is rarely visited by outsiders, you have the option to sail the ten miles to Ropa on the Flores coast or head straight to Maumere which is 35 miles further to the east. From Ropa there is a road that leads to the Kelimutu. It would add a day to the cruise if you would decide to undertake a trip to the volcano. Maumere is the business center of the island with the principal airport on Flores. Top Indonesia will assist you with all further travel arrangements.