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The Unforgettable Island Hopping Cruise: Flores-Komodo Island – Day 3

The sun don’t shine forever. But as long as it’s here then we might as well shine together.

Day 3 has arrived 🙂

I woke up with pink clouds hovering above my window.
The feeling of sleeping and waking up on a boat was truly magical, almost overwhelming.
I could not wait what other adventures await me today.

So I decided that today I will document more about my day, places I go, things I see,
as I haven’t really taken much pictures in the first few days of my trip.
Grabbed my breakfast and coffee and basked in the morning sun ray again
—a routine I could get used to—
Just this morning I was a little earlier on the deck to catch the sun rising in the perfect angle.
I spent my morning reading and chilling on the deck as the boat continued its voyage to our destination, Taka Makassar in between Komodo Island and Manta Point.
(As mentioned, my island hopping trip is subjected to the weather condition)
The boat started passing an this bay surrounded by crystal clear water and we know we have arrived to our destination.
Spotted a lone island with white sand and crystal clear water in the middle of the ocean. Too bad I did not have a drone to take the aerial view of the island.
The other side of the lone island with crystal clear water.
We started making our wait to the small islands (dubbed as the “emerged island” by Komodo Tourism). To get to Taka Makassar from either Komodo Island or Manta Point, and would only take just about 30 minutes, so I would really recommend you to check out this spot.
The islands are surrounded by coral reefs, too shallow for the big boat to past through, so you will have to get in a smaller boat. Even our guide struggled to get us to any of these islands because they didn’t want to break the corals. So they had to veer around the island to find an empty spot where they could enter without breaking the corals.
The water here is just splendid. I love this island.
We arrived to this secluded island with lots of broken shells and corals. It was almost impossible to walk on this beach.
But luckily as we walk further to the end of the island strip, we found ourselves a perfect soft sand spot to relax and lay down.
At first we didn’t realize the sand was pink. But we spotted the red corals scattering around and so I observed closer and realized the pink hues.
Opposite of this island is another white strip of island the famous “Moon Shape” island. You can basically just swim/walk from one island to another (the water is knees length).

Some photos are brighter because they were shot using a OLYMPUS digital camera, while some were shot using my Huawei P30 Pro. (It is probably also the sunlight).

As you can see, in some angle, the sand were white and not as pink.
So I decided to snorkel to the island opposite of me, 5 minutes into it and I was suddenly discouraged by the shallow water. Mind you, the view is gorgeous, but the fishes and corals here were ugly.
😦
(Sorry to disappoint you)
We decided to go see some starfishes instead, as on the boat when we were approaching the island we saw hundreds of them. So I asked Beby and Lily to join me.
Aren’t they gorgeous ❤ ?
And voila! These are just a few of the starfishes that we found. They were mostly brown and red.
After we found the starfishes, we got picked up to head back to the boat for lunch.
(Credit photograph: HelloFlores)

Taka Makassar is also known to be a secret spot for the moon shape island strip (it was the island that I was trying to swim to).

So it is worth it to bring a drone with you for this spectacular shot. I will sure be back in the future 🙂
(Credit Photo: HelloFlores)
At 2pm, we were told that we will be going to see the Jurassic Park of Asia. And it is no wonder why they gave this place the nickname. I mean look at it. It’s spectacle! Like a scene from the Jurassic Park movie! It felt so surreal being surrounded by these hillsides. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any place quite like Flores.
In Flores, I love how suddenly in some beach, the sand are super white, some are pink, and some are black. I also love how the water is so clear and so blue and I hope it stays this way forever. But it was sad to find that there would be rubbish floating on the beach in a lot of these small islands that we went to. Surprisingly, we were told by our crew that most of littering were from local Flores islanders/villagers (of course the tourists take parts in this too). Nevertheless, we should all make a conscious effort not to litter the beautiful nature. Pick up your own rubbish and take it back to the boat to dispose it properly.
So we had the whole beach to ourselves, and decided to drop off Beby and Lily here and the rest of us would go explore what’s on the other side of the island.

(From Left to Right: Beby, Lily, Alain, Jose and Sylvia)
So we decided it’s time for another exploration. On the other side of the island, the current is very strong but the cliff were chipped and chiseled into all these beautiful shapes as you will see.
The cliff was quite majestic but scary at the same time.
So check this out, I have a story to tell you. One of us said that it would be a scary place to shipwreck then Alain added that there are sharks swimming around here. Suddenly the boat engine stopped working, and we found ourselves stranded at this side of the island because apparently there was something wrong with the motor engine.

On top of that, Alain’s walkies-talkie didn’t work because there was no signal on this side of the island!!!

For about half an hour or longer, Alain and Risky were trying their best to fix the motor which got burnt out or something (some technical issues that I had no clue about).

I was so so scared that we would be shipwrecked here. In the shark infested water.
But in the end, they were able to push the boat out little by little to around the corner, just enough to find the signal and they were able to fix the motor. And we came back to pick up Beby and Lily.
So we journeyed some more to this island called The Sunset Island, apparently to catch the beautiful sunset view.
I started exploring the beach and found lots of trashes.

(This is the ugly truth of Flores. There are rubbish everywhere we went to. Plastics, bottles, etc.)
I tried to practice my photography skill. I think this one is quite artistic. The shadow, the angle, the color, everything is perfect.
I love love this particular part of the beach. The water smashed in a criss-cross angle here, it is pretty cool.
More photography practice.
The Savannah field. Mind you, these flowers are sharp and will cut you. So do not attempt to walk through it.
Sunset catching time. Alain brought champagne and bean bags for us to enjoy the view.

(Oops, Lily is playing hide and seek behind the bean bags)
And this is the last photo of the day.

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Next up: Read on for Day 4 ~

The Unforgettable Island Hopping Cruise: Flores-Komodo Island – Day 2

Day 2 has arrived.

Good morning!

I woke up super early to catch the sunrise.
In fact, I had been up since 4 am, stargazing out my window.

The sky was pitch black, which made all the twinkle of the starlight popped out
like nothing I had ever seen before.
It was so serene. So beautiful.
That I laid there counting stars,
and fell asleep and woke up again just in time for the sunrise.

It was the perfect way for my body clock to wake up.
And since the trip, my body had been waking up super early in the morning
(like 4-5am).
Let’s see how long I can still keep this rhythm going 😀
(This is the view without the window in my way).

You could see the clouds clearing its path for our Day 2 voyage.

Splendid!

Let’s begin our journey.
Love the warm splash of sunkissed orange on these hills.
The first thing I did was put on my bikinis, grabbed my Ray Ban, and head straight for a small breakfast. >_<
I brought my breakfast up to the deck to eat there to take a morning ray of sunshine bath–to wake up myself completely.
Just look at those pastel color of the sky, the undertone silhouette of the mountains,
and the ocean current dancing languidly to the wind.
They were slowly waking up with me.
(Oh how poetic) 😛
After an hour (yes the boat was still moving), we arrived to Sebayur.
This was supposed to be our Day 1 destination
– but as mentioned –
The itinerary were subjected to weather condition.
(We had to respect mother nature).

Behind me you will notice a big lone isle rock standing in the middle of the ocean.
Even from afar, you will see the slight discoloration of the rock.
That it is green.
The rock is not a typical kind of rock.
Not only it’s green, it’s also a talc.
My creative bug started itching me.
It’s about time I started writing my novel…
So I brought out my Mac Book, adjusted my seating angle (to move out of the sunlight).

I could only write for like, 30 minuets max.
And I was not inspired to write anymore.
As it turns out, the view was far too beautiful, too distracting, for a writer’s mind.
I could not concentrate.
I mean just look at these views…
And this…
And this…
Who could blame me for not being able to concentrate?
An hr or two later, the crew started anchoring the boat and Alain came to get me to go on a little island trip.
We took the speedboat, heading to Sebayur Resort for a nice little smoothie, while the other passengers went snorkeling to the turtle point near the Siaba Besur,
known as the “Turtle City”

(I was not in the mood for snorkeling that morning,
guess I was not fully awake yet).
Spotted some starfishes by the corals. The color were orange and blue.
(Blue starfish is poisonous by the way, never touch them).
Here in Sebayur Resort… you can stay here maybe for max. 2-3 nights,
and go explore the rest of Flores. Unless you’re looking for a really really quiet getaway then I would recommend staying here as long as your budget allows you.
By the way, I love the pink flower bush they had here in the middle of their resort.
A truly tropical flower, made you think for a moment that you’re not in Indonesia, it’s as if you’re in Polynesia or something.
(You could counter me, I’ve never been to Polynesia myself but it’s on my #bucketlist)
Alain got me a Papaya smoothie, they taste really refreshing.
Come to think, next time I would like to come back here to stay for a few nights and just finish my book.
After we left Sebayur Resort, we headed to Crystal Bay beach, where I finally decided to do some snorkeling.
Jose (our friend from the boat) took some nice shots of me free diving under the water with his underwater camera. I also have to invest in some underwater camera as well on my next beach trip.

The corals here were beautiful and colorful (not at the spot where we took the photo).
But the water got a bit too cold for me.
And my sprained ankle started getting a bit painful,
(I was doing boxing and injured my ankle, too much kicking).
As I wanted to rest my ankle and heal in time for Mt. Rinjani climb,
I decided to get out of the water and headed to the beach to relax.
Oh one thing about this beach, you can’t really swim to the shore from the water here, because there were too many corals.
You’d have to get there by the speedboat.
***Don’t ever attempt to swim to the shore***
This is how clear the water is (taken from the speedboat), but as you get closer, you will see a lot of corals on the shallow part.
There was nobody…
Literally nobody on the beach ❤ Just me and my trip buddy (Beby and Lily).
This is our paradise.
On the way back to the boat, I got a nice shot of PJ kayaking back from scuba diving. (We tried to capsize him but was unsuccessful).
Back to the Tanaka for lunch.
Back to the boat.
Here’s a picture of some of the crew.
The guy in the middle is also a pro scuba diver, Ekki.
He can also show you cool fishes.
And as he told me, some other time, you can catch him working on a different boat.
Forgot this guy’s name, but he’s the one working on all the engine and technical stuff of the boat. (He does not speak English so we didn’t talk much,
but he’s also a cool and polite fellow).
Talk about direct sale.
Came back on the boat and saw the villager boat selling local Flores pearl he got from his farm. So I helped bought some as a souvenir. My grandma will love these!
After lunch, headed up to the deck for sun-tanning session.
I was trying out my skincare product (still a work-in-progress/ in development).
It’s also got a natural UV protection property in it.
I wanted to test it out while being in the sun to see if there would be any side effects, discoloration, burnt, etc…
So far, it’s working great ❤ and I have already handed out some samples to my friends to try. Next, I would need to test it on a focus group.

This trip gave me inspiration for my product.
So when it is launched, you’ll be the first to know 🙂
Sunset time and everyone came up to join me.
Oh my, this color ❤
(This is not even photoshopped, I just post the photo as it is–as the way I took it)
And this…
And finally the sunset is gone. Time to clean up and dinner ❤

That was a wrap for Day 2.
Hope you enjoyed it so far and saw how relaxing and fun it was on the Tanaka cruise.

Read on for Day 3 in my next blog post~
Featured

The Unforgettable Island Hopping Cruise: Flores-Komodo Island – Day 1

*This trip is solo-female-traveler-friendly

In July, I had a call to adventure.

I decided to quit my job of 1 year (that I was not enjoying) and decided to embark on an epic adventure of my life… alone.

I took the opportunity to reset my head and regain my balance and booked a two-weeks holiday to Indonesia (in less than 10 days).

I have always wanted to do this trip.
To explore Flores.
The island of my dream.

— And also to climb Mt. Rinjani! —

So I divided my solo trip into 3 parts:

Trip 1: West Flores, Island Hopping – of which 5 days I was living aboard on this gorgeous cruise boat, called the “Tanaka“.

Trip 2: Ende, East Flores – to visit the East side of Flores which was famous for its beautiful tricolored lakes, Kelimutu.

Trip 3: Mt. Rinjani, Lombok – 3 days /2 nights trekking on Mt. Rinjani.

I recorded all my research and budget in excel like a perfectionist
(except I wasn’t and messed up some domestic transportation).

Regardless, I recommend booking Indonesia’s domestic flights with Nusatrip.com
(they were very fast to respond and they will allow you to make some cancellation with minimum processing fees).

Also, Baliferry.com for speed boats going to and from Bali
(however, I don’t recommend going with Blue Water Express.
I will tell you more about my experience with them later).
(credit image: Hello Flores)

Trip 1: Island Hopping
For 5 days and 4 nights, the Tanaka would take me island hopping around West Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.

My island hopping *itinerary* includes:
Day 1: Labuan Bajo – Sebayur Besar
Day 2: Sebayur Besar – Siaba Besa – Gili Lawa Darat (North Komodo)
Day 3: North Komodo – Central Komodo
Day 4: Central Komodo – Rinca
Day 5: Rinca Island – Labuan Bajo

*itinerary subject to weather condition
The agency that I contacted to organize this trip for me is https://helloflores.com
They provide the best service for island hopping cruise around Flores.
They are very professional and helpful in answering all your questions.
HelloFlores have partners with many boat operators and have a regular schedules so get in contact with them first for more details.

Be sure to use my referral code HFZEAN for 5% discount!

And subscribe to my newsletter for more tips & deals.
Day 1: Labuan Bajo – Sebayur Besar

Departuring from Bali, I took a flight to Labuan Bajo flying with Wings Air.
There was 1 hour delay in my flight, but it was pretty common for the domestic flights in Indonesia (as I’ve been told by the agent). So don’t worry about your flight being delayed for an hour. The Tanaka will wait for you to arrive and won’t leave without you. (Chances are other passengers taking the cruise would also be on the same flight as you too).
The view from the plane is breathtaking!

The beautiful rugged mountains with the savanna terrain, white sand, and blue water greeted you as you first touched down the airport of Bandar Udara Komodo in Labuan Bajo, which is the fishing town of Flores.

As a new emerging island destination, Flores’ diversity in marine life, beautiful corals (aside picturesque view) had gained its attraction in diving tourism, on par with that of Raja-Ampat’s, with just a little more budget friendlier 😉

But for me, it was not scuba diving that lured me to Flores (I’m more of a snorkeler).

The main two reasons were:

1) I wanted to see the one-of-a-kind, and never-before-seen-anywhere-else-in-the-world’s ferocious reptile that roamed the earth for millions of years:
the one and only Komodo Dragons

2) I wanted to witness the beauty of the pink beach of Flores
After landing at Labuan Bajo airport, I was picked up by the boat operator’s staff who transferred me and other passengers to a nice little cafe that sells scuba diving gears. (I forgot the name of the cafe, but it was overlooking the harbour of Labuan Bajo, where we would eventually get on a small speed boat to our Tanaka cruise).

At the cafe, we were greeted by Alain, the owner and designer of Tanaka, who built his own boat from scratch! (Amazing!) Alain is French, and had been living in Myanmar for 10 years, and one day he decided to quit his office job (just like me!) and pursued his passion in something related to traveling.

(Big applaud to Alain for the bravery and for following your passion!)
And Hallelujah! —
Here’s a good look at the Tanaka, our home for the next 5 days, cruising in PARADISE–E–E!!
(The downstairs lounge, where we were first welcomed with hot ginger tea – this area is used as resting area to prepare our gears before going off the boat)
(Where the crew sit and chill)

Oh, hello didn’t see you there Neleste!
Underwater, he is the guy who will show you where all the cool fishes hang out 🙂
like stingrays, baracudas, mantarays, and sharks!
(The main entrance and exit of the Tanaka)
(The side walkway to the cabin and dining area)
(The dining and living area)
(The sun deck for lounging and about)
After we got to relax on the boat, we made our first anchor near to Bidadari Island, the closest island to Labuan Bajo mainland and made our way there.
Bidadari Island – at first you won’t notice it. But if you look at the sand, they are pink!
(You thought it would be more pink? Well they used to be very pink. But people started taking the sands.)
(Someone was playing with the red corals, arranging them into this shape
– not me!)

In Flores, most beaches have these red corals that get broken down and its residue is what made the sand pink.

Hence, the pink beach phenomenon!
So I found my spot, fell asleep, and woke up with no sun burnt as I was lying in the shade.
There were quite a few tourist boats coming to Bidadari island.
But not too crowded that they will photobomb your selfie 🙂
I went to explore the left side of the beach and noticed that the rocks were green.
In fact, I kind of noticed in the water that some of the rocks were faintly green, but they were small.

As you walk to this side of the beach, the green rocks become more abundant and apparent (the size is much bigger than the one in the water).
I don’t know how the rock became green, guessing it was due to the minerals.
But I am an avid collector of rocks and shells, so I took some home as a small souvenir 😀
The sun is starting to set so we will soon head back to the Tanaka.
Back on the Tanaka to clean up and in time for sunset watching.

As a solo traveler and an outgoing introvert, I had no problem making new friends and chatting up people in general.

So my first night was about catching names of other travelers on the boat.
Not only the company was good.
The food was “superb!”

And that’s a wrap for my Day 1 🙂
A nice and easy day.

Read on for Day 2 in my next post.