Posted on April 18, 2017
Komodo Dragons, snorkeling crystal turquoise waters with manta rays, secret waterfalls, epic vistas, why wouldn’t you take the boat from Lombok to Flores? Read on! Or just watch the video I made:
Before leaving on this journey, I heard so many rumors about the safety and crudeness of the voyage in general- not enough food, dangerously low safety standards, filthy boats, near-death swells, no proper toilet… But taking this cruise with Wanua Adventures was a 10 out of 10 experience. I would completely recommend it. This trip was the adventure of a lifetime. It was inexpensive, so remote and we visited places I never in my life thought I would get to.
Below I’d like to dispel some of the rumors about this boat trip from Lombok to Flores:
The boat: It was spotless, comfortable and very sea worthy. Our captain and crew were fantastic. They were completely relaxed but highly aware of all goings on. We felt extremely safe and well taken care of. There were enough life jackets (I counted), life rafts and radio as well. All things I’d heard there wouldn’t be on an Indonesian backpacker boat expedition. I’d also heard that the boat would be tiny. It wasn’t. Maybe previous bloggers who had written up this trip had never taken a boat cruise before or maybe they expected something like an American all-inclusive cruise package (which thankfully this wasn’t). The boat was plenty big enough for 30 of us. Boat life is smaller than land life, it’s a fact. We never felt cramped or crowded. We even did yoga one day on the deck!
The food: The food was basic but our bellies were never grumbly. It was mostly vegetarian. Every meal had rice, vegetables and often tempeh. We were also given the option to purchase snacks and beer in advance which the crew would keep stored and cold. When we ran out, a motorised canoe magically showed up next to our boat one day with a scraggly looking man and a cooler full of beer for purchase. It was literally in the middle of nowhere and I don’t know how the captain pulled that off. I’ve never seen such excitement over a cooler of beer in my life. We cleaned him out. There was always enough at meals but never more than we needed. I was even surprised that every day we had fruit with lunch! Banana chocolate pancakes for breakfast were an especially delightful highlight.
Bathrooms: There were 2 bathrooms on the Wanua Adventures boat from Lombok to Flores. 1 squat toilet, 1 western. Flush was bucket flush, which is totally normal for this part of the world (and for boats). I’ve taken luxury sailing trips before and I can attest that these were some of the nicer bathrooms I’ve squatted over on a boat. Never once did anyone have to wait in line to relieve themselves and never once were the bathrooms dirty or with unwanted surprises. It’s basic, it’s Asia. We all seemed to do just fine.
The timeframe: I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out on the boat, getting to know the wonderful group of international travelers who were co-sailing together. Maybe we got lucky, every one was on the same vibe and the waters were calm and smooth the entire way. I had heard horror stories of rough seas and people sharing last words. But honestly, bring some Dramamine and suck it up. Trust in the preparedness and experience of the captain who surely knows Indonesian waters and the capabilities of his boat better than we do. Seasickness happens and it is completely out of the control of the company and crew. If you’ve never taken a boat trip then obviously it might be surprising how much time is spent on the boat. But this is more of a mode of transportation than a proper tour. Yes, we spent hours sailing each day. That was one of the best parts! We floated by volcanoes, islands, stunning deserted beaches and remote villages. In my mind, every extra excursion was a gift. I was surprised how much land-time there actually was. On the downtime, we swapped stories shared hammocks strung across the lower deck and read to each other from our favorite books.
The Trip: Unreal. There was more than enough moments to get in all the swimming, deck diving, snorkeling and hiking we could desire. Every day we stopped at least once for an active excursion. Some days up to 3 times. The day we snorkeled with Manta Rays, the waters were so clear it felt like we were truly blessed to be witnessing such spectacular pristine nature. Aside from just Mantas, the sea life and coral was gorgeous. Some friends even saw sharks and turtles. One morning we got up early to hike to a secret waterfall. Our captain led us on a 30-minute trek through the jungle to a limestone waterfall with no one else around. He sat back and smiled as we splashed and climbed and I meditated on the rocks. On another day, we hiked to the top of a ridge that displayed for us a 360-degree view of scenery and water I could only describe as Jurassic and unlike anything I’d ever imagined. The village of Komodo was quaint and the number of friendly filthy kids who wanted to impress us with their tricks and flips was surpassed only by the number of goats walking around. Everyone greeted us warmly. Then of course there were the Komodo Dragons. We saw Komodo Dragons… in the wild(ish).
All in all, the Wanua Adventures boat from Lombok to Flores felt like the adventure of a lifetime. Intrepid, exciting, relaxing, far out from anything else Bali and Lombok have to offer. If you’re craving adventure, something out of the ordinary, if you can leave your comfort zone and creature comforts behind, do it. This trip is not for the high maintenance, those who do not like spending time with new people, or picky eaters.
If you’re craving a real expedition look no further. Grab the boat from Lombok to Flores and get on the adventure of your life!