Friday, 18 July 2008

9 July 2008 – Journey to Komodo (Part 1)

We began our Hunting Komodo by Camera tour run by the Perama company. Perama is one of the biggest home grown tourist operations in Indonesia, run by the grey haired Mr Perama who now lives in Kuta, Bali. Within 30 minutes we began to see why Mr Perama was so successful. First, the stop in Mataram for our free T-shirts (bright orange with Perama written all over the back). Next, the journey to Perama Docking on the east side of Lombok. Perama Docking, a scaled down version of the Clyde Shipyards in Glasgow, has so far produced 13 wooden boats for Mr Perama. As we drove to the harbour, the road was lined with Perama bollards.

We embarked on Perama 114, the smaller of the two vessels that set sail simultaneously for Komodo. It was reassuring to know that if the seas got rough, the other boat – Perama 212 – was not far away. Our boat, 114, had two levels of cabins, a diesel belching engine room below and a dining/sleeping area forward of the lower cabins. Above the sleeping area, the roof made a comfortable sunning platform.

Our first stop, Perama Island, was a low lying, sand and palm tree paradise. Highlights of our first stop included coral replanting, where we took the coral survivors of recent dynamite fishing and transplanted them onto the shore of Perama Island. (Wouldn't it be better for the coral if dynamite wasn't sold in the first place?) We also listened to the Perama staff singing the Perama song – he might be good at business but he is no songwriter – and watching in bewilderment as the staff did their 10 minute dance. We were wondering what we had let ourselves in for.

At 9.00pm we set sail for the Flores sea, skirting the north of Sumbawa. The sea was rough. Lying on the sleeping deck, the boat rose and fell through the swell, the stars moving wildly through the windows. Andy gave a thumbs up to the boy sleeping next to him. In reply, the boy covered his mouth with his hand and a hurried outside. No one slept much that night.

Continue to part 2.


Anonymous said...

Sounds as rough as the Ullapool to Stornaway ferry last month - more picturesque though!

Dad & Mum