Perama cruise Flores - Komodo NP - Lombok
13th April, 2006
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The Lombok-Flores trip is one I've wanted to do for several years - as it turned out, time constraints meant I did the reverse 2 day/2night trip instead of the 3 or 4 day west-east cruises offered by a number of operators.
Overall, I thought Perama's operation was exceptionally good, my one qualification is that it was a little bit expensive by Indonesian standards (but still very good value in western terms) at approx $US125 deck class all meals, snorkelling gear and NP entry included in May 09.
First night onboard at Labuanbajo harbour saw a farewell party for departing west-east passengers and a welcome to new east-west people like myself. Dinner was provided, drinks could be purchased, some music and dancing for the keen.
It's a long way from West Flores to Lombok, so guests sleep on board after the party to allow a 5am start to the 3 hour cruise to Rinca Island for our Komodo spotting trek.
Rinca and its neighbour Komodo are the two biggest islands in Komodo National Park. I was lucky the reverse trip visited Rinca - the dragons are more concentrated. Outward leg people saw only 2 dragons on Komodo - we saw 9 on Rinca - plus a poor old water buffalo which had been attacked.
From Rinca we motored north-west for a few hours to our next stop at small Laba Island for some snorkelling and beach time. The coral was less than whelming here - but maybe I had been spoiled by some of the best Asian coral I've seen at Kanawa Island close off Labuanbajo the previous day.
After Laba we set off on the long long cruise to Moyo Island off central northern Sumbawa. This takes until about 8am next morning. Late afternoon was spent sunning, socialising and relaxing, and sometime after dinner everone hit the sack. Deck class sleep on seat-cushion matresses covered by sunbathing mats on the upper sunbathing deck if they want to check the stars and passing moonlit island peaks, or the in the converted dining saloon if they want a roof, or it decides to rain (which can happen even in dry season).
Note that it tends to be balmy when you turn in mid/late evening, but cools progressively so that the hour or so before dawn can make for suprisingly cool conditions when the wind-chill factor from forward motion is taken into account. Shorts and a T will not cut it here. Perama provide sleeping bags for around one US dollar per night and it is a good idea to have one on hand for when things cool.
Dry season sees the route via the north of Sumbawa in the lee of the prevailing south east trade winds so that seas usually tend to be slight, but rougher seas are not unknown. Our passage was very smooth except for the last few hours between Sumbawa and Lombok where the gap exposed us to a moderate swell and some wind-blown surface chop. Nobody got motion-sickness.
Cabin class get a fairly compact box with a double bed and an overslung single bunk, plus a fan.
There was no surcharge for cabin-singles on this trip, although that might be different if the boats are heavily booked.
The boat had two fairly spacious and clean bathrooms with western toilets and nice showers. The water pipes must go past the engines because the water was always warmish. We weren't urged to have quick showers so the water tanks must be reasonably large.
Highlight of Moyo Island was a 45 minute walk thru shaded farm area lanes and nice rainforest tracks to a 4m waterall, rope swing and nice pool with deliciously cool water.
Mid afternoon saw us reach Perama Island, a small coral cay off the north-west corner of Sumbawa. This has quite good coral, mainly of the stag-horn type in many different varieties. On the far side of the island Perama is replanting coral - on the outward trip guests stop for a meal in the small daytrip area and get to plant their own coral. Our stop here was for about 90 minutes, allowing for some beach time. I walked around the island in less than 15 minutes.
The last leg was into to Labuan Lombok port on that island's west coast - actually the last BOAT leg, because Perama then loads you into one of their small buses for a 2 hour trip east to capital Mattaram or touristy Senggigi near the Gili Islands. These are reached around 1930 and 2200 resp.
LUGGAGE is kept in an easily accessible room on the lower deck. Most people kept a daypack with cameras, toiletries bag, ipods etc with them.
CRITICISMS? Well I've already indicated that the trip price seems a tad high by Indo standards. Perama claim you pay for quality. I also reckon they could take a tip off similar trips I've done and make free tea, coffee and bikkies available anytime. Not to mention a supply of milk for those needing it in their beverages.
A caveat is that our boat was running at two thirds capacity - I'm wondering if comfort etc are quite so good when there is a full complement of passengers.
But apart from these factors, I'm a fan. So much that next Indo trip I'm making a point of doing the 3 day west-east Lombok to Flores leg.
I have a bunch of pix, more info and a sublink to Perama's website on the link below.
#1 Posted: 18/6/2009 - 15:47
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