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.
AVOID TRAVELLING WITH PERAMA if you do not want to sleep WITH RATS
We booked the tour "Hunting Komodo Dragons by Camera" from Labuan Bajo to Lombok (2N / 2D) with Perama in order to see the Komodo dragons. We were pretty excited with that cruise and actually we booked it more than one month and a half in advance. We chose to sleep at the deck, as it was cheaper and some friends of mine told me it was fine!
However, there are two different decks and, even if you pay the same price and Perama told you that the conditions are the same, THEY ARE TOTALLY DIFFERENT. Lower deck actually it is not a deck but the dining room floor. Therefore, you must sleep at the same place where the kitchen is; with all the smells and noisesfrom there (the crew works in the kitchen from 5AM to midnight, so there arealways people around). Moreover, you can not rest there if you want to go to sleep earlier than other guests, as that space is common and they organize parties there. You must wait till the party is over.
In theory, you raccommodation in lower or upper deck depends on the booking date, or at least, that was what the boat responsible told us. However, that is a LIE, as they put us in the lower deck even if it was people sleeping in the upper deck that had booked after us. That was not a problem for us, and to give the places randomly is also a criteria, but please, do not lie. Once we discovered that they were not following their own rules, we asked them if it was possible to do a kind of turns. Since we had to sleep on the boat for 2 nights, the fairest option was to change places every night. That was easy, as nobody has a bed nor sheets or blankets, so you just need to put your sleeping bag in one or other place.
But the boat responsible was really rude and he shouted to us saying that it was not possible to change places because that was not our private tour. We already know that!! We only asked to change places in order to have the same rights as other guest, as we all have paid the same. It was the fairest option, but he did not want to understand us (not even to listen to us). Actually, he also shouted to us that he was not our slave, using the racism thing against us and being dogmatic, even if we were asking kindly. He was the only one there whowas unkindly, rude and arrogant.
Nonetheless,the worst problem was not this! We went to sleep quite late because the crew and some guest were partying in our sleepingÂ place till late. We put our mattress in the dirty floor (you can imagine how dirty a dance floor is) and wewere almost asleep when suddenly we start to hear some noises... RATS!!! Therewere RATS in our place, next to our heads!! We asked the crew to do something, but they just came there with a light, confirm that the noises were rats and went back to sleep, not caring at all about that and not giving us any solutionor any alternative.
We can sleep at the floor and also in a dirty floor and also in the kitchen dirty floor (as it was that case), but sleeping with RATS in the same level is really DISGUSTING and even DANGEROUS. We took our mattresses, we went upstairs and we putthem on the corridor's floor. We had not anything to protect us from the wind asthe crew did not give us anything. They did not allow us to take more mattresses and use them as wind stoppers, but they gave that same mattress to other guests who were just drinking beers seated near us even if they already had their own in their deck. See how helpful the crew was with us!!
Furthermore, on the second night, the boat responsible told us that it was not possible to sleep in the corridors because that was not allowed and that we must stay in the lower deck. Excuse me?? And to sleep with rats is allowed?? Fortunately, the other guests found some place in the upper deck for some of us. The others, once the boat responsible was already asleep, slept again in the corridor, suffering again from the cold as, obviously, nobody gave us anything to protect us from it.
The whole situation was pathetic and deplorable and the boat responsible was rude, unkindly and arrogant. Finally, we sent an email to the main office to complain about the situation and how the crew treated us, but the only answer from themwas a two line mail with this sentence "sorry for the inconveniences"Â with not even a sentence saying that they will try to improve their services or that they will to send our review to their superiors.
A really bad service for what you pay. Just one tip: AVOID THEM.
#2 esantacana has been a member since 17/8/2013. Posts: 4
Finally, we went to the main office in Kuta to complain about the rat things and we met a really nice and kind girl who help us. They gave us some of our money back and they promised to fix the problem for next ocasions. This time they were really concerned about the incident.
They have also good workers!!!
#3 esantacana has been a member since 17/8/2013. Posts: 4