A Travellerspoint blog

The story of turtles and tourists

sunny 32 °C
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.

After being advised by our hostel owner this morning that we should insist on being let onto the tour for Turtle Island today, we headed off to the docks (and Crystal Quest offices) early. The woman at the office was unimpressed when she saw us again and told us, once more, that the trip was fully booked. On trying to weasel information out of her, we decided that there was something dodgy going on, as she seemed quite evasive and kept telling us to go to see the tour operators. We politely declined and told her that, if she didn't mind, we would just wait on the docks until the trip departed to see if any last minute spots opened up.... low and behold, within fifteen minutes of people beginning to arrive for the trip, two spots magically became available! How strange!! WIN!!!


So off we sped towards a set of islands shared between Malaysia and the Phillipines that act as a turtle reserve, with protected beaches for laying, and hatcheries to help protect the young when they make their way to the sea! Very exciting! On arrival, we grabbed our room key and made off for the offices where we could hire snorkel gear and then on to our room to get changed for an hour of sunbathing before lunch (can you tell we're Brits?!).


After lunch (where we discovered that there were less than 30 tourists on the island, which can hold a total of 50 - and Crystal Quest thought the trip was fully booked?!) we wandered around the island - it didn't take long - and then headed back to the beach for some snorkelling. Seeing as this was a reserve, we expected the snorkelling to be good, but unfortunately it wasn't. We saw a few cool things, but it was no Gili Meno! Back on the beach, Tam worked on topping up her tan, while I entertained myself by doing a photo shoot with Patch (see blog below).

By 6.30pm we were back at the visitors centre to read all the information boards in the exhibition hall. They were not as well done as in Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, but we learned a little bit. The infomative video that followed was much better! And then we ran for the buffet dinner..... this was a cunning plan of ours as (I apologise now if this sounds a little racist, it is, in fact, just a fact!) the group of people on the island with us were mainly made up of a Chinese tour group and when it comes to food they are gannets! We made it near enough to the front of the queue and took as much as we could fit on our plates, as there would be no chance of going back for seconds! Second win of the day! :-) Dinner was delicious - there were potatoes!


After dinner, we waited to be able to see a female come up to the beach to lay her eggs. We waited a long time. But as we've been told many a time whilst away - wildlife is wild and therefore unpredictable. But by 10.30pm the rangers were getting anxious to release the hatched young green turtles, so we headed down to the beach to watch the release. Cue hundreds of cameras and a general lack of respect for these poor young creatures. Tam, me and the other two Brits on the tour were a little horrified by the behaviour of the other tourists.... the poor little turtles were being manhandled left, right and centre! All the same, it was amazing to see such tiny little things making their way into the sea for the first time!


After this, we overheard that a female was on the beach laying, so we headed over to take a look. Unfortuantely, the tour group got there first with torches and cameras and noise, and by the time we arrived a few minutes later, the rangers were looking as harrassed as the huge green turtle female, who had stopped laying because of all the disturbance. We watched the rangers taking measurements and then respectfully left to the egg transplantation at the hatchery. The rangers dug a deep hole, placed in the newly laid eggs and then loosely covered it with sand and marked it. The new young will hatch in 3 months time and be escorted to the release site to ensure their safety.

It was an amazing thing to see, but really made us understand the pros and cons of mixing ecotourism with conservation. But in the end, Tam and I had to resign ourselves to the fact that the disturbance of one turtle a night was not enough to justify the loss of such a large source of conservation funding. Still a great project and worth the visit.

Jo xxx

Posted by Tam-Jo 06:05 Archived in Malaysia Tagged borneo Comments (1)

Back to civilisation

sunny 30 °C
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.


It was another early start for us today though as there was space on the morning safari for us to go again...we couldn't say no! And thank goodness we didn't because we saw wild orangutans! There were a few but most scarpered pretty quick on hearing the boat noise. One large male stuck around though and we watched him for a long while whilst he enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of fruit high up in the trees. Incredible! We also saw and heard a lot of gibbons...the sounds they make are pretty distinctive! On this boat ride we also saw eagles, macaques and hornbills.

After breakfast back at camp we started the long journey back to Sandakan; an hour long boat ride followed by a two hour minibus ride. A quick lunch at Uncle Tan's B&B then we were off to our hostel.

On arriving at the hostel, we were met by the friendliest hostel staff we've come across yet. The owner kept feeding us! She served us tea anad banana fritters when we checked in then proceeded to offer us pancakes and bits of sticky sweet coconutty rice patty or the next half an hour while she chatted to us about our plans in Sandakan.

We explained that we would like to go on an overnight trip to Turtle Island, a place we are both desperate to visit. On her advice we walked to the Crystal Quest port down the road who are the operators of Turtle Island. I had emailed them several times over the last few weeks but had gotten nowhere. So off to the office we went! Our luck was not in...the tour for the day after was full! The lady advised us to go to some of the tour operators in town as tickets are sold to them to sell onto the public. Unfortunately, the prices were up to three times higher booking through a tour operator instead of directly with Crystal Quest. And we could not afford the prices they were quoting. :-(

The rest of our evening was spent blogging (during which I think I managed to crash the website from trying to upload too many photos at once...it was down for about an hour...oops!!) and sneaking out for a McDonalds!

We've also decided that we'll chance our luck tomorrow morning and show up at the Crystal Quest port early in case there are any cancellations for the Turtle Island trip...wish us luck!!

Tam xx

Posted by Tam-Jo 17:14 Archived in Malaysia Tagged borneo Comments (0)

My, my, what a big.... nose you have, sir!

sunny 32 °C
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.


Despite the "luxury" of our basic camp, Tam and I did not have a great night's sleep last night! Hence, we were already awake when the 6am alarm call came round for our early morning boat ride! On with clothes, mozzie spray and life jackets and away we went! What did we see? A beautiful, quiet morning on the river, along with some long-tailed macaques, two species of eagle, two species of hornbill and a quick glimpse of a gibbon swinging through the trees of the jungle. All in all, very peaceful! Back to camp for breakfast - pancakes! Yum!


After a very rapid snooze, we headed out for a morning trek in the jungle. I get the feeling that most of our group were disappointed by our wander through the woods, and even the guide kept reiterating in an apologetic tone that we were unlikely to see any mammals or birds mid-morning. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed myself! We slipped and slided our way up and down the forest, spotting cool plants, insects and reptiles, including the pill millipede and a chameleon. Poor Tam gotten eaten alive by mozzies though and we were both glad of the wellies we hired from the camp staff, as the trail was muddy to say the least!

Post walk, we had another delicious lunch where I reverted to a child and shunned all the vegetables in favour of rice and tomato sauce (a favourite of my younger sisters when we were growing up - Sarah, I now understand why!) and cut up frankfurters! After this Tam and I took a jungle shower - standing in the jungle in bikinis and chucking buckets of muddy river water over ourselves - clearly our standards of hygiene have dropped as we actually felt clean after this! Then several hours of chilling out at camp, which nearly drove Tam mad from boredom!


During our afternoon boat ride we headed down one of the tributaries of the Kinabatangan river in search of proboscis monkeys (monkeys with very big noses - not the most attractive animals in the jungle, but awesome all the same!). We were successful, even finding a very proud male who was happily showing us all there was to see of himself (see attached picture above, if you dare!).


Back to camp for another hour of reading/relaxing before dinner. And then out into the wilderness for our night jungle trek! Amazing, despite being caught in a Malaysian rain shower and hence being almost immediately soaked to the skin through waterproof jackets! We saw several species of birds asleep on branches, which was strange. And a tree frog! Also some spiders - that did not impress Tammy who hates spiders!

All in all, an awesome day for such wildlife geeks as us!

Jo xxx

Posted by Tam-Jo 05:16 Archived in Malaysia Tagged borneo Comments (1)

Into the jungle we go...

sunny 32 °C
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.


After eating a nice breakfast (with no vanilla butter in sight) we visited the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. It is here that Orangutans are rehabilitated after either becoming orphaned as infants or after being rescued from being kept as pets (which is illegal). This rehabilitation process can take up to ten years and some orangutans never fully gain independence from the centre, continuing to visit feeding platforms on the edge of the centre for the rest of their lives.


First stop...an educational film about the centre and orangutans. Jo and I love a wildlife documentary so this was thoroughly enjoyable for both of us :-) Then onto the boardwalk to the first feeding platform in the centre which is the only one that tourists are allowed to observe. We were there for the 10:30am feeding. As soon as the staff from the centre had hauled the bananas and milk onto the platform, the orangutans were on their way, swinging on the ropes towards their mid morning snack! They were fascinating to watch...so human in so many ways which isn't all that surprising as they share 96.4% of our DNA!! Lastly, a visit to the information centre in which Jo somehow managed to get herself locked in for five minutes! Then back to Uncle Tan's B&B for some lunch!


Once we'd fed ourselves on the tasty buffet we packed our overnight bags in preparation for two nights in the jungle! We had a two hour drive to the port followed by an hour long boat ride to get to the camp. On this boat journey we saw rhinocerous hornbills, asian-black hornbills, pig-tailed macaques and long-tailed macaques!


On arriving at camp we were both pleasantly surprised to find that it is not quite so basic as we expected. Ok, so there's no running water and only a couple of hours of electric at night courtesty of a generator. But there are wooden walkways, huts on stilts, mattresses for us to sleep on, mosquito nets and milo!! What more could we need?!


After dinner this evening we went on a night boat safari! It was pitch black and the sky was incredible...the number of stars we could see was breathtaking!! I spent a fair amount of time just looking up at the sky while our boat travelled up-river! On this night safari we saw a blue-eared kingfisher, a night heron, long tailed macaques, proboscis monkeys and an owl!

Very much looking forward to two boat trips and two hikes tomorrow!!

Tam xx

Posted by Tam-Jo 01:44 Archived in Malaysia Tagged borneo Comments (1)

What do you mean they're meant to be cold?!

sunny 32 °C
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.


You'll all be relieved (I hope!) to know that we are now back to daily blogs as our travels pick up the pace again. Having said that, there is not too much to report from today as we travelled from our airport hotel in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, down to Uncle Tan's B&B near Sandakan in preparation for our trip into the jungle tomorrow. The most notable things that happened today:

Tam had several arguments with hotel staff - very amusing! Possibly the best of these was had over the state of the breakfast - noodles and curry (way too early in the morning for this!), toast, jam, vanilla flavoured butter (why would you do that to butter?!), some strange cut up meat and baked beans. We decided on having beans on toast. Then the following conversation was had between Tam and the breakfast lady.

Tam: Excuse me, the baked beans are cold.
Breakfast Lady: Yes.
Tam: Yes?
Breakfast Lady: They're meant to be cold.
Tam (incredulous): They're meant to be cold?
Breakfast Lady (looking at us like we're stupid): Yes.
Tam: Well I would like them hot please.
Breakfast Lady (looking confused): Hot?
Tam: Yes, hot. Can you heat them up please?

I think this was too much for her, but she did dutifully scamper off and heat up our plates of beans to something just shy of tepid! Needless to say, the breakfast was thoroughly disappointing.

And clearly the lack of a good meal pre-flight muddled with our brains as we wandered off through security for international flights, when we should have headed for domestic. Don't be fooled into thinking that we're two smart young women and so there couldn't have been any clear signs to tell us we were wrong - we saw the signs, discussed them and carried on anyway! We were eventually turned back around by an angry airport woman and directed to the correct place! But there we found a Dunkin' Donuts and all was right with the world again post tea and donuts!!!

Now we are at our B&B on the outskirts of the jungle and, having done a lot of boring life admin, are gagging for a beer. But there is no one around to sell us any, so we think we might just retire to bed with a hot cup of milo, a dairy milk bar each (thanks Mum!!!) and another installment of the twilight saga - rock 'n' roll!!!

Jo xxx

Posted by Tam-Jo 23:34 Archived in Malaysia Tagged borneo Comments (0)

Kuala Lumpur!

all seasons in one day 30 °C
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.


Once we had loaded up on toast at the hostel (this was free so we took full advantage) we got ourselves onto the hop on hop off bus tour of the city. First stop...the Lake Gardens! We didn't actually manage to find the Lake Gardens themselves but we did stumble across the Hibiscis Garden which was cute!


Then onto the Bird Park which is the world's largest outdoor aviary! We had a leisurely lunch at the Hornbill Cafe whilst being watched by several Cattle Egrets....they were after our club sandwiches I'm sure! Whilst in the park we watched the eagle feeding, saw some chicken eggs hatch, enjoyed a bird show (which Jo and Adam forced me to go up on stage to participate in!), played in the children's play park (I know, we really need to grow up) and fed the parakeets!


The parakeets showed a particular fondness for Jo...at one point I think she had about fifteen birds flying at her / sitting on her head / hanging off her arms! Very funny!


Back on the bus to our next port of call; the Kuala Lumpur Tower! What we hadn't bargained on was a huge storm and insane traffic jams. After sitting on the freezing cold bus for two hours in the pouring rain, we made the call to postpone our trip up the tower until the day after. I don't think we would have seen a thing from the top owing to the pouring rain and the black clouds. So instead we got a taxi to Chinatown and stuffed our faces in a cafe before looking round the market in search of cheap tat to adorn Adam's desk with when he gets home. We were of course successful in this; Adam now has a "beautiful" snow globe of Kuala Lumpur that lights up in different colours and a "tasteful" bell that he can ring when he needs a cup of tea at his desk! Lovely!




The weather this morning was amazing so we got ourselves up the Kuala Lumpur Tower. The views of the city were incredible...we could see for miles! Whilst in the tower we bumped into Noémie and Chloé who were on our tour in India! It's a small world!!


The rest of my day was spent in the Lot 10 and Pavillion shopping malls. Some of my clothes are a little worse for wear after wearing the same things over and over again for over two months so I decided a little shopping trip was in order (and there is an H&M here which I was very happy to see)! I think I got a bit carried away and am a little concerned about packing tomorrow...fingers crossed! The Pavillion shopping centre was incredible. And it had the most amazing Winter Wonderland scene in the middle of it...beautiful giant Christmas trees! I happily spent half an hour in Dome cafe drinking an iced coffee whilst listening to Christmas tunes! My evening was spent planning out our next week and a half in Borneo whilst eating cheap noodles from the 7/11 down the road!


Jo and Adam spent the rest of their day after the Kuala Lumpur Tower in the Aquarium and at the Lake Gardens. It was in the aquarium that Jo discovered that sharks dwell in the river we will be staying next to during our wildlife tour in Borneo. Eek!!



Sadly, Adam had to leave this morning to fly home. We don't envy you having to go back to reality Adam although we are slightly jealous that you will be home for Christmas! Have a good journey back :-)

Jo and I spent a couple of hours in the shopping malls this morning as Jo also needed a little wardrobe refresh due to things falling apart! We then passed a 'thrilling' two and a half hours in the laundrette down the road from the hostel. We would have only been there an hour had an almighty storm not started! We waited it out as long as possible to try and avoid drenching our just washed and dried clothes. But it got to the point that we had to make a dash for it otherwise we risked missing our flight. Somehow our laundry stayed dry...we did not!!! Back at the hostel we had all of ten minutes to pack our bags before hopping in a taxi to the airport. How we managed to fit in all our stuff in that short amount of time is beyond me! Miracle! And we made it to the airport in time to have a quick 'Marry Browns' chicken burger (it was awesome and cost less than 80p!) before catching our flight! Phew!!

We're staying in an aiport hotel tonight as we're catching a flight down to Sandakan tomorrow morning. I think we're going to sleep well!!

Tam xx

Posted by Tam-Jo 18:09 Archived in Malaysia Tagged kualalumpur Comments (0)

Goodbye Indonesia

The top ten things we've learnt whilst in Indonesia:

1. Boardshorts will not protect you from jellyfish stings in sensitive areas!

2. A stick is all you need to protect yourself from a Komodo Dragon attack (as if, park rangers!)!

3. Rats on boats like oreo goodies and will chew through anything to get them!

4. Don't forget the tax on leaving the country!

5. If you want to boil alive, book a cabin!

6. Cats are persistent when there is seafood on your plate (aka Bat Cat!).

7. Don't forget to plan your transfer to remote islands before you arrive into Bali - whoops!

8. We are millionaires in Indonesia!

9. Ear candling feels good, despite the obvious dangers!

10. Silence is bliss!

Posted by Tam-Jo 17:50 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Gone fishing.....

Or to the spa!

sunny 30 °C
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.

014_Sengig..tch_fishing.jpg 017_Sengig..at_I_caught.jpg

The whole idea behind spending a few days at the beach in Sengigi, Lombok, was that it looked to be a reasonably big town, perhaps with some kind of nightlife....... we were clearly hoping for too much! But as it turns out, this wasn't such a bad thing as we were all feeling pretty tired after our boat trip. So Day 1....... we discovered just how small and empty Sengigi was. The day was rescued by the local spa, whose 20% off offer enticed us in! Tam and I finally had the dirt from India scrubbed rather rigorously off our faces (needless to say, we were a little concerned about our tans also being scrubbed off!) and Adam tried out the ear candling - a bit of rolled up paper dipped in wax and shoved unceremoniously into your ear and then lit! We reconvened after this at a local bar where we stumbled across some of our fellow tour boat members. After a drink with them we decided that the lack of anything else to do in Sengigi meant that we should revisit the spa for more pampering! The rest of the evening was spent having a few more drinks with our boat friends and then a meal at a local pizzeria where I got bitten alive, but thought it a fair price to pay to be able to watch some rugby on the restaurants TV!!

For the following two days Tam had a well derserved rest with Mr Turtle at our very plush hotel (don't panic people, we haven't suddenly got rich - we're staying in the attached "hostel".... two cheap rooms with a living room and DVD player - SCORE!!). As I'm sure you've all noticed, she was very productive during this time and uploaded a lot of blogs (sorry that we're lagging on the uploads by the way!) and LOADS of photos to facebook. Good work Tam!

I was less productive...... The second day in Sengigi Adam and I went out on a fishing trip. I'm not sure about Adam, but I was expecting to catch a lot of very pretty and colourful fish (which I was rather hoping I would sneakily be able to throw back into the sea before our captain saw!!). Alas it was not meant to be. Our captain caught half a bucket full of fish, including two large ones which we merrily eat for lunch on Gili Air pre-snorkelling (which was disappointing - oh how I miss Gili Meno!). Between me and Adam one fish was caught - a red snapper. Who actually caught this fish is currently in dispute though. How can catching a fish be in dispute? Well, it was my rod and I reeled it in, but for the five seconds that Adam was holding my rod whilst I faffed about with clothing, he swears he hooked the fish..... hhhmmmmmmm..... I think he was just bitter about being the only person in the boat who hadn't caught anything.... :-)

The following day, the three of us spent the morning by the pool, and then Adam and I returned to the spa for some more, very painful, pampering. Adam has some awesome bruises on his legs currently!!! After dinner at the hotel restaurant we all watched a film and then headed to bed.

Today we have travelled to Kuala Lumpur. Not too eventful a journey. Whilst trying to organise the transfer to the airport in Bali, which involved a car, a boat and then another car, Adam and I discovered that I am not good at letting other people haggle for me! But a cheap transfer later we were at the airport in Bali. Although starving hungry, we were cutting it fine for check in so we decided to prioritise that. But after check in we were informed that we were no longer allowed to leave the airport! Lame! For once, thank God for airport taxes and our lack of organisation! We had no money left so they had to let us out to get cash for the exit charge (yes, you have to pay to leave the country!). But the moment we were through the security doors and back out into the humidity we ran for the nearest McDonalds! I love it when we beat the system ;-) Then back in, through security again, and onto the plane. Several hours later, we arrived in KL and our ride to our very, very central hostel meant a beautiful drive through the glittering lights of the city. We like it here already!

Jo xxx

Posted by Tam-Jo 15:34 Archived in Indonesia Tagged and kuala lombok lumpur Comments (1)

Hunting Komodo by Camera

Our epic 5 day voyage at sea

sunny 31 °C
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.

We have spent the most amazing five days living on a boat, sailing from Lombok to Flores, stopping off at places along the way to snorkle, hike and of course, try to spot the famous Komodo Dragon!

This is the link to the tour we did in case in anyone fancies following in our footsteps: http://www.peramatour.com/48-Sea%20Adventure-Hunting-Komodo-by-Camera-0102-4N-5D.html



All aboard the minibus in Lombok to drive to the port where we'll board our home for the next five days. First stop...a shopping mall in Mataram. Jo and I were super excited to find that there was a SUPERMARKET in this mall!! We have not seen one of these in a while and needless to say, we stocked up on essentials while we had the chance. Toiletry overload!! There was even time for a quick iced Milo (delicious by the way!) at McDonalds before getting back on the minibus to head to our next stop of Mas Bagik. In this small village we saw a pottery demonstration and also had to dodge a seriously deranged turkey that was on the loose!! It was also in this village that the rain started. Not just rain...heavy chunky rain!! And it continued all the way to our next port of call, the Perama Docking port, where thankfully it stopped! We learnt a bit about how the boats for the Perama tour company are built, enjoyed a cup of tea and a banana fritter and then boarded our home for the next five days...boat 117! Whilst enjoying a tasty buffet lunch on board, we sail to Perama Resort; a small island where we snorkeled and sunbathed. There was also a chance to help with some coral replanation but the three of us were so engrossed by the snorkeling that we missed it. Oops!! The evening was spent enjoying a delicious fish barbeque (the tuna was particularly good), a few beers and a dance lesson by our crew. The steps were hard to follow but we all mastered the "shake your ass" move no problem! Great fun! Our first night on board was a bad night's sleep for the three of us...one little cabin with one little fan with three people was like a sauna. So, we decided to sleep on deck for the rest of our tour!



Early breakfast (as we will come to learn 6:30am is breakfast time every day) followed by a hike up a pretty steep hill on the island of Satonda. Despite being very early in the morning, it was hot! So the walk up the steep hill was a little challenging but completely worth it. The views were beautiful. On the right, the sea and other islands in the distance, on the left, the saltwater lake in the middle of Satonda. Of course we were straight into the lake after the hike to cool down. And apart from the presence of some slimy green stuff where we got in, it was most pleasant! Jo and Adam headed into the sea for a snorkle after this. I happily sat in a cabana on the beach chatting to some fellow tour members...there were a load of nasty looking stones to walk over to get into the sea so I gave it a miss...my feet are still ruined from the rocks on Meno! Most of the rest of the day was spent sailing east so we sunned ourselves on the boat whilst enjoying a few Bintangs!


We had one more stop that day...a little rocky beach. It was here that Patch practiced his dance moves from last night (video coming soon)! He sure has got some moves!! A chilled out evening on board the boat followed where a few of us learnt a new drinking game "Scottle of Botch" (get it?) from fellow tour member Stephen. And so we spent our first night sleeping on deck. It was so much better than the cabin...breezy, spacious and we could watch the sunrise in the morning (albeit half asleep)!



Komodo Island day! After a briefing from our chief guide Gerry, we were all very nervous about our expedition on Komodo Island. These reptiles can weigh over 90kg and run at 20km/hour. And all we have to protect us on our hike through their territory are a few rangers with sticks. Not rifles or even knives...sticks! We were in hope that the komodos would still be sleepy at that time in the morning and that they had eaten well last night! The hike lasted about an hour and a half. Within the first twenty minutes we saw two komodo dragons. They were massive! I think we were all quite shocked at how close we got to them (see the pictures above). Incredible! We saw a load more komodo dragons at the end of our hike near the rangers' huts and the canteen where we stopped for a cold drink. Also on our walk we saw nests of the Komodo Dragon, deer, some pretty birds and a unicorn (in reality just a deer with just one horn but we think it was lucky to see nonetheless)!


Next stop for the day was Pink Beach which was so so beautiful. The sand was so white and so soft. And the snorkeling was amazing! Bright coral, loads of fish and someone even saw a turtle (not us unfortunately)! After a bit of jumping off the boat into the sea (Adam was extra brave and went from a pretty high up platform) we had another tasty lunch and then set sail to the port town of Labuan Bajo.


After walking the length of Labuan Bajo (which did not take long as it's very small) we ascertained that there wasn't all that much to do there. So we went to an Italian restaurant and enjoyed some pizza before going back to the boat to relax before the party onboard the boat in the evening. It was a farewell party for those leaving the tour in Labuan Bajo and a welcome party for those joining from Labuan Bajo. Patch had an early night this particular evening so unfortunately we cannot blame him for our antics! We played some "Scottle of Botch", watched the crew perform a frankly amazing dance routine, consumed some locally brewed spirit (still not sure what this was) and danced a lot!!



More komodos! Our early morning hike on day four of our tour was on Rinca Island. Rinca Island itself is just stunning. It looks like it could be the setting of some Jurassic Park type film! We saw a lot more wildlife today than on Komodo Island; a water buffalo, deer, wild pigs, monkeys and more komodos!


It was soooo unbelievably hot though...we were all grateful that the snorkeling spot from Rinca Island was only a fifteen minute boat trip! Unfortunately, the sea there was riddled with jellyfish so most of us just sat in the water long enough to cool down before making a getaway! Adam tried to brave it and ended up being stung in the most sensitive of areas; face and groin! Ouch!

The rest of the day was spent on the boat sailing west. That evening on board we witnessed some amazing lightening storms in the distance whilst enjoying some Aspalls cider which Adam had very kindly bought over from the UK for us! I haven't drunk cider in years but this was super tasty and I'll certainly be trying it again when I get back home in 2013! Thanks Adam :-)



We awoke this morning moored up near Moyo Island. After breakfast we hiked half an hour inland to a waterfall. It was so pretty! Adam was the super brave one and swung out on the rope swing into the lagoon below...I merely jumped off the edge...Jo couldn't quite be persuaded to do either! Sitting in the lagoon was very refreshing and we even managed to swim under the waterfall into the little cavern underneath. A lovely morning!! The last stop on our tour was Keramat Island; a teeny tiny island with just one house on it. Apparently the couple there had been living in this secluded paradise for over 30 years! We spent some time snorkeling here and making friends with the local cat before heading back to our boat.

Then the long sail back to Lombok. We managed to keep ourselves entertained by reading, dozing and playing cards. We'd all had so much sun exposure by then that no-one really fancied sitting on deck sunbathing!


On arriving at our port in Lombok we had a three hour minibus ride back to Senggigi. On the way we saw some awesome lorries...pimped out with a ridiculous number of neon lights! During this journey we also had to work out which hotel we'd booked to stay in in Senggigi! Luckily Adam managed to get some internet on his phone for this. We are definitely getting less and less organised as time goes on...we like to think this is us becoming more laid back as a result of our travels!

When we got to our hotel we were greeted by friendly staff and a turtle in the pond who continually tried to make his escape whilst we had a couple of drinks and some potato wedges! Despite his efforts, Mr. Turtle did not make it out of the pond...perhaps Patch will give him a helping hand tomorrow ;-)

Tam xx

Posted by Tam-Jo 06:14 Archived in Indonesia Tagged perama Comments (1)

A small slice of paradise!

sunny 32 °C
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.


So after our epic day or so's travelling we all made it to Gili Meno safe and sound, if a bit knackered. Waking up this morning was quite the experience, seeing as we arrived in total darkness last night... we truly are in paradise, or if not pretty damn close - white coral beaches, palm trees and did I mention its abolutely boiling, you get the idea. Last night was spent in a small bamboo A frame and soon after breakfast (a mixed bag of tropical fruit platters and bannana and choclote pancakes) we were shown the bamboo house we will be spending the next few days in. AMAZING! A two storey bamboo house fully equipped with balcony and hammock. You can see and hear the sea from all the rooms and most importantly from the hammock/balcony.

After a swift moving of bags to the new pad we all quickly ventured down to the beach and in to one of the very nice Kabannas, as Jo calls them, (a bamboo beach gazebo type thing). After about thirty minutes we all decided it was toooo hot (this was going to become a common theme, nothing to worry about as far as I am concerned, minus a 'bit' of sunburn) so ventured in for a swim.... seriously I've had colder baths (those of you that know me will know that I occasionally have a tendency to exaggerate, I can assure you that this is not the case here). After some lunch of fried squid and salad, which Jo and Tam seemed very pleased about after so much curry in India, we had a walk around the island; about an hour walk.... we are pretty much the only people here.

On to the evening....Tuna Burger..... yes please!!!! We were not the only people who thought this was a good choice and met the acquaintance of a very small black cat....aka....Bat Cat! (he has MASSIVE ears!). Cue the poker and Bombay Sapphire on the balcony, good times!

Day two in paradise followed a smiliar theme of beach, sun, more fried squid rings and salad; which I caved in on this time to avoid any possible food envy! A good choice. Me and Jo went snorkling after lunch and saw a sea snake and two turtles just out on the reef in front of where we were staying. The snorkelling here was better than we both expected and to see all that straight off was awesome... we are slowly developing 'sign language' for when we spot anything of interest or potential danger. The sign for a jelly fish is a clenched fist with the other hand wiggling below it. Defintely need to have these things sorted as I will discover in a few days (I'm writing this a few days on) after been stung on the bollock and top lip.... nice!.... More poker and Bombay Sapphire and some whisky for me (it really doesnt take much to be a milionaire out here, a picture says a thousand words, see above!).

A quick trip to the neighbouring island, Gili Trawangan, was in order today for a bit of an explore but also to use its cash point. Jo and Tam picked well, Gili T as it is known, is a lot busier and generally a different scene to Meno, i.e. a lot of people getting smashed and listening to trance music etc... it was a nice trip out for the day though and satisfying to know we are all much happier where we are :-) Also don't want to say it seeing as I seem to have mentioned food a lot but 'monster ribs' was on a menu, 2 whole racks and the most ridiculous portion of calamari......it ws a nice change to only have to order one meal instead of my minimum of 2 mains and a desert where we were staying, great food but just not enough... I think the staff are beginning to find it a bit funny.

Over the next couple of days everyone has become a bit more accustomed to doing nothing and relaxing, so we did exactly that. More shennanigans with Bat Cat...my word he is persistent, although I can relate to his fear of not knowing where his next meal is coming from; I have been know to get the food fear even when going out of the house for a bit...

It is rainy season here, not that it has rained yet, but times time and the thunder started directly over head with lightening hitting the sea a bit too close for comfort... cancel the swimming this afternoon! Balcony and more poker, but it never really rained and the storm passed before it really started. A good excuse to stay on the balcony though.

On another quick walk around the island me and Tam both managed to mangle our feet. Tam's feet got hit by some coral boulders in the surf and mine was, I have to say, not quite as unexpected... there was a small log which had been burnt at one end perfectly placed to be kicked so I couldn't resist, momentarily forgetting that I was wearing flip flops... huge splinter right underneath my big toe nail!!! Jo and Tam will verify this. After a quick beer and a bit of work with the pen knife it was removed. No more kicking things for me!

More snorkelling for the 3 of us, which was as epic as before but minus the turtles. Fingers crossed we see some more and maybe some dolphins for Jo on the Komodo tour. More sunbathing then over to Lombok and the Perama tour for the Komodos, and over to Tam.

Adam : )

Posted by Tam-Jo 06:07 Archived in Indonesia Tagged gili meno Comments (1)

(Entries 91 - 100 of 155) « Page .. 5 6 7 8 9 [10] 11 12 13 14 15 .. »