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Dances, Dragons, and Magical Lakes – I & II

Southeast Asia Cruise Information

Summary : Explore Komodo National Park and Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands on this active, 7-day voyage. Discover a cross-section of remote beaches, quiet coastal villages, jungle-clad mountain ranges, towering volcanoes, rivers, waterfalls, tribal rituals, a mysterious lake, and the legendary Komodo Dragons. Enjoy ample opportunities to snorkel and view the kaleidoscopic beauty of the underwater world. Unlimited use of the stand-up paddleboards and sea kayaks onboard will add yet another dimension to your nature explorations.

Activities : Child-Friendly, Culture, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Triple/Quad Cabins

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Itinerary
Day 1
Amed, Bali

Please Note: ‘Dances, Dragons, and Magical Lakes I’ travels outbound from Bali to Flores; guests meet the ship in Bali and later return to Bali by air from Labuan Bajo in Flores.

You will arrive in the afternoon at the beach resort in the delightful and quiet, East Bali coastal village of Amed, where you can relax and unwind with a swim or a snorkel, perhaps a scuba dive, or even a walk in the surrounding village and hillsides. It’s also an opportunity for those unfamiliar with snorkelling to have a lesson with our tour leader. In the evening, enjoy sunset drinks in the seaside bar, before having dinner with your fellow guests to get better acquainted for the voyage ahead.

Day 2
Lombok Strait

Wake in the morning at the resort, have a leisurely breakfast and maybe an early morning swim or snorkel before being transported the short distance to the boat, which will be waiting at anchor in the bay. After we board the vessel you will have a chance to settle in before the captain gives the orders for the anchor to be lifted prior to crossing the Lombok Strait. This deep trench of water between Bali and Lombok marks part of a very important ecological boundary called the Wallace Line, which was first described by Sir Alfred Russel Wallace, the renowned Victorian naturalist. Wallace noticed that the flora and fauna of the islands to the west are home to Asiatic animal and plant species, whereas the islands to the east of the invisible line have a greater similarity to species found in Australia. In the afternoon, we will make our first stop at one of the three Gili islands, a popular holiday destination just off Lombok’s northwest coast. You will spend a few hours here, during which time you can choose from a number of water activities: swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding, kayaking, or simply enjoying the beautiful white-sand beach.

Day 3
North Lombok

Moored off the coast of North Lombok, you will enjoy a hearty breakfast before going ashore and boarding a private bus for a trip into the interior of the northern side of the island and the traditional village of Senaru. Here, you will be taken on a tour, by one of the local women-guides, of the simple thatched houses and gardens of fruits and spices, which will give you an insight into the culture of the indigenous Sasak people. Your mellow adventure will then lead you down a well-trodden flight of steps through the tropical forest to Sindang Gila, a roaring 40-metre tiered waterfall. The small gravel beach and flat rocks at the base of the falls are a meeting place for the local people, and if we want you can take a dip under the full force of the intense flow. Your walk will continue alongside an old irrigation canal offering panoramic vistas of rice fields stretching towards the sea. The area around Senaru and Bayan was the birthplace of Lombok’s unique Wektu Telu belief system in which ancient animist practices are combined with Islam. If you have time, you will visit Bayan Beleq, a grass-roofed mosque with woven bamboo walls. Said to have been founded in the 16th century, this is the oldest mosque in Lombok. You may also have time to see some weavers and spinners demonstrating their age-old skills. After getting back to the boat and having lunch, we will explore one of the coral reefs near Gili Sulat, which is a marine conservation area.

Day 4
Moyo

This morning you will moor off Labuan Aji village on the island of Moyo, visit the village and then walk to Diwu Mba’i waterfall, where can swing on a rope and jump into the deep clear river pool below, or simply bathe in the refreshing cool water. Your next stop will be Satonda, a strange and mystical volcanic island with a sunken crater lake in its centre that was filled with saltwater when the nearby Mt Tambora erupted in 1815, causing a tsunami that flowed into the crater. The eruption was the biggest volcanic explosion in the collective memory of mankind; it had roughly four times the energy of the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, and gave rise to the ‘year without a summer’ because of the effect on North American and European weather. Local people believe Satonda to be magical, and with this in mind, you will walk to the lip of the caldera to view the mysterious lake, alongside which are trees believed to be ‘wishing trees.’ Visitors to the island tie a small stone to a tree and make a wish. If your wish comes true, you are bound to return to the island to offer thanks. The seas surrounding the island are rich with soft and hard corals and colourful tropical fish, so you will spend the afternoon swimming and snorkelling. Another highlight of your visit to Satonda will be the sight of thousands of flying foxes that commute at dusk from the island to feed on the mainland, returning before first light the next day. Immediately after sunset, we leave for an overnight passage on a course due east.

Day 5
Pulau Sangean

Today you will wake up off the coast of Pulau Sangean, an active volcano that towers 1,800 metres above sea level. After breakfast, we will go ashore to a small hamlet, which, because of the active nature of the volcano, is only inhabited for short periods during the year when the local people come to tend their crops and small herds of buffaloes, which we can see swimming in the sea. We will then snorkel on both a nearby reef and a location on the north of the island where volcanic gasses escape in the form of bubbles from the sea floor among the corals, a most interesting sight. We will then proceed to the island of Banta and its pure white sand beach, for an afternoon of swimming, snorkelling and hill climbing for the fit. Later that evening we proceed on to Komodo dragon country.

Day 6
Komodo Island

This morning, the boat will be anchored off the famous Komodo Island, one of approximately 80 islands that make up the Komodo National Park. You will go ashore at the ranger station in Loh Liang for an early morning ranger-led trek through the park searching for Komodo dragons. In this savannah-like setting of dry, rugged landscape, you will encounter, at a safe distance, these awe-inspiring, giant lizards—Indonesia’s living dinosaurs. You may spot deer, wild boar, sulphur-crested cockatoos, butterflies, rare orchids, and jungle chickens among the strangle-fig trees and the distinctive lontar palms. After returning to the onboard you will cruise around the coast and visit Komodo village, where you can buy some local handicrafts. Later you may head to Pantai Merah ‘red-beach,’ which takes its name from the particles of red coral mingled with the sand. Here you will swim and snorkel over one of the richest reefs in Eastern Indonesia, relishing the unforgettable spectacle of the region’s many varieties of coral and marine life. Later, you will head to Makassar Reef, where you will look for manta rays, and if we spot them, you will go snorkeling with these gentle giants. You will then head to Gili Lawa Darat for some more snorkeling and a hill climb to watch a magical sunset.

Day 7
Rinca Island

Today you will visit the ranger station of Loh Buaya on Rinca Island where you will have another ranger-led nature trek in search of more Komodo dragons, which are indigenous to this small group of islands. Rinca is also well known for its diverse wildlife, so you may spot monkeys, wild buffaloes and deer as well. From the top of the hills, the scenery is breathtaking. In the afternoon we can go snorkeling. With over 1,000 species of fish in the waters of the national park, there is much more to this wildlife reserve than just dragons. In the evening you will go ashore to an island where you can enjoy a quintessential experience and a highlight for many guests. With your feet in the sand and the stars rising in the vast Indonesian sky, the crew will build a bonfire and prepare a beach barbecue as a final celebration of your memorable voyage.

Day 8
Labuan Bajo

After breakfast in Labuan Bajo, you will visit the local market or take a private bus to the inland village of Melo. Here, local ‘strongmen’ will perform the ‘Caci,’ a ritual whip-fight between two rivals in which the players, each armed with a rattan shield and a whip, will try to hit each other while dancing to the rhythm of traditional acoustic instruments. The men of Western Flores are famous for this test of daring and skill, requiring lightning quick moves to dodge the infliction of a wound. The winner is loudly applauded and cheered by the village. Besides this, the cultural group will also showcase other traditional dances. After the performance, you will have lunch on the boat before transferring you to the airport for your flight back to Bali.

Notes

Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to weather conditions. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Reverse Itinerary (Flores to Bali):
3/30/2018, 4/17/2018, 5/30/2018, 6/17/2018, 7/5/2018, 7/23/2018, 8/10/2018

Mandatory Insurance:
Travelers are required to contract personal travel insurance in order to be covered in case of accident, sickness, flight cancellation, evacuation, etc. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.

Included:
Transfers to and from the ship; shipboard accommodations; complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, and mineral water; planned excursions as detailed in the itinerary; complimentary towels; multilingual guide; gear on loan (sea canoes, snorkeling equipment, and stand-up paddleboards); all meals onboard the ship. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Airfare; travel insurance (mandatory); alcoholic beverages; any ground services before and/or after the cruise; passport and visa fees; personal expenses; tips; fuel surcharge may apply.

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