Updated: Jul 16
Our experience of sailing around the Komodo Islands for 4-days with a boat full of friends is the single best experience Danielle and I have ever had. We don't say that lightly! There is a tonne of incredible things we've done and seen, but it all pales in comparison. I'll take a stab at putting it into words and outline our days as best I can...here we go.
Dolphins, manta rays, dragons. Crystal clear blue waters, pink sand beaches, unbeatable sunrises and sunsets just about cover some of the amazing things we saw...but still scratches the surface. It was a trip full of floating from incredible island to incredible island, seeing unbeatable sights and experiencing it all with a large group of friends. There is only one way to see the Komodo Islands...and this was it.
The boat was perfect! The rooms were small sections on the "top deck" all divided by canvas covers. We unzipped them to reveal the beautiful view as the boat began to set sail. After getting comfy it was time to all congregate around the large table downstairs and play some tropical house music. That's when the murmurings about cracking open the first Bintang started.
We held off for the time being and got ready for the first snorkelling spot of the trip. It was full of colourful reefs and plenty of fish. We knew we'd see some amazing things from then on...but still weren't prepared for what would come.
We got back aboard, marvelled in what we'd seen and then the crisp sound of a can opening replaced the ocean breeze. It was time for a beer with friends while we made our way to a little patch of sand in the middle of nowhere. Taka Makassar is a sandbank which grows and shrinks with the tides. It's a beautiful place, the water is pristine and clear and we walked around the soft sands for a while.
After an hour or so we made our way back on the boat and set sail towards Padar, our place of rest for the evening. It was very dark when we arrived, so it wasn't until morning that we were able to appreciate the natural beauty of where we were. The stars still filled the sky at night, more than I've ever seen before. I never knew the Milky Way was visible with the naked eye until then, it was spectacular to see.
Every day was an early rise, but who cares when the sunrises outside your window are insane? Before breakfast, we hiked to the top of Padar for an early, but truly spectacular view. We must have spent around 2hrs up here, admiring the scenery and capturing some amazing shots.
Eventually, we began reluctantly making our way back down to the boat, and it was time for some much-needed breakfast. After a hearty meal, we set sail for Pink Beach. A beautiful and remote section of an island among the vast Flores region. The cameras and drones were all out here capturing the beautiful and unique pink beach, and then we took some time to enjoy ourselves.
Some locals joked "shark, shark!" while we were in the water, or at least we thought it was a joke. After laughing it off we saw a shadow under the surface nearby, but luckily for all, it was a nosey reef shark that was interested in what was going on. After a while on the lookout for the shark, through both wonder and nervousness, we headed back to the boat. More snorkelling was just around the corner, and the turtles and fish were all waiting for us!
Each snorkel trip was sublime and came with so much to see. After seeing all the wonderful marine life we got back on the boat and set sail one final time for the day. Komodo Island awaited!
We didn't have to go far before the captain shouted "dolphins!" and we all jumped up immediately. The crew began some sort of rhythmic tap dance and were banging on the boat...the dolphins loved it! They began swimming along with us and playing. It was the sort of thing you only ever dream about...no one could believe what they were seeing.
Another beautiful sunrise greeted us in the morning, as did our dolphin friends! While sitting around the table sipping our morning coffee they were doing acrobatic flips in the distance. We ate and then docked at Komodo to begin our trek.
This was the only part of the trip that was disappointing and was something we'd avoid if we came back again. We trekked with a guide for about 30 minutes and eventually saw a Komodo Dragon resting in the same place everyone else sees them and the whole thing felt very staged. We saw the large reptile and then jumped back on the boat to set sail for much better sights and wonders.
Next up was snorkelling at manta point, where we hoped to see some of the majestic creatures. We swam around a little and then saw our first, so headed in its direction. Before we knew it we were surrounded by at least 20 mantas all swimming around in little circles. There were so many they were bumping into each other! We stayed in the water for ages with these beautiful creatures, and then finally made our way back onto the boat.
Another pink beach was our next stop, and this one was possibly even more beautiful than the last. We first thought we were all alone on the beautiful island, before noticing a baby komodo in the distance. He noticed us too and quickly darted off, but it was amazing to see such a rare sighting. The rest of the time here was spent snapping, bathing and swimming...it was perfect.
The location for tonight was Bat Island, a place known for a large daily bat migration. Every night at sunset these creatures leave their cave in droves to make their way towards Flores to eat.
Our final day started with the bats returning to their home for sunrise, as we sat with our coffee and laughed again at how ridiculously amazing the trip had been. We set sail, snorkelled, soaked up the sun and tried to make the most of our last hours on the boat. The final stop before ending our trip was Kelor, a popular island with a great viewpoint.
We made our way up the short walk to the summit for pictures and marvellous views, before heading down and relaxing with our friends around the bay.
Everyone was sad to set sail for the final time. We would have all loved to have started the trip over again from start to finish...everything about it was incredible.
There was so much to write above about all the amazing things we did each day that I didn't mention the food onboard. It was nothing short of spectacular! The crew cooked up a storm three times per day and with very limited facilities. We were all so amazed at how they even managed to cook it all. There were a few small hot plates in the kitchen, and that was about the extent of it. The chef was amazing, they catered for everyone and made more than enough food. Every single meal was delicious. Seafood, meat and veggie options were all available, and everything tasted incredible.
It added to the experience and meant we could all sit around a large table throughout the day and share all the unbelievable experiences we'd had while feasting on such fantastic food.
WHO DID WE GO WITH
Le Pirate are the masterminds behind this trip of a lifetime. The crew were incredible, and the boat was perfect. They made it amazing from start to finish, we wouldn't have changed a single thing!
LE PIRATE ISLAND
After the boat tour, we booked an additional night at Le Pirate Island, a private island where you can stay in a beach bungalow. It's a beautiful place with a dreamy bungalow and was an incredible end to an already outstanding experience.
If you have to pick between the two then without a doubt you should prioritise the boat trip, but if you can do both then do it.
This trip was a fitting way to end our time in Indonesia. It was an incredible experience with so many amazing moments we will cherish forever. I expect we'll be back one day, but for now, it's on to Australia for us!