Machine guns!

Machine guns!

September 21st: Departed Pink Beach on the Southern side of Komodo Island at 6:30am for a short hop around to the Northern side. We checked out a few anchorages none of which were suitable and Oda decided to anchor on the Western side of the island Gili Lawa Laut which was a stunning bay, but roly. Stormvogel and Southern Star decided to choose a calmer anchorage in an un-named inlet on the Northern side of Komodo, just near the two islands of which Oda anchored off one. We were both able to pick up a mooring, which was easier said than done for us. With me driving the boat and Robbie trying to retrieve the pick up rope on the mooring, which is difficult because of our high bow and also the rope on the mooring was extremely short. There was one of the hawkers and his family in one of the local boats following us ( they follow you as soon as they see you and then practically raft up to you before you have even anchored – in the hope of flogging you some pearls or wooden Komodo Dragons) and after 3 failed attempts to pick up the mooring Robbie got the hawker to tie one of our ropes for us onto the mooring and throw it up to us, which he very kindly did. We had quite a chat with him and his wife, 3 year old son and 7 month old baby. Very nice family, they live on the boat and he fishes and of course sells when he can to tourists. We gave them a T-shirt, stickers, bouncy ball, hair tie and after he showed his very sad hand line and lure, Robbie gave him 3 lures and off they went. Not long after we got a visit from some Komodo National Park Rangers – complete with machine guns! They wanted us to pay 150,000 rupiah to stay on the mooring. I pulled out our receipts and showed them we had already paid our park fees at this stage he was quite insistent. I radioed Stormvogel to tell them what was happening and when I came back he said don’t worry about paying. We did have the feeling that the $ would have gone straight in their back pockets. It was quite menacing with the machine gun and afterwards I thought maybe we should have just paid the money it wasn’t a lot in the scheme of things. We got a call from Oda with an invite for lunch so we picked up Peter & Heidi and went around in our duck. We had to pass through a narrow channel between Komodo Island the first island which was quite spectacular with very clear water and you could see coral and reef on each side. It was quite choppy on the other side and it took us about 10 minutes to get to the bay that Oda, Mediterraneo & Almacantar were anchored in. Wow! It was picture perfect with crystal clear water the most beautiful aqua blue colour and you could see right to the bottom. Per & Elizabeth had made fresh bread and onion soup, it was absolutely gorgeous. After lunch we all jumped in for a swim and a snorkel, it was so good, you could see lots of fish and the white sandy bottom, probably 15 metres deep. We had a couple of drinks and then thought we better head back in case in got too choppy. This time we went through the other narrow channel between the two small islands and this was really wow factor. It was very narrow, about 8metres deep, the water was again a beautiful crystal clear blue colour and you could see a lot of fish, coral and to add excitement there was a lot of current with eddies and whirlpools. There were about 3 small boats with diver’s snorkelling. Very pretty spot. We got back to the boat and decided to have a couple of hands of 500, Peter is really loving this, Heidi still warming up. Unfortunately Robbie and Heidi won and that was painful but there will be another day!

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