I get my passport back, freshly visa’d, and the next day I backtrack all the way down the coast to Padang Bai, time to return my lovely little moto. I’d assumed that I would have to spend a night in Padang Bai before catching the ferry to Lombok, but luck is on my side. I manage to catch an evening sailing of the slow ferry, only 4 hours which turned into 5 as we hovered in the Lombok Harbour for an hour for no apparent reason. I’ve signed on for a 3 day boat trip from Lombok to Flores Island, with a stop on Komodo Island to see (what else) the Komodo Dragons. I’ve gone with Perama Tours as they seem to be the only option. This boat holds up to 40 passengers, some of who pay extra for cabins but most of us sleep on deck. I’m nervous about this trip, what if it’s a 3 day booze cruise filled with vomitous 20 year olds?

After a short nights sleep in Mantaram I’m at the Perama office in the early morning where I’m handed my tour t-shirt, oh goody, this bodes well. The bus arrives, having already picked up almost everyone else in Sengiggi and I plop myself down next to someone who it turns out, I’m going to know for quite some time. However at this point we’re all sleepy and we cover the few basics of conversation eg: where are you from, name, where been, where going etc. And then we are delivered to the local shopping center to pick up anything we may need or have forgotten.

Shopping done and few more people met and I’m starting to feel pretty good about this trip, everyone I’ve met seems nice, friendly and not too party crazy, this could work out really well. We spend the next hour or so driving across Lombok, we need to get to the Eastern shore to get on our boat. On the way we make a stop at a village where we are introduced to the mysteries of Indonesian pottery making. I confess, I’m not that interested and spend the time wandering around the village poking my nose into doorways, snapping photos and trying to talk to locals.

I catch up with my group as we are loaded back onto the bus and then driven a bit further for a rest stop where we are fed fried bananas and tea or coffee. My seatmate and I, ok ok, her name is Andy, a beautiful French Canadian woman, Andy and I sit on the deck sipping our beverages getting to know each other. I like her already and don’t want to come across like some fawning puppy, but you know when you meet someone and you just know that you’re going to be friends and that’s kinda exciting, it’s like that. Anyways this is when I catch my first glimpse of “The Italian” and I comment to Andy what a fine looking specimen he is. Oh goody, I’ll have some age appropriate eye candy for the next few days, what a treat!

Finally we arrive at the boat, get acquainted with it and each other and start out on our adventure. Our first stop is Perama Island, a very small place where we will spend a few hours. First up, snorkeling and beach time, then watching the sun go down behind Mount Rinjani on Lombok. This is followed by a bbq dinner prepared on the beach and one of the crew playing guitar and singing along. It`s a great afternoon and early evening and a perfect way to get to know each other. We all seem to like each other, it`s a very comfy vibe, what a relief. I start to get an idea that “The Italian” may hold some interest in me as well, hmmm…a flirtation may be brewing, how nice. We`re back onboard by 9 pm and set up our beds on deck. It’s like a big slumber party. We are warned that we will be waking up with the sun so as to make the most of our days. With this in mind we bed down fairly early and as the boat continues to move eastward through the night we all drop off to dreamland.

Perama Island

I”m on the first shuttleboat to Perama Island. When we arrive these guys come up asking if they can take a photo. I turn the tables on them and get my “harem” shot.