Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by indohoyindohoy on 13 June 2011 • Itinerary
Claudia: “You can dive now?”
Me: “Yes I can. Yay! I’m glad you remember me” *jumping up and down of happiness
This is a perk of coming back to a place you had a great time with great people. People remember you. I came back to the Ankermi Dive Resort because I CAN NOW dive! Last time, I came to tag along as you can recall here. This time, I gotsta jump in. Cindy was also a dive enthusiast, so it was a breeze to drag her in to this one. It was a good rest after our experience in Larantuka, and it was a jolly fine rest both mentally and spiritually. Oh! Cindy will also have her apparently-many say here as she did starting from the title.
Dive, of course! We did the whole day dive trip to Pangabatangisland and Babi island. Did we see any sharks? Well… you’re just gonna have to take our word for it.
Eat & Sleep
We stayed at the Ankermi resort, of course. Now with new prices of IDR 225,000 for both of us that included breakfast, afternoon tea/coffee, and dinner.
How to get there
Earlier, to start the Flores flow from east to west, we both landed on the island in Maumere using different airlines. Cindy came in from Denpasar using Wings Air (under Lion Air) which cost about IDR 880,000 / pax. Mumun came in on a delayed flight due to weather from Kupang, using the Merpati Airlines costing about IDR 500,000 / pax.
We took the bus from Larantuka for IDR 40,000 / pax that took us about 4 hours or so. The bus was pretty comfortable, clean, full music (of not your choice, but you probably can request something), and without any vomit victim during our trip.
To get out of town, we rented an ojeg to the Larantuka bus station and caught a bus to Maumere. An ojeg ride cost IDR 50,000 / pax.
We need a proper introduction now that Cindy is finally putting one foot in to Indohoy’s door, which isn’t really closed anyway. Cindy is a hippie; well at least that’s how I see her. She’s an environmental tree-hugging scientist, loves to travel and is so called nomadic, that just enjoys a laugh, wears an eclectic ankle bracelet and red pants. Need I say more? Oh, she would love to travel Indonesia, and other places of course.
Here she will be writing some of the entries and I would be filling in the blank stares. She does that! She fazes out. But anyways, her writing will be in ‘purple haze’ and I’d be the boring brown. So take it away, Cindy.
We arrived at Ankermi that afternoon. A little late than what was scheduled but no one was in a hurry (Can you believe we have a schedule?! Well at least we tried). Hopped off the bus, paid our fair to the friendly driver and then stepped in to the mini gates of this mini heaven. We caught up with Pak Kermi to plan the next day’s dive and to figure out how the hell we were gonna get out of there the day after.
That afternoon, while catching our breath, we had the choice between laid-back beach chairs or a small dock to watch the beautiful Timor sunset. Mumun and I went for the dock, and released our burdened desire to jump in the water after 3 days of no-swim during the Easter period in Larantuka. Our dip in the warm Flores Sea with the sun setting revealing hues of pink and orange in the foreground was well-worth the wait.
So we had dinner, laughs, caught up with our expense notes, a glass of ‘arak’ cocktail before we retired in to what we considered that night as the best bed ever. We were really tired.
The next morning, after preparing our rented diving equipments with Pak Kermi and gobbled our breakfast, we set off on a 45 minute boat trip to the soon-to-be Marine Protected Area of Maumere Bay. Arriving on our first diving site close to the Pangabatang Island, we were in awe. The water was crystal clear and quite pristine. But after diving underwater, another feeling took place. The diving trip turned into a diving “trip”.
We dove in the Fish Soup reef, where there was so many fish as we were part of the soup. Amongst the many, we spotted the blue spotted ray or Teniura lymma which were often seen, also red snaper, puffer fish, lobster (man I wish we could just grab em for dinner :P) and yellow box fish.
I somehow felt under the influence of some hallucination-inducing drug, and I immediately had the song of Jimi Hendrix in my head, “The Purple Haze”. Written after a dream that he had while walking under the sea, I’d say that Jimi is truly a genius. He described such a vague ambience and exactly to what I felt and saw. There was a slope that went to up to 30 meters with corals that we saw were dominated by hues of purple. Creatures of all kinds was swimming around but one most amazing view that I noticed was a school of yellow-orange fish that was swimming erratically in a group that made it look like the autumn leaves swaying and falling to the ocean floor.
Before heading to the second diving site right off the Babi Island (Babi = pig, because from the west side, the island does look like a pig served on a Christmas platter), we dropped off two girls that found out that they didn’t really like snorkeling/diving and decided to wait for us at the beach instead.
Here’s the thing. I wasn’t expecting anything when we went to Babi Island, especially after knowing we weren’t going to the ‘crack’. I’m an easy pleaser, so just a mere dive and spotting a weird creature on my own is already rewarding for me. But! Pak Kermi just had to spoil out that we were going shark hunting *gasp with adrenaline rush. Fair enough, we had to be prepared. Wouldn’t want to make any sudden move when one does appear. He did, however, said that 10 % of visitors fail to see any even though he and Juven called them. Although I’m an easy pleaser, I really had my hopes up a bit to see a shark.
And, for the second time, we experienced our diving trip. We were hoping to run into one/two sharks, but didn’t find any.
We dived, we called, and … we were disappointed (on the shark note). We were that unlucky 10 % that did not see any shark no matter how hard we called them. How? Pak Kermi and Pak Juven, each had a plastic bottle in their hand. Underwater they squashed the bottles making a racket, trying to allure attention of the sharks. I’m not sure if this applies only for the sharks of Babi island, but it was their way. I was a bit disappointed. It would have been so kewl to see sharks. But hey, nature has its own schedule. We still did enjoy our dive. The water was slightly murky but we could still see the sea floor for about another 10 m.
But here’s our list of creatures we saw: Pipe fish, lion fish, dark and pale scorpion fish (the pale one was awsome!), mantis shrimp, anemon shrimp, cleaning shrimp, yellow trumpet fish, Chromodoris coi, blue ribbo eel, batfish, and etc.
On a personal note, with which Cindy agreed because we taked about it, we love being guided by Pak Juven. He was so nice as he was 2 years ago. I didn’t know how good he was as a DM underwater, but now I do. He’s good! Like most local DM guides, Pak Juven pointed out critters, slugs, and alien types of creatures. Oh, and fishes of course. He kept us alert and never hesitated to pull us aside to show us something profoundly cute making me giggle behind my subscribed mask. On land, he is equally kind and full of smiles.
We got back to the boat and fell asleep on the way back to the hotel, exhausted, ecstatic and overwhelmed. I wished that I had dreamt of meeting Jimi, because I would say to him, “with all due respect to your talented soul, I actually saw the purple haze, and I can be sure to say that it was far greater than any man-made or LSD-made imagination could ever conceive.”
I’ll be back Ankermi. You’ll see. You’ve scarred me deep.
Nature is grand and majestic, but also kind and humble. Any human creation will always try to elevate to greatness of Him, but it will also be somehow pretentious and lacking. But not Waiterang, and definitely not this trip.
Dinner was a feast with a buffet of varying Indonesian cooking, also a second relief after we were served a string of Indomie and rice and egg in Larantuka as a form of fasting for the Easter celebration (not that we weren’t grateful to our kind hosts).
You can’t complain about the food even if you tried. Wait… maybe I can complain that they didn’t include lunch in their room rates 😛 Can’t win them all, hey? But the food at Ankermi is good and has not changed my satisfaction from the last time I visited. And I would still love to order lunch anyways :D.
This time my latest favorite item is the ‘arak’ or local wine cocktail, which is a mix of ‘arak’, cut up lime, and soda water. I’m no expert to identify more than that. It tasted like Gin and tonic, and I really liked it.
Cindy had to sleep another night in Maumere just to wait for my delayed flight in. So she stayed in the Maiwali hotel. It was recommended by the taxi driver because it’s less noisy than the famous Gardena Hotel. Cindy just needed a place to sleep so she didn’t mind any kind of hotel.
Maiwali Hotel cost IDR 100,000 / night.
Ankermi – just perfect!
Right from the start, everything was proportionally perfect. It was neither luxurious nor pretentious. Just perfect. From the smiles and greetings from Pak Kermi, the owner, and Pak Juven, the clean and comfortable bungalows with a cozy little terrace facing the ocean, the warm banana fritters as our afternoon snack, and the shoreline at a step away.
Seaview Bungalow SINGLE Rp.225.000, DOUBLE Rp. 390.000 (no AC)
Family Bungalow SINGLE Rp.245.000, DOUBLE Rp. 430.000 – Foto
Family Bungalow with airconditioning SINGLE Rp.310.000, DOUBLE Rp. 495.000
Price including breakfast, afternoon snack and dinner.
+62-812 466 96 67 / +62-813 390 96 625 (Claudia or Pak Kermi)
60 Euros will include 2 dives with 1 divemaster for each 2 divers, full rented equipment, lunch, snacks and boat trip to diving sites.
We both got to the island through Maumere, the capital of the Sikka regency. But not without a few struggles of course, being an island that is great for traveling.
Cindy came in from Denpasar with Wings Air (a branch company of Lion Air). Her 1 hour flight cost about IDR 880,000 / pax which was ordered about 2 weeks before departure. I came in from Kupang with Merpati Air. My 45 minute plane ride cost me about IDR 500,000 / pax which was ordered 1.5 months prior departure.
Here’s the beauty of Indonesian airlines and transportation. Both planes were scheduled to land not far from each other. Cindy was to land an hour before me. But, because of the bad weather, she had to circle the skies a bit. Leading us to landing in similar times. What happened? She landed and I didn’t. My plane choseto fly back to Kupang even though it had almost reached Maumere. So, who do you think was lucky?
After the long dark Easter night that ended at 3 AM (for us cheaters only; for the others it was more like 5 AM), the 4-hour curvy ride from Larantuka to Maumere with blaring 90’s music didn’t bother my nap too much. The trip that cost us IDR 40.000 for me was more like a cradle than a packed colorful minibus. Fortunately, Mumun wasn’t as sound asleep as I was and noticed the bus passing the Ankermi Happy dive sign situated just on the main road, some 30 minutes after exiting East Flores Regency (a..k.a. Kabupaten) and entering Sikka Regency.
We shouted our typical “Kiriiii!” (translates to “left”, pronounced frantically) and the bus dropped us some 30 km before arriving at Maumere. Our bags were thrown from the top of the minibus roof by the guys who slept on them during the 4 hour trip (yes, on the roof)! As the alley between two roadside houses lead us to Ankermi and Claudia’s haven, I felt my knees weakening not only from the weight of my bag but also from excitement.