Marion and Roger, a pair of Brits from 40 miles west of London, boarded the ship carefully. They’re in their 70s, and both are intrepid travelers.
Marion is short, round, lively, and loves a good biscuit. Roger is tall, thin, and has to be reminded to eat. This is just one of many trips they make during the year, leaving their comfy cottage for the world’s wild places.
Another couple, Irwin and Joan who are in their late 50s, climbed aboard, assisted by the crew, who gathered around the loading area to welcome us aboard.
Karen and Frank, a couple from Sydney, retired and experienced sailors clambered aboard. Two young men from Montana, then me as a solo traveler.
The Katharina, one of two gorgeously-appointed ships in the SeaTrek Bali fleet, had brought us all by motored dinghy from the Coral View Resort in northeastern Bali. We’d all just come from Borneo to see orangutans, which was another part of this same journey.
We had no idea what was in store for us. Good thing. Why spoil a lovely surprise, one that keeps unfolding for eight long, lovely, incredible days in one of the most gorgeous places on earth?
The following week we were fed like kings and queens, introduced to remote islands where no other ships visit, moored off the coast in the quiet, warm waters to watch the moonrise and the sunrise (both spectacular).
We tracked Komodo dragons, met villagers on isolated islands where the tourists don’t go, watched amazing dances and paddled or swam salty crater lakes.
Could this be you? Of course it could. Why not? Here’s how to make paradise happen.
Put your remote down, and for once consider a journey to the other side of the world in person rather than National Geographic.
I’ll address Indonesia in this series because I just got back from four weeks in that country. For once, don’t choose something close, predictable, and the reliable default. If not you, then who? If not now, then when? Indeed.
Sure, it’s a long set of flights. So, stop over in Hong Kong, or Singapore, or Tokyo. Take a few extra days to rest up, sleep in and head out for a while as you take your sweet time to arrive in Denpasar, the country’s airport.
I’m going to discuss SeaTrek Bali as that’s the operator I used, plus a gem of a hotel in Ubud, Central Bali, called Alam Indah. There are many options available depending on your personal tastes.
The reason I chose SeaTrek was because each day we woke up somewhere new. We had a full range of options of daily activities – including nothing whatsoever, which Marion periodically enjoyed thoroughly – and the food was wicked good.
You can snorkel, SUP, hike, swim, sunbathe, and in my case, sleep on the top deck and star gaze. Oh my, what a sky.
Each of our fellow passengers had a wholly different trip from the rest of us, which appealed to me very much. You never feel as though you are loaded up into a cattle car and shuttled around. On board, it’s your trip and yours alone.
Never tracked a Komodo dragon? Now that’s a story to take home. It’s safer than you think, and the hike to see them is a very easy walk. Marion had no issue with this, and she was no athlete. There were days we could hike hard, and days to do nothing. Or anything in between.
Not far offshore, all wi-fi is gone. What a blessed relief. For eight gorgeous, fabulous days you are beyond the beeps and belligerency of marketing calls, scam calls, and all the other interruptions we have come to take as perfectly acceptable. Three of us read a lot.
Accompanied by the quiet offshore breeze, the occasional flop of a fish, we’d lie in the shade and nap. When’s the last time you took a lazy, happy nap just because?
Don’t wait until Someday, which is a day that never ever comes. The moment you start planning, the trip has already taken place. And yes, there was a terrorist attack, but that was a long, long, long way from where SeaTrek operates.
There are 18,000 islands in this huge country – and in all ways it is a paradise worth exploring.
Not only that, but with the Indonesian Rupiah at 1360 or so against the American dollar, your pennies – or pounds, as it were – go a very long way. Taxis are pennies on the dollar, food is so cheap it’s almost criminal.
I will be writing more about Indonesia and this trip to offer a sense of what’s in this magical place, what might be of interest to investigate, and what I found that was worth traveling halfway around the world to see. Stay tuned!
Have you been to Bali or other parts of Indonesia? What were your favorite places to share? What do you like best about this country? Please share your experiences with the community!