2 Africa Twins - In Search of Hobbits, Moby Dick and the Headhunters of Alor

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by KTMInduro, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster

    Joined:
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    October 2012. Eastern Indonesia beckons again . Once again I will ride NTT, the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago, to continue from where my last ride in 2011 had ended in Bima, Sumbawa. I'm going to ride across northern Flores to the remote and wild islands of Adonara, Solor, Lembata, Pantar and Alor before returning to ride the southern coast of Flores.

    I have previously used Google Earth for finding and making tracks locally here in Bali with some success, but my Garmin 60CSX has been a limiting factor to creating anything longer than weekend rides. Then I saw what could potentially be done using the Garmin Montana and decided to find and plot a route following rough back roads and offroad trails across Eastern Indonesia using GE.

    I informed my buddy and long term riding partner Mike (Aka Uncle Role Model) of my plans. He immediately jumped up and down with excitement and told me he would join me again on his Africa Twin RD04 . We agreed on a tentative departure date of early April 2013.

    6 months would be plenty of time to prepare……….or so I thought. I had no idea that in December I was going to be offered a 1996 RD07 Africa Twin.

    A taste of things to come.........

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    #1
  2. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Darnestown, MD
    If this trip is anything like your Boreno Expedition, we are all in for a good read!

    :ricky


    Looking forward to the next installment,
    #2
  3. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster

    Joined:
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    The area we will ride through is called Nusa Tenggara Timor. Its one of the least developed areas of Indonesia, Not many people get further east past Flores and definitely not many on bikes. Lonely Planet describes Pantar Island as “about as far off the beaten track as Indonesia gets". We plan to ride Off Road and Off Maps, taking the way less traveled.

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    My route planning began in November. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the imagery on GE for Eastern Indonesia. I had periodically been looking at Alor over the past 3 or 4 years as one of those far flung destinations to ride, but the satellite images had never showed enough detail to show what was down there.
    Now I could see individual houses, tracks and boats in harbours, the majority of the way from West Flores to the far East of Alor. It looked pretty promising.

    After having had a few disasters in the past with misinterpreting very difficult goat trails for rideable tracks, I wanted to be careful this time.
    We were on big heavy bikes and I didn’t want to end up in places where extraction was going to be difficult or even impossible. We had been there and done that in Sumbawa a few years ago and that had forced us to finish that particular ride early.

    For this ride, I was going to attempt to try to keep us on jeep and wider dirt tracks not goat trails, also avoiding asphalt and the main Trans Flores Highway, that most overlanders follow. Identifying Single track and avoiding it was not as easy I thought, as we were to discover later :lol3

    Flores, Alor and the other islands we were to ride are all extremely mountainous. I spent hours following and “pegging out” a promising route using the waypoint tool on GE, only to find it stopping in a dead end. There were so many deep valleys, with no bridges to cross big raging rivers. Alternatively trails would just stop right in front of a huge mountain or a cliff.

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    Sometimes finding exits from these valleys felt like searching for a needle in a haystack and it was very time consuming. I had many failures and "wasted" evenings in front of the computer, but finally in early March I had the whole ride marked out – all 4000 km of it.
    It wasn’t perfect (and really wasn’t meant to be) – clouds had obscured some places and the satellite photography wasn’t very clear or at high resolution everywhere. It was the foundation of what looked to be a pretty cool ride though.

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    In fact I had quite a few waypoints named “Heres Hoping 4km or 7km ” and other places where I had put in alternative routes as some of the changes in altitude along the trail were fairy disturbing to say the least !

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    Sometime it was just plain guessing !

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    It then took another month to finalise and name and categorise over 800 waypoints along the route. I had a total of 36 different routes all of about 100km which I converted into GPX format and then loaded onto the Montana.

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    The ride I estimated was going to take us between 5 to 6 weeks. By the looks of it we would be riding some really interesting tracks through wild traditional villages and there were also some amazing deserted white sand beaches to camp on.

    All in all it looked pretty good ! :1drink
    #3
  4. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster

    Joined:
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    In December, a mate contacted me informing me he had a 1996 Honda Africa Twin RD07A for sale. As only one of 3 AT's on the island and apparently only one of around 20 in the whole country. I couldn't resist.

    A few days later the deal was made and in early January I took delivery of this unusual looking AT along with its 19’ front wheel and weird color scheme. All in all she was in pretty good condition with only 20,000 km on the clock.

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    Mapping was forgotten for a while as I migrated off to www.xrv.org.uk as well as the Africa Twins owners thread here, to do my homework on the new arrival.

    On the forums a found several threads describing fork conversions by adding WP KTM forks in place of OEM, and how this transformed the AT both in performance and weight.

    I was intrigued and the more I read the more I decided that I wanted to upgrade my bike as described by owners who had done the conversion. In their words "To build the adventure bike that Honda should be producing ”

    In a moment of madness I also decided that the rebuilt bike would be the one I would be riding in April. I wanted to see if I could transform my weird looking RD07 into an adventure bike with suspension to match.

    Mike and I would both be riding Africa Twins out there ! The G8 would be staying at home.
    #4
  5. WarLlama

    WarLlama belligerent cameloid

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    :lurk
    #5
  6. Ridesolo

    Ridesolo cereal lurker

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    I'm in :wink:.
    #6
  7. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    I have never undertaken such a major project with a bike, but over many emails and phone calls between myself & the UK’s very own AT expert Jonathan at Rugged Roads ( Inmate Stormforce) , I was assured I could do it. I wasn’t so sure myself , especially as we were working with such a short time span. Anyway I bit the bullet and started ordering and ordering. :evil

    Whilst I was waiting I started stripping the bike down............

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    Mechanics Assistant Zola

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    I found quite a few snapped bolts in the frame that I had to deal with at this stage. The frame itself was in a really clean condition.

    Fortunatly most of the OEM parts arrived fairly quickly so I could start changing out bearings and seals on the swingarm and linkage.

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    7 cm was added to the length of the kick stand due to the increased height from the new suspension. I also added a wing to allow me to easiy lick it up and down (Thanks for that tip Beemer Boy). This was then sent away to Java for powder coating along with the rear hub and a few other parts.

    Over the months of the build , with what seemed like daily phone calls, encouragement, patience and support from Jonathan, the bike slowly transformed , as parts slowly arrived from all over the world.

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    Supplied by Rugged Roads, UK

    **2005 KTM 450 EXC WP forks with custom Slavens 0.58 springs
    **2004 KTM 640 Adventure Triple Clamps & bar clamps
    **Rugged Roads Africa Twin Steering Stem for KTM Fork Conversion
    **Nitron PRO Rear Shock
    **Boano Carbon Fibre Rallye Fairing wth Lights
    **Koso Multifunction Digital Speedo w. Oil temp adaptor
    **Remus Revolution Exhaust
    **Rear Excel 17’ x 3.5 rear rim & stainless spokes
    **Low Fender from KTM 990 ADV (Second)
    **Rugged Roads Crash Bars
    **Rugged Roads Guards - Chain, engine, oil cooler , headlight & exhaust.
    **Supersprox 46 tooth rear sprocket.
    **Facet Fuel Pump (replacing the notoriously unreliable OEM fuel pump)

    From Other Vendors :

    **Touratech Single Sports seat (UK)
    **Osram Night Breaker H4 bulbs (UK)
    **LED indicator kit (Singapore)
    **Rox 2” Risers (US)
    **Pro Taper Pastrana FMX / ATV Bend Bars (UK)
    **Vibranators (US)
    **SHINDENGEN MOSFET FH020AA REGULATOR/RECTIFIER KIT (US) (replacing the notoriously unreliable OEM rectifier)
    **Continental TKC 80 150 x 70 x 17’ rear tyre (Singapore)
    **Michelin T63 90 x 90 x 21’ Front tyre (Singapore)
    **Kenda Heavy Duty tubes (Singapore)
    **DID 525VM2 124 link chain (Singapore)
    **Rear Brake Disc (Greece)
    **RD04 OEM (Secondhand) Folding Brake Lever (Ireland)
    **Pivot Pegs (US)
    **Tapered Steering Head Bearings (US)
    ** Neduro's Adventure Mirrors (US)
    ** Acerbis Rallye Handguards (US)
    **Scotts Oiler (Singapore)
    ** Honda OEM parts – Bearings & seals (wheels, swingarm, linkage), Main Fuse,Fuel relay, 15 tooth front sprocket, fuel filter, air filter, cables & misc other OEM bits and pieces (Singapore)
    **12V DIN / Hella Power Socket Kit (UK)
    **Recessed 12V Power Socket (UK)
    **Bosch Twin Car Horns (Indonesia)
    **Oil Filter (US)
    **Garmin Rugged Mount for Garmin Montana (UK)

    I cannibalized my dusty KTM 400 EXC for its 21’ Excel wheel as well as the front brake lever and caliper. Fortunatly I also had a supermoto conversion on hand with an oversized front disc so this was used as well.

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    #7
  8. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Bali, Indonesia
    April passed and I was still trying to get my head around the maze of wiring that needed connecting for the Koso.

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    I was now feeling real pressure to finish due to family commitments that we both had during the summer. We had to leave by the end of May or the trip was going to have to be postponed until later in the year.

    I finished the Koso wiring and all the other electrics on the bike not quite believing that I had actually managed to do it all and that everything seemed to be working as it it should. Bloody amazing and quite satisfying :clap

    Then the panels & fairing returned from the paint shop here in Bali. The color scheme was based on a Boano Rallye bike . The boys here did a really great job.

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    I was nearly done.

    Mike had also made a few improvements to his RD04. He rides his bike every day for work so he had less time and inclanation to upgrade things that were in his words “not broke”.

    He did however upgrade the forks with Yacougar progressive springs and added a few guards from Jonathan.

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    Mike may chip in with any other additions he made to his bike as I can’t recall them all myself, probably due to all the bottles of red wine he bought round to my workshop when he wanted to work on his bike and help on mine. :freaky
    #8
  9. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Not so much winching of bikes and 4WD's this time around but theres still some novel stories of bike extraction to come. Stay tuned :lol3

    Cheers
    #9
  10. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Finally there was nothing left lying around to bolt on or solder :D

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    We did a few test rides with both bikes locally. I was blown away with the handling and how light the bike felt on the ashphalt compared to when I originally bought it . All of the testimonies about the fork conversion were correct. It did transfor the bike.
    The Remus also seemed to give the bike a few more horses . I was now itching to get the bike dirty over in Flores.
    Mike was not so happy with his forks. He described them to be "wallowing through the stroke ". We decided we would try to sort them out once we were on the road.

    The bikes outside one of of our local watering holes after our final test ride.

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    #10
  11. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster

    Joined:
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    As we live on Bali before the bikes leave on their journey they have to be blessed and cleansed. Mrs Induro performs a Balinese ceremony for the bikes and riders for a safe journey.

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    In our best sarongs and udengs. Incense , holy water, rice, flowers and woven palm fronds as offerrings to the Gods are attached and scattered over the bikes.

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    The next day we drive the bikes down the hill to Denpasar to the trucking company where they are packed up as best we can, with shredded paper, bubble wrap, rice sacks and corrogated cardboard. We have no idea what will be thrown on top of them during their journey over to Bima, so want them to be in one piece when we pick them up.

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    It will take 5 days for the truck to get to Sumbawa.

    We're finally out of here !! :clap
    #11
  12. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    The flight from Bali which I have done on a few occasions, is spectacular, passing Rinjani & Tambora volcano’s on Lombok & Sumbawa . On this flight we are sitting in the middle of the plane and unfortunatly the Indonesian passengers prefer to snooze and close the blinds, not look out of the windows at the amazing views , so bang goes the opportunities for photos from the plane.

    But anyway for the record heres Rinjani

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    and Tambora

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    In 1815 Tambora had a height of 4,300 m (14,100 ft) above sea level and was perhaps the highest peak in Indonesia. It then had a cataclysmic eruption which blew over 2 km off the top of the mountain, killing up to 100,000 people. It was the biggest explosion in recorded history and the "Bang" was heard 2000 km way in Sumatra. :eek1
    Its effects were felt all over the world and 1816 was known as the year without summer in both Northern Europe and the US due to the fallout of ash. The crater is over 7km in diameter !! Its a pretty awesome sight on a clear day.
    Mike and I rode around the whole Tambora peninsula a few years ago. It was 2 days of fantastic riding through savannah and luna type landscapes. One day I'll get around to finishing the RR from that trip :deal

    Bima airport.

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    Arriving and departing passengers are greeted by friends and family from a balcony as they walk into or out of the airport terminal , to or from the runway and the plane. We were fairly taken aback on our last visit, to see departing passengers on our flight, who had already passed security checks, being thrown bits an pieces from this "viewing gallery" before getting on the plane. :huh

    Once inside the terminal, we have to register with the police, before exiting the airport, where we are stampeded by touts trying to get us to take transport into town. We eventually find out that there is an official taxi counter inside the airport hidden away in a corner, so we buy ourselves an official taxi ticket and emerge waving it much to the dissapointment of the rowdy crowd of touts.

    Bima town is only about 20 minutes away and to be frank by what we;ve seen its a bit of a dump. After driving around in circles for a while, our driver finds the warehouse on the outskirts of town where we're to pick up the bikes.

    Unfortunately the bikes have not arrived. The office calls the truck and its about an hour outside town dropping off some cargo somewhere. At least it's not a day away !

    We give the warehouse manager a few of our expedition stickers whilst we wait. His friends then turn up and also want a few for their bikes.

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    It takes a while but the truck does finally turn up 2 hours later. :clap:clap

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    The truck driver and his mates decide they don’t want to manhandle the bikes off the back of the truck so drive down the road and finds a suitable ramp to offload.

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    We are soon loaded up and ready to ride.

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    Its great to be on the road at last after all the months of trip preparation and the bike is feeling pretty good. :ricky
    We speed along a really fun twisty road through the hills before dropping down to the port at Sape.

    We enter the port to find a load of trucks parked up and no signs of a ferry. I ask around and discover that the information we had been given in Bima was not correct and that there were not 2 ferry’s a day but in fact only one, and that the next departure was 9 am tomorrow. Damn. :bluduh

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    Whilst we are chatting with the locals, a western guy pulls up on a moped with a surfboard strapped to the side of the bike. Before finding a place to stay, we decide to eat at a nearby food stall and he joins us.
    It turns out he’s from Germany, and riding round on a moped looking for surf. He can't speak a word of Indonesian so kudos to him.
    There’s a mediocre looking “hotel “and a few grotty looking losmen (guesthouses) immediately outside the gates of the port and its not too hard to decide on the hotel.

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    Our new German friend tags along but he’s obviously on a very tight budget and we leave him bargaining the price of a room at the front desk.
    The front of the hotel is fairly modern, but at the back it’s much more traditional and has a wooden floor and a small deck overlooking the mangroves.

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    We sit and drink a few rums for several hours watching the sun set, as fisherman come and go.

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    Whilst we’re sitting there the hotel owners daughter come out to say hello.

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    Later we wander out on to the street to eat and learn the ferry has docked. Its apparenty just arrived from another island to the south - Sumba , stuffed full of banana’s. Its going to take all night to unload, but we’re told that loading of vehicles will commence at 8 in the morning.

    It seems tomorrow we’ll literally be on the Banana Boat to Labuanbajo in Flores :lol3
    #12
  13. RDT953

    RDT953 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Oddometer:
    288
    Location:
    Kobe Japan
    Really looking forward to seeing the rest of this RR.:lurk
    #13
  14. NSFW

    NSFW ktm's "the tourist"

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Burbank CA
    hi monty. good start.

    nice job on the forks and the rest of the build up.

    subscribed.

    joel
    #14
  15. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster

    Joined:
    May 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
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    Thanks !
    #15
  16. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster

    Joined:
    May 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Bali, Indonesia
    Thanks Joel.

    Sorry it wasn't your 640 forks that ended up on the bike mate. Jonathan found the EXC forks for me and this meant we only had to get the custom springs from Slavens in the US before sending them off to a suspension tuner in the UK.
    #16
  17. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
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    988
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    IN! I'm blown away by just the first page. Looking forward to the rest of it!
    #17
  18. zeninnbali

    zeninnbali n00b

    Joined:
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    3
    Superb start Monty!
    #18
  19. KTMInduro

    KTMInduro Off Road Montster

    Joined:
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    Up bright and early I begin the first slow and tedious repack of my gear. I realize that having this much gear on the bike is going to be a pain in the arse . How many times have I read “Less is More” over the years ?? I decide that in the next week I'll have to jetison some of the weight and quantity.

    We buy our tickets and enter the port. The cost is double the cost of a moped – about 30 bucks per bike. The first trucks are rolling down the pier to the banana boat which actually doesn’t look too bad at all. We are waved over to one side by one of the officials and after some talk on a 2 way radio he tells Mike to move down the pier. I start my engine but he holds up his arms and tells me to stay put.

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    Mike drives off and he is then followed by trucks, cars, wheel barrows of cabbages , mopeds, more trucks, more wheelbarrows of cabbages and more cars & pedestrians.

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    25 minutes later I’m still sitting on my bloody bike and this guy is still telling me to wait.

    I’m getting really frustrated and start wondering if the ferry will fill up leaving me with no choice but to catch the next one tomorrow !

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    Another port official wanders over and starts asking about my bike. I’m thinking to myself “”here we go…..” , but he turns out to be pretty knowedgable about the Dakar history of the AT and bikes in general. Turns out he rides offroad (on a road bike) with a group of friends in Bima and it also turns out we have a few mutual riding friends in Lombok. Our little chat over, he “overrules” his mate and I’m heading on board. :rayof

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    I’m now right at the back of the ferry and am directed to park squeezed up beside a truck and baskets of those bloody cabbages.. The guys controlling the parking seem pissed I don’t have a centre stand and throw me a rope and leave Mike and me to tie down my bike as best we can.

    Mike tells me whilst waiting for me, he had spotted a truck driver with some "Eagles". I don't think he had his glasses on :rofl:rofl:rofl

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    Upstairs in the passenger area there’s a huge crowded area of seats and benches overflowing with locals and their mountains of belongings.

    Somebody points us towards a door marked VIP. Inside is an air conditioned cabin with half a dozen rows of semi broken bucket seats in front of an flat screen TV blaring out an Indonesian soap.

    There's a few other people in here already including our German friend from yesterday, 3 groups of western backpackers and a few Indonesians.
    A member of the crew comes round and charges us 30,000 rupiah a head ( US$3) for the privelage of sitting in here for the 8 hour crossing. The German bloke asks me to lend him 20,000 stating he couldn’t find an ATM in time to catch the boat so was caught short. He promises to pay me back as soon as we arrive in Flores................

    One of the backpackers doesn’t understand the VIP surcharge but when he finally gets it, he storms out into the deluge of humanity outside, much to our amusement. Seems a lot of these travelers in Indonesia are skint and travelling on a shoestring.

    Kids aged something between 8 to 11 year old swarm into the cabin selling water , rice & chicken parcels and other essential bits for creating an Indonesian Ferry Survival Kit. “ Mister,Mister you buy water, you buy chicken ……… Mister, Mister...........“

    After having a right laugh negotiating a girl down in the price of her bottled water in Bahasa, I then buy it at the hugely inflated price she started with, much to her surprise. This obviously made her day as she was grinning from ear to ear as the crew member came back in and shooed them all off the boat.

    We are sailing. :clap

    An hour into the journey and we’re both getting sick of the Indo soap opera, the grumblings in Italian from the nearest backpacking couple and the smell of the toilet in the corner of the cabin. :sick

    Just outside is a ladder with lots of neat rows of shoes lined across its base. We climb up into the crews quarters. There's a fake "wooden" vinyl floor and this whole level is obviously fairly well managed as it all looks very clean. We creep along a corridor, opening a door outside onto a helicoptor deck. Our banana boat has a helipad ?? Cool !

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    Its really hot out here so we head to an area directly below the window of the bridge that has breeze, shade and forward views of Komodo island and the rugged outline of Flores coming towards us on the distant horizon.
    Its awesome, although there does seem to be a lot of dark rain clouds over the mountains in Flores which doesn't look too good. Its supposed to be the bloody dry season after all. :huh

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    We nervously wave at our Captain and his crew on the bridge, none of whom seem the least bit bothered that we’ve invaded their space.
    In fact there’s a small group of lads from Bima already up here, playing chess, Most of them are Rasta’s with dredlocks , on their way to hang out in Labuanbajo for a few days with the hope of apparently getting lucky with a few lonely western girls on diving holidays. :crash
    Later we are to find that Bob Marley is still very much alive in Flores.

    I lie down and snooze for most of the way . The ocean is like a mill pond. I drift off with the sounds of the ocean beating against the bow of the ferry .

    I wake up to find our German friend seems to have found his way up here too.

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    Slowly Labuanbajo comes into view.

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    And we rolled off onto the island of Flores.

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    Coming up on Day 3 - mud, dropped bikes, moonshine and a broken bone. :eek1
    #19
  20. BobPS

    BobPS Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    I'm in. Can't wait to read the rest of the report :lurk
    #20