Lombok and Flores photos

Well so much has happened over the past 3 weeks that I don't know really where to start.

We flew to Labuanbajo, Flores. Probably one of the hottest places on the planet. Thank god we could find a room with AC or we would never have survived. We took a 2 day, 1 night boat trip to Komodo and Rinca Islands to see the infamous Komodo Dragons. Wow...are they ever big and some of them are pretty fierce looking. We slept overnight on the deck of the boat and it was amazing. Great sunset, the water was so calm you never would have known we were on a boat and we did some great snrokelling. I saw so many different fish. It was almost as good as my scuba diving in Thailand. Then we went to a little island called Kanawa where we were literally the only guests at the resort. The accommodation left a little to be desired but the little lady in the kitchen caught us some fish at the end of the dock and whipped us up some great meals. It was a great place to be for a few days. No people, no distractions. Just the sand and the crystal blue waters.
While Deb and mom spent the day on the island I went and did some scuba diving. Two dives in 2 different locations and let me tell you...I am still buzzing from it. I don't even know how to explain it. We first went to a place called Manta point. My dive master said we would only dive here if we could see mantas from the boat, otherwise she said it would be a boring dive. Well we are approaching the dive spot and she is explaining to me and my dive buddy that the current is very strong so as soon as we get in the water we have to grab the rope or the current will take us away. My heart is starting to beat a little faster at this...after all it is only my 7th dive. At this precise moment one of the men on the boat screams...Manta. We all run to the edge of the boat and in the water below all you can see is the ginormous black shadow of a manta as it glides past. Wow. My heart was beating fast before.
We get in the water and descend...all is going good. We are under for about 10 mintes and we have seen some sting rays, lion fish, etc. When all of a sudden I look straight ahead and there is a giant manta swimming right towards me. It's wings going whoosh, whoosh, whoosh as it hurls towards me. I am screaming (with joy) into my regulator and it swims right over top of me...all 4m of wing span. I look up at its white belly as it flies overtop. Wow. I thought that was great. Then about 5 minutes later there are 2 more mantas. One stops at the cleaning station...at the edge of this drop off and all this silver fish descend on it and start cleaning it. We are in a strong current here so you have to kick pretty hard to stay at the drop off. So here I am right beside the manta on the cleaning station. I am on one side the dive master is on the other...and the manta is checking us both out...kind of wondering what we are. I have my arms extended out to the side like I am flying and I am fluttering at full speed and just hovering next to this big gorgeous beast. I don't know if I have really ever been happier.
Then when I thought it couldn't get any better it got to a point where there was a manta in every direction I looked. I lost count at 13. I think it must be mating season because they were gliding in from every direction, swirling upwards together, wings wrapped around one another. It was like a manta family reuntion...or a ballet. Unbelievable. When we finally surfaced, my dive master and I took the regulators out of our mouths and just screamed. It was awesome.