Cruising the Komodo Islands on Silolona is an outstanding experience visiting the local villages. However first, each morning, on board Silolona, before visiting local villages, when we awoke we made our way into the main salon to start the day. We were greeted by Kadek and Victor standing by to see what eye opener we wanted ranging from Balinese coffee, espressos, cappuccino, green tea, black tea choices, and hot chocolate.
Hot baked croissants were laid out on the buffet, along with fresh butter and home made fruit jams, made from the local fruits, which varied from mango to kiwi jam and even a lime ginger jam. A selection of fresh fruits always accompanied the hot croissants. After assauging some hunger with croissants and fruit, we were offered our choice of cooked breakfasts from an extensive menu, including western choices of any type of egg, bacon, omelet, and various potato options. There were also Indonesian choices such as fried noodles, and sticky black rice pudding with coconut milk, (which was a favorite). And of course, granola and thick homemade yogurts.
After breakfast, we went into the local Komodo village to visit. Permission had to be asked of the Elder to visit, as the Elder is responsible for all in his village, including us while visiting. The children, gathered around, all wanting their picture taken. We had washable felt tipped pens and drew “tattoos” on them all, culminating in a group song sung for us, led by Nasir the Chief Carpenter on board Silolona and builder of Silolona.
“Poppa” invited us into his home and we visited sitting on the mats placed out for visitors. The typical home was up on stilts in case of Tsunami. The area under the house, in the shade, is used for daily work and home to the household animals. Up inside the house, accessed by steps onto a porch and into the main room, is a seating and living area, with sleeping areas partitioned off in the back, along with the kitchen. The kitchen had a raised wood burning fire pit, on which the main cooking is done.
Industry in the village, consisted mainly of carving beautiful replicas of Komodo Dragons in various sizes and poses, out of the local woods to sell at the Ranger Station at the National Park. Villagers also use various pearls in the area to string into necklaces, and, of course, some fish and dry fish. “Poppa” showed us his carved Dragons and the tools he used to carve with, which were all hand made. Return from the village was arranged by the villagers, who ferried us out to our tender by small dugout canoe.
I returned to Silolona for a deep tissue massage on the aft deck by Musri, who is also a ship carpenter and guest tender driver. Musri is a talented masseuse, who used local oils and with herbs and spices in his massage.
As darkness fell, we headed for “cocktail hour” in the tenders to watch the fruit bats take off for their night time hunting. Chef Bobby packed us picnic baskets with appetizers and a full selection of cocktail choices as we cruised to a mangrove cay off of the island. As dusk fell, hundreds of fruit bats with the little fox like faces, started to stir and circle. As the sun set, they whirled together in a great cloud and took off, toasted by us with our cocktails, as they set off for another night of hunting.
We then returned to an excellent dinner on board under the stars.