Thursday, 1 September 2016

Stop 9: Riung, Flores Island. August 26 - September 1st 2016

The journey from Ciendeh Bay to Riung, Flores only took us 7 hours. Once again we motored the entire way, there simply is very little wind here. Dropped anchor at 08 24.56S & 121 01.70E in about 12 meters of water. The locals here will not harass you at all. The children as inquisitive, but not in your face and all the locals seem more intrigued with us as than us with them!

Entering the anchorage is a little daunting at first and the best advice I can give you is to read your guides and have someone on the bow to watch the water change as you have two reefs to navigate in front of you that you need to dog leg through. Once inside be aware of the reef in the middle, its hard to see at full tide and in the afternoon sun. Basically we dropped anchor inline with the jetty.

The local fishing and tour boats at the jetty.
Quite a few of the rally boats stayed out at the nearest group of small islands diving, snorkeling and  having a wonderful time. But all said the anchorages where a little daunting as the water rises from extremely deep to about 20 meters, you need to ensure your anchor is set well.

We took our tender to the reefs outside (the ones you have to dog leg around) and they were quite good. Coral was ok and loads of inquisitive fish. Riung is a part of the 17 Island National Park which we wish we had of known much earlier and given ourselves much more time to go exploring.

A local shop, which sold a great array of goodies.

We spent a total of six days here leaving on the seventh day. It was a great place to stop and regroup and spend a fair bit of time off the boat and socializing with our rally mates. However, its very hot here. There is very little breeze. So keep up your fluids up here (I don't think Bintang is classified as fluid in this case,,,haha shame really because we drink so much of it!). The water was spotless and swam a lot everyday to cool down.

Police Station
There is quite a few restaurants and rather than give our opinion its fun for others to go ashore and find out for themselves. Not only that but things can literally change from the morning to the afternoon, one minute there is a cafe, next minute you turn around and its been abandoned.

We did however enjoy two cafe's in particular. One near the markets called Murah Merah. It is run & owned by Rosie, and another cafe 1/2 way up the road called - The Exotic Cafe, which made a very refreshing lime juice drink, nice and cold which was very welcome on the way back from the markets. We enjoyed the Exotic Cafe a bit more, the food never failed to be delicious. We warmed to the owner quickly. He always welcomed us with a huge smile and warm handshake. He and his family worked very hard (like most) to give us a good feed. During the day the owner here was a policeman.

Riung has one very long street as you come ashore, and most things can be found here. Its a basic place which offers bars, cafes, a place to buy data and an average market. The produce was not fabulous quality here, but some was ok.

Data shop

Another local shop.

Loads of different housing along the street which made us feel humbled. All the photos below are homes that are lived in, they are not abandoned as the image may depict. Also due to the lay of the land most of the homes we saw were built in very low lying areas. We assumed the are would flood with sea water on the spring tide.

At the time of our visit the pontoon attached to the jetty was a bit of a hazard but you've got no other choice, its the only way to get ashore. Be careful. The locals who fish all the time off the jetty and pontoon will extend their hand to assist you.

This is the step up to the jetty.

Being a remote village the wild life here was all over the place, including the local cats. The animals never seemed faze by all the activity of scooters, cars and people walking around. Often we had to walk around them! I wasn't able to photograph (due to the sun being in my face) was the water buffalo, monkeys, pigs and crabs.

Our big trip while we were here was a taxi to the hot springs bubbling up from the Ebulobo Volcano
and a visit to the Monolithic village at Bajawa in the Ngada district right under the Inerie Volcanco.
We had read that the journey can be very long and arduous, this is very true. We were gone over 14 hours! The trip up was via a road that was in very poor condition and to be honest a bit of a heart stopper on a regular basis, I often asked if should be getting out. Just to top it off we got a flat tyre in the middle of absolutely no where but incredibly just up the road was a type repair shop! It felt like the entire area came out to see what all the fuss was about.

Tyre shop.

How else do you removed the wait for a passing car and direct him to slow down and run his car over the troubled tyre.
The hot springs where interesting and as if we weren't all hot enough, we plopped ourselves into the springs with gusto and drunk Bintangs in an attempt to cool down - this didn't work. But well worth the visit it was a very pretty area.

On the way to the Monolithic village we stopped at a cafe for lunch and for the entire time we were there the ground was grumbling and shaking the whole time - the local didn't seem fussed so we continued to eat our lunch having the giggles and making silly comments about our fate.

Our guide for the day. We nicknamed him 'Curly'. 
The Monolithic Village was interesting and a little strange. The Ngada people are very content and very keen for you to buy their ikat rugs - which are all very similar. They can get a bit narky if you haggle to much which is a shame. I wished they had of had more items for sale as they make wonderful things with local plants.

We did have a great driver and guide and the day was long but well worth the experience.


Local children. They always love the camera!

Weaving her Ikat - using her toes as a loom.

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