We stopped off at Labuan Bajo for almost two weeks in total, this was the biggest stop for Sail Komodo 2013. The town was undergoing lots of development on the sea front and promenade because the president of Indonesia was coming to town to celebrate Sail Komodo. Because of this the town was over run with government officials, army, police, tourist office people, etc,etc,etc, and was getting busier nearing the arrival date of the president.
Labuan Bajo had been undergoing development by itself for the last 3 years, almost doubling in size with shops, dive shops, restaurants and bars all being built mostly by foreigners. The town itself is incredibly dry and dusty, you don’t realise quite by how much until dusk and the cars and bikes put their headlights on, then there is almost a fog that can be seen the length of the main street thats been created by the dust. Being near to Komodo Island and Komodo National Park there are tour shops galore trying to get people to book up trips and dive shops offering mutli day trips diving in the park. We were only supposed to be in Labuan Bajo for a week but just before we were going to leave the generator turned itself off and wouldn’t restart, something had broken. The boats loss was my gain though as i managed to book onto a PADI dive course starting the next day for 4 days. A Czeck guy called Adam had offerered his help and some parts were ordered to be delivered to his boat shop.
He had lived in Indonesia for over 14 years, once living in Bali owning and running a restaurant but he lost most of that when he got divorced. He had two boats that he took divers out on and he ran his operation from a couple of units in a nearby hotel. We meet him in a local bar/restaurant where we chatted before getting to know him, he was a really nice guy who helped us out and sometimes drove us around town and took us to places to eat. The parts were ordered on a monday and would hopefully be in on the friday. The boat left to go to Komodo Island as planned but would have to return to pick up the parts later in the week which meant i had time to do the scuba diving course.
The scuda diving course was 4 days in total with the last day diving in the Komodo National Park, one of the best dive site areas. I found a company called Wicked Diving who had a good reputation and could fit me in. My dive instructor was a guy called Carl who use to live 15 miles away from me in Hove, small world !! I was the only person doing the course so I had 1-to-1 training instead of 4 or 5 people in a group. The good thing about it was there were three girls doing their dive master course so I would go out on the boat with Marilyn, Marion and Laura who would always make it a fun trip out. Out on the dives we saw blue spotted stingrays, cuttlefish, large groupers, lion fish, moray eels, all sorts of coral fish and corals. It was a great way to spend 4 days and at the end of it I was a PADI qualified diver meaning I could go on dives down to a depth of 18 meters.