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Clare’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 22 Jul 2008

Location: Singapore

MapWell it was a scramble but I made it to Singapore and though I've only been here for about 29 hours, I've had a really good time. I only really had a day in which to get about and see the place but I stayed in little India, walked around Chinatown with the brilliant guys from www.singaporewalks.com and lunched on Dim Sum, visited the Asian Civilisation museum, wandered along the quays and finished up with a Singapore Sling and monkey nuts in the Long Bar at Raffles. I know I only had a short time here but I've really enjoyed myself and realy liked the combinations of old and new you see in Singapore. Kuala Lumpur is the place I've been thats most similar, but Singapore is a nicer, more polished version. Also you seen so many westerners on the streets in Singapore that it might as well be a Western city, so it was nice to be somewhere that it was not immediately obvious I was a tourist.

The journey here turned out to be a bit of a stress as the dive boat battled a combination of wind, current and waves to get back to Trawangan on the last day of the trip - we were meant to get back at 4pm and rolled in at just gone midnight leaving me just 4 hours sleep before I had to get up to transfer off the island back to Lombok and my flight to Bali and then onto Singapore... needless to say when I made it to my hostel last night I didn't really move much from there till this morning.

The trip to Komodo was however brilliant. The diving was simply amazing with every single one better than any dive I've ever done before and all on pristine reefs where we had the site to ourselves on almost every occasion. There was only myself and another couple on the boat so we had a compact little group of 5 of us diving with the two Guides as well. Komodo is well known for its strong currents which bring in Manta & Eagle Rays, Sharks and Dolphins to feed where the cold and warm waters meet, but the week we were there everything was pretty slack, this meant the diving was bit less strenuous and we could properly explore some sites which are usually more dificult to get around. We started with some really tranquil wall dives in Moyo National Park off the north coast of Sumbawa and moved onto Komodo Nat. Park and the Sape Strait in the latter part of the week.

Highlights were diving Batu Bolong and watching schools of thousands of Snapper twisting in the current line, Castle Rock and its stacks of Surgeonfish filling the full 20m depth of water we were in, watching four dolphins and their baby coming in to scare off the sharks and feed before heading off into the blue, and holding onto rocks in The Cauldron while three Manta Rays came in to feed in the current between the two islands. Above the water, we were buzzed by dolphins most days as we motored between dive sites and the landscape of the islands was stark - really dry and scrubby - the islands regularly catch fire so we would see pillars of smoke as me passed by them. All around are volcanos or remnants of them and we would barely see another boat all day - it was really spectacular. Sadly although we wandered around dusty Komodo island with a guide for a few hours, we didn't see any Dragons. June to August is apparently mating season and they all take off into the hills to quiet places to make the next generation... I'll just have to go to Zoo instead! I was worried that I might get a bit bored with diving three times a day and being stuck on the boat all week, but it was up there with the Tiger Reserve for being so different to anything else I'd seen before that it was completely absorbing.

We finished our week on a high with the dive where we saw the dolphins feeding - something you almost never get the chance to see when on Scuba and then started what should have been the 27 hour slog back across the Java sea to Gili Trawangan but the forces of nature were against us, the current was back on form and it took quite a lot longer to make the trip - I read alot of books! But I made it in the end and here I am in Singapore about to make the hop to Sydney, where I'll be welcomed into Carrie and Jeremy's home and have access to things like a kettle, bath, sofa and I can even cook my own food - I can't wait!