I can hear the lapping of water on the shoreline just metres away. A gentle breeze brushes my face, the air is fresh and cool. Am I still dreaming?
No, this is what I hear every morning in the Komodos. A distant boat motor, the squawks of a flock of birds heading out to sea. And that rhythmic lapping of water on the shore that tempts to set me back to slumber. But no, I must wake and open my tent door.
I do so and before me is a wonderful site of crystal clear blue water, white sand, distant rolling hills. It is only 630 am and the sun is already warming the air. Instead of a fresh water shower I simply ease my body into the warm sea water. Fish swim around me and coral of all colours seems to dance beneath the small ripples in the water. It is not a shock to submerse yourself here in Indonesia, the warm water is gentle on the senses.
We have breakfast aboard our support boat, fruit, toast, tea and coffee. Once the crew packs up camp we hop into our kayaks (coincidentally called "Komodo" kayaks) and start paddling. Today we head due west towards a small island called Wainilu. We ease into the day. There really is no hurry out here. Our pod of kayaks cut through the water towards another little known island and another deserted beach. After about an hour of paddling, we slide our kayaks up onto that very same beach for a short rest and a spot of snorkeling.
I dive below the water and there before my eyes I see a wondrous garden of coral, all types both hard and soft and of every hue. Within this aquatic city lives every conceivable fish of every conceivable colour. Angel fish glide through deep canyons, Clown fish dart out from their anemone home, barracuda schools skim the sandy bottom, a manta ray sails above and a curious turtle plods nearby. I could spends hours here, lost in the wonderland beneath the seas. But I need to reapply the sun lotion and yet another amazing reef awaits another hours paddle from here.
Back in our kayaks we paddle on, the breeze has picked up now and the paddling a little harder. But I know it won't be long until we sidle up to the support boat for a spot of lunch, another delicious Indonesian banquet of fish and vegetable, rice and noodles.
The rest of the group hop aboard their kayaks while I have decided to miss the afternoons paddles (I really need to finish this book). So I climb up to the top deck and watch the group paddle away. It is surprising how fast they paddle away from us. The padded sun lounge calls me and I wriggle into it and open my book. But before I know it, the rhythm of the waves, the warm breeze and the lunch send me off to slumberland. How relaxed can I get. Before I know it, we have arrived at Wainilu before the kayaks.
The boat crew jump into action setting up tents, digging the hole for the toilet, setting up tables. It was amazing to watch as the crew made the beach a little home for the ensuing paddlers. That night we built a bon fire and dined beneath the stars that seemed to explode above us in amazing display of distant cosmological history. Plenty of laughs followed before retiring to my safari style tent and another night lulled to sleeping by the omnipresent lapping of water on the shoreline.
For more stories on the Komodo Kayaking trip click here to read a magazine article by Lynn Gunning.