3 June 2012
Ferry from Sumbawa to Labuan Bajo, Flores
There is a once a day 9 hour ferry from the tip of Sumbawa to Labuan Bajo on Flores. It feels great to be pressing deeper and deeper in to off the beaten track Indonesia.
On the ferry we met a super upbeat Swiss guy that was riding a scooter from Bali to Timor. He was a mechanical engineer and good company. Also ran in to him later in opposite directions futher on in Flores. By super upbeat I mean he was robbed 5 times at knife and gun point in recent travels (in South America) but was understanding of the incidents. "I know they didn't really want to hurt me, they were just poor and needed the money". That's not quite my view but I do try to learn something from people wo can remain positive in the face of negative events.
This ferry was pretty cool, had a colorful kids play area on the top deck. We settled in for a day of sleep and reading.
In spected the life rafts (at the edge of the top deck) and wandered what would happen if I fell overboard. Would they stop?
My question was soon answered as a few people started to shout in alarm. At first I thought it was a fight but it ended up being that someone had fallen off the Ferry. I don't know how you manage to do that and never did find out.
Once someone has gone in to the water the thing to do is to KEEP YOUR EYES ON THEM and shout for others. Once you take your eyes off they can be impossible to find again. Amazing how quickly a small dark dot disappears in to the vast of the ocean.
After much uproar, some circling, and a few failed life buoy toss attempts, the guy was rescued. It took quite some time and we lost sight of him a few times. I really thought he might be lost. Thank god!
This is right after the guy fell in. He's still pretty close to the boat but damn hard to see.
It takes the ferry quite some time to stop and turn and by that point it was really hard to tell where the guy was at.
Even with a 14x zoom on the camera he's hard to spot. We missed him on the first three passes but managed pick up on the fourth.
The overboardee was too panicked to grab the life buoy himself so someone went in to help.
Rescue dude was a super powerful swimmer. Amazed at his speed.
Finally getting back on the boat. There is no way to climb back on the boat from the water line so something had to be improvised.
Whenever I see "safety first" written in Indoesia it's always in English!
Colorful top deck.
Trip started with the garden packed around my bike but by the time we rode off there was cabbage and other greens stuck in the luggage rack and everywhere else.