The Komodo Resort Story
The first time we arrived at Labuan Bajo, the natural gateway to Komodo archipelago was by sea and it was due to the sheer curiosity to meet the varans the famous Komodo’s dragons. The scanty information we had regarded only the varans: how and where to see them. We knew near to nothing about the archipelago and its environment. We didn’t expect to see the striking beauty of the place even if we had already got used to the fantastic scenery of Indonesia with its mountains sloping in the sea and there taking the shape of green beaches, vertical harsh landscape covered by thick forests and cut by rushing streams, volcanoes lakes and thousands of little islands emerging from a Safire and turquoise sea.
When we arrived it was nearly sunset. We were exhausted after ten days travelling in a fishing boat and sleeping on the rough planks of the deck, eating the fish we managed to catch, rice and veget ables which the owner of the boat and his son bartered for dried fish. We sailed along most of the North coast of Flores starting from Riung and stopping frequently to make excursions in the hinterland or snorkeling where our fishermen suggested; so e three day journey was longer and longer. The craving for a beer and a meal at a table was strong so after getting a room at the first little hotel we found we went to a local restaurant perched on the slopes of the hill commanding the harbor of L B bay from the west without noticing the spectacle around us. Sitting at the table we finally opened or eyes widely to what was in front of us from the restaurant terrace.Labuan Bajo bay framed with green and blue the thousands shapes of the sunset and an array of islands whose edges were starting to fade away. The picture by a mad painter who had too many colours in his palette.
We are lucky men- I said addressing the restaurant’s owner who had come to meet us. – Why- he said looking at me with curiosity. – I’m sorry- I answered- I’ m an incorrigible romantic and a sunset like this is not an everyday thing! – What do you mean – He said. – It is not an everyday thing a sunset like this- I repeated articulating the words clearly. – So you come from one of those places where young have the night for six months and the day for the other six. Here the sun sets every evening- he said. – I men all those colours! – I replied. – Well – he said. – It’s the usual sunset. Are you having something to drink? – We remained silent and ordered two beers.
We stopped there ten days instead of the two planned. We explored most of the archipelago. When we put on our masks we immediately wondered if the scenery was better outside or inside the water.
The following years we frequently went back to Komodo, every time my job as a merchant of ethnic goods brought me to Indonesia and gave me a few days to relax, Stefano a friend and travel companion every time he organized Adventure Trips there. Strangely enough this place became more and more appealing to us. The local people were instinctively trying to preserve their fantastic place. Their campaign against the fishing by explosives had given good results and the areas affected have today greatly improved. So has the life of wild animals; deers, wild boars, wild horses and buffalos have grown in number thanks to the campaign against poaching. The mythical varans too are having a better life. With lots of food at their disposal they have avoided a severe risk of extinction.
In May 2009, during a brief journey to the Archipelago, I happened to know that Sebayur, one of the most fascinating islands, was on sale. I was travelling with my companion intending to enjoy romantic time but that news changed everything. She watched me in disbelief when I took action to get the necessary information to start up negotiations. The idea which had rested deep down in my mind and from time to time had come out was beginning to take shape and became a precise plan.
That very evening I called Stefano to tell him the news. – Sebayur in Komodo? How much do they want? – He simply said. – It is not clear yet but I’ve got the feeling that it can be done. – I told him.
We had never talked seriously about something like that. In the past we had wondered on the possibility to give up our jobs and start a diving resort somewhere in Komodo perhaps but it was just a dream of our imagination more than a real thing. Believe it or not in that brief phone call we made up our minds. Stefano agreed and so we decided that from now on we would take the matter seriously till the end.
Today after ten years from that phone call thanks also to Daniele e Paola, two friends who joined us in the project from the start, Komodo resort has become a reality. We are sure it is a fantastic idea and, most of all, it is a project that respects the environment and is a comfortable place at the same time. This year we have worked hard and followed closely the building of Komodo Resort. We achieved many tasks and many other will be done in the future like installing photovoltaic panels for 20 KWP in 2012.
When sailing at distance from Sebayur you will hardly notice the Resort. The Island still looks wild and uninhabited; the buildings mingle with the surrounding vegetation. This camouflage makes us more proud of our task and hard work.
The awesome back grown outside the water keeps all its fascination under the water. This small plot of sea, still not completely explored, is considered unanimously one of the most beautiful depths in the world. That’s why, in late years, UNESCO has included the Komodo depths in the World Heritage Site and in Man and Biosphere Reserve.