For the next few days of our three month ‘avoiding the British winter’ adventure we board the good ship Alexa and take to the high seas and the Komodo National Park. This is easily reached on an hour-long flight from Bali east to Labuan Bajo.
This protected wilderness is a fabulous spot to go snorkelling and diving as the corals here still sport their glorious Technicolor as they have not been bleached out. Plus you get to see the unique Komodo dragons – the world’s largest and heaviest lizard!
Aye-aye Captain Alice!
My ALEXA SHORTS and a white piqué HELICOPTER TOP set a suitably nautical scene aboard this all-white phinisi, a traditional wooden boat originally used for carrying spices. Click here to download the pattern details to make some yourself. The shorts have a ribbon belt which allows for after-lunch expansion – handy as our Hungarian chef Peter keeps popping his head above deck with more delicious dishes to try. He likes to make us treats that are as colourful as the tropical fruit and fish here, with bright flavours to match. This is a dish inspired by some dragon fruit and oats and pomelo.
No cramped below-decks quarters for us – the Alexa has been kitted out from bow to stern by owner and designer Veronika Blomgren in elegant chalky whites with some tastefully chosen tribal touches reflecting the local crafts. These luxurious quarters are designed to be enjoyed just for two with a crew of seven keeping you safe and happy!
My favourite spot to enjoy some sea air is from the top-deck bed while wearing some Alice & Co silk pyjamas, of course. Click here for the pattern details.
After drifting off under the stars I wake up to an early morning cuppa before today’s adventure…
Despite a morbid fear of having my nose and mouth covered – I think it springs from the gas and air mask that failed to bring any pain relief while giving birth to my two children – I decide to take the plunge and try diving as Nico our charming French cruise director promises to hold my hand at all times. Who could resist?
I don my wet-suit, which has the bonus of an all-over Spanx effect, and Nico explains the procedure for going underwater.
He even draws me a picture to explain how I’m not going to drown!
After a couple of aborted attempts which see me spluttering and gasping to the surface like a dying goldfish I finally get the hang of it and enjoy a fabulous journey through the watery world of radiant corals and fashionista fish. I even get brave enough to venture off on my own to talk to a Hawkshead turtle.
Here’s my drawing of my new friend.
Safely back on board, and what with being so brave and all, I’m sure I deserve a treat… And look – what’s this?
Ah-ha, the mobile jewellery shop moors up alongside! All the top notch pearls from the nearby pearl farms get siphoned off to be sold in posh shopping malls around the globe, but it’s much more fun to buy the interesting knobbly ones from the floating vendor – and at a good price.
But we’re not just here to swan around enjoying ourselves – we have dragons to slay.
The weird and wild Komodo dragons are unique to just five Indonesian Islands. With their baggy skin and long, forked tongues they look like they escaped from a book of prehistoric animals. Growing up to three metres long and weighing as much as 90 kilos they eat everything and anything including each other! Their poor babies have to run and hide up trees to escape becoming a snack for mama – charming.
Indiana Alice goes dragon-hunting – don’t reckon my chances though.
I can’t quite make out if these two are locked in mortal combat or a passionate embrace.
But I think I’ll give them a wide berth anyway.
Safely back on board Alexa I enjoy a massage from Lexi, one of the multi-talented crew.
I need to look my best to show off my KOMODO TRIANGLE dress. Click here for the pattern details.
With only a single seam up the back you can whip one up in time for cocktails!
Our voyage on Alexa has managed to be both exhilarating and relaxing whether we were on dry land, on the water or under it – what more could you ask?
Now it’s time to sail off into the sunset for our next adventure on the nearby island of Sumba.
All images © nigeltisdall.com
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