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La Petite Képa

June 25, 2012

Friday 8th June to Saturday 23rd June – La Petite Képa

I am going to write only this article about these 2 weeks and half spent again in Indonesia as we just went to one place where we simply chilled out and dived. We got to Bali on 8th June and slept in Kuta one night.

Then we took a plane from Bali to Kupang on the 9th June and then from Kupang to Kalabahi on Alor on the 10th June. Then a bemo, then a little boat, and here we were, in La Petite Képa.

I borrowed here the excellent maps of La Petite Képa website to give you a better idea of where it is.

Here is Indonesia, and circled in red is the Alor area.

map of indonesia

A closest look on Alor area.

Map of alor

A very good closest look to understand where La Petite Képa is exactly.

map of la petite kepa

Here is the link to the website of La Petite Képa.

http://www.la-petite-kepa.com/

On La Petite Képa, there is a small village of about 40-60 inhabitants, on one side. On the other side, there is a French couple, Anne and Cédric, and their 2 daughters Lila and Anouk, and the divers coming here like us, about 10-15 people in general. And no other tourists at all, no other businesses or hotels, nothing else!!! A little paradise!!! A world at the end of the world, undiscovered from most of the rest of the world except a few divers, still a bit wild and protected. A real treasure.

Anne and Cédric have been renting this land since 14 years now, and built some beautiful bungalows to host people, mostly divers. They speak fluent Indonesian and try to abide by the Indonesian culture as much as possible. They are known by many Indonesians in this Alor area, and are liked by people here. They hired a few Indonesian people from the island who cook and clean for them and much more and they do a really great job.

They have built 2 family bungalows and 9 other bungalows, with different styles.

bungalow

We stayed in one the closest to the sea, with no bathroom and one one floor. Still one hammock hanging there, awesome for some naps in the afternoon. Here is the gorgeous view we had of the sea when walking around.

sea

There were 4 shared toilets, quite basic. You use fresh water with the basket (called mandi) to pour on yourself and take a shower. It is only cold water, but the weather is so hot that it works out fine. You use salty water for the toilets.

bathroom

In the morning, the breakfast was ready from 6.30am onwards. We got to the kitchen, met there in the morning, had breakfast together with the others and then walked to the boat. Here is the dining room.

kitchen

The first 7 days, I still had my cold from Australia, and my ears were too bad for me to manage to dive. When you dive, you need ears that you can use to decompress while you descend and ascend. If your ears are blocked, you can’t dive as the pressure is too painful and can damage them. Annoying! So I just relaxed, chilled out, read books. They had a great library, including lots of books in French.

library

Luckily, the last 6 days I could dive every day. So, every morning, the boat departed at 7.30am and we went for 2 dives on 2 different sites and came back between 1pm and 3pm for lunch.

Here is the boat that departed every morning at 7.30am, picture taken before a night dive.

boat

Cédric and Bram, an Indonesian guy he has trained to make him a dive instructor too, were taking us every day to fantastic sites for 2 dives. Around La Petite Képa, there is Alor, and also the islands of Pura, Ternate and Pantar. Sometimes we saw dolphins travelling in groups of 15-20, cruising the ocean, and jumping out of the water a lot. So beautiful although I didn’t get that great shots as they were so quick I was more admiring them than taking photos, ahah.

dolphins

Once we saw a mola-mola (called also moon fish) jumping out of the water, but very fast. And another day, a mola-mola which had been caught by a fisherman. Poor mola-mola.

mola mola

On the last two days, we saw some whales, each alone each time. We spotted them because of the water they were sending as geysers while surfacing but they were really far away.

The afternoon, we were all exhausted, and just chilling out. Looking at the dive books to find the fishes etc we had seen underwater, taking a nap in the hammock, reading books, and sometimes going snorkelling right in front of our bungalows.

On the last day, I went snorkelling with a German guy, Marc, who knew exactly where to go to observe the black-tip sharks. There were 5 of them that kept cruising around. They were shy at first, but then got closer and closer, curious to see which kind of fish we were. Black-tip sharks are not dangerous at all, and it is fascinating and magic to be able to observe them underwater. We stayed in this shallow water spot where they were cruising for about 45 minutes, as quiet as possible, not moving, breathing the slowest possible to not scare them. I was really really cold, continuously shaking, but couldn’t get out of the water as it was so magic. I wish I had known about that spot immediately. I think I would have spent all my afternoons there, every day!

Marc had a cool underwater camera. Here is a shot he took on which you can see 4 of the black tip sharks at the same time.

4 black tips

Photo Copyright: Marc Witte

Here is a picture of one from closer.

black tip

Photo Copyright: Marc Witte

In the evening, the diner was served every day around 7.30pm. We were gathering all together in the kitchen and ate and then stayed around a bit, talking, laughing, playing cards. We met a lot of different people during these two weeks: Spanish, American, Australians, Germans, French, Swiss…

Then around 9pm, people were usually starting going to bed, little by little.

And that was it for 2 weeks and half! I had travelled so much and so fast almost non-stop since end of January when Neringa had come to join me on my trip, that I really needed a rest, a real holiday.

I found Western Australia so beautiful that when still there, I had decided to go next to the East Coast to discover this beautiful part of Australia too, including the work culture. As soon as I had arrived in Bali, I had applied for a working holiday visa that I got granted the next day. Amazingly fast. It is really a chance to be born in a country which gives you such an opportunity like this, and I was conscious of that that day more than ever. I had also looked for tickets and bought a flight for the 25th June from Bali to Gold Coast for 340 dollars. Any plane after that date was more than 400 dollars, so the prices determined the date I booked.

Sunday 24th June – From La Petite Képa to Bali

I left La Petite Képa. Saying good-bye to Michael was hard and felt weird. Again, as with Anais, Neringa, Aude and my dad, we had travelled a long time together, discovered a lot of things together every day and suddenly this was coming to an end. And as usual, I felt we could have done more, shared more, and wait, I forgot to tell you this and that, and we forgot to do this and that together. I felt a bit down that day, although luckily I was leaving the island with Olivier and Anne, a French couple with who I had dived who were really cool and interesting. They are dive instructors currently living in the Adaman Sea, and before that were working 2 years in the Maldives for example! We took the plane together at 9.25am with Merpati going to Kupang.

Merpati plane

In Kupang, they took the next plane of 11am also with Merpati, going to Bali. Knowing the reputation of Merpati always being late, I had booked the plane of 1.30pm with Garuda.

While waiting for that plane alone, reading a book and drinking a coffee outside, feeling a bit strange and lost with this sudden change, three dolphins came to play with me and cheer me up. It was three guys, Charlie, an American, and Nathan and Rob two Australians. Three surfers who had arrived the day before in Kupang with the idea of taking a ferry to the nearby island of Rote to go surfing there, but were stranded because the ferries were cancelled for a few days as the sea was rough. I call them dolphins because that’s exactly the effect they had on me. They were really cool.

We sat there and we played funny games. One game was a telepathy game. One guy leaves and the other ones choose an object they will think of. The guy comes back and one of the others asks “Do you think the object I am thinking of is…xxx?” and the guy needs to guess from the tone of voice, the body language, etc, if that’s the correct object or not. And the funny thing is that it actually worked, which was just weird. Or maybe they do have some tricks to make it work that they didn’t share with me and I am just really naïve ahahahah. But whatever, that was really a cool game and we had fun.

Another cool game was the “wrong answer” game. I ask you a question, for example “In which city are we now?” or “Which colour is that?” or “How many questions did I ask you already?” etc and you always have to answer a wrong answer. The funny thing is that there is always one point where you spontaneously can’t control yourself and you give a right answer! Quite cool game, we had a good laugh.

When we arrived in Bali, they went to Kuta which was an easier spot for them to go surfing, while I went to Sanur. There, I met again with Olivier and Anne. In the evening we went for a delicious pizza.

pizza

Monday 25th June – Bali, going to Brisbane

Last day in Bali, did some quick shopping, and said good-bye to Anne and Olivier.

And there I was, in the plane of 5pm to Kuala Lumpur first.

Air Asia

I got there at 7.25pm. I met in the queue of the transfer area Bianca, an Australian girl from Melbourne who at 23 years old had already lived in Mexico, Indonesia, Hawai, and was really interesting and cool! Then I was in the plane to Brisbane at 9pm. My first neighbour was a young Brazilian guy who had flown to Kuala Lumpur from Saigon, coming back from 48 days quick discovery of South-East Asia and finishing now his year-off Brazil that he had spent mostly in Australia. My other neighbour was a Khmer guy from Phnom Penh who was going to Australia for a month to work with Australians about his NGO for orphan children.

And here we were soon, arriving in Brisbane on the 26th June, at 7.25am!

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