travel / landscapes

The Eye

Nick looking at the sardines while the sardines moved away from the bubbles to create an ‘eye’.

Under cover

In the movie 300, Leonidas said, ‘we will fight in the shade’. I was reminded of that quote at this very moment. All of sudden, the lights went out, the color of the water turned from greenish blue to a beautiful deep blue filled with millions of glowing blue sardines. Part of me marveled at how all these happened in a split second and the other part frantically changing the settings on the camera to compensate for the sudden change in exposure.

A school of yellowtails dwarfed by millions of sardines along the coast of Moalboal as Garry, our guide, looks on.

In the eye of the sardines

Millions of them. Now, I can’t wait to go back again. Great diving, great freediving.

Cloud camping

At about 2000m above sea level, climbers call it a day, camping right at the edge of the crater. Some on their way up to the summit while some on their way down the mountain, very often exchanging words of encouragement.

The golden hour at Mount Rinjani

A lone hiker taking a break while the light from the sun broke into a dance routine with the fast moving clouds.

Miracle workers of Mount Rinjani

The lone porter along the crater of the Mount Rinjani. 

Without them, the climb would not even have made it past day 1. They are the miracle workers of Mount Rinjani. Each porter carries up to 30Kg worth of supplies on their shoulders up the mountains, very often reaching the check points way earlier than their city dwelling customers. They zipped up and down the mountain with such speed and ease it made me feel useless. By the time we caught up with them at our resting areas, they would  have already set up our tents, makeshift toilets and halfway through cooking our meals. I can’t help but feel amazed everytime a porter overtakes us (which happens all the time) effortlessly. While I struggle up some of the steeper parts of the trail in fours, they simply stepped up, hands free, in slippers and sometimes barefooted. The equally amazing guides started out as porters when they were younger too.

Looking back

As we moved up and down the slopes around Mount Rinjani, scenes like that kept appearing around us everytime we looked back. Before the trek, Macho, our guide, told us that he will tell us a method to trek up the summit. During the course of the trek, we all forgot about it and didn’t ask. On our 3rd day down the mountains, I asked him, what was it that he was supposed to tell us. He said, ‘when you trek up, do not look up. Instead, look back.’ The whole idea was so that you look at what you have achieved to motivate yourself rather than look at the path in front, which I agree, did not do anything positive to my morale. It’s always so near yet so far. Simple theory, but so effective.

The ascent

My alarm woke me up at 130am in the morning. Feeling tired and excited at the same time, I stuck my head out of the tent and saw the milky way on the other side of the sky and lights from head lamps trickling up the slopes beside it. This was it.