Flores: From Maumere to Komodo
As the propeller plane flew over the eastern part of the island of Sumbawa – Flores’ big neighbor to the west – Mount Sangeang Api emerged from the Flores Sea, puffing grey smoke from its lava dome. Two weeks earlier the volcano erupted and spewed volcanic ash to the sky which then traveled eastward, forcing the closure of the Komodo National Park in the western fringes of Flores and canceling flights to and from Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory.
Minutes later the plane made its last sharp turn towards Maumere with the view of rugged mountain ridges hugging the blue Maumere Gulf, while the towering hills and mountains of Pulau Besar – literally ‘big island’ – across the gulf slowly disappeared from sight. The airport was small and later we learned from our local guide and driver that our flight was the last one arriving to Maumere…
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