The next stop after Riung was named Lingeh, Flores and promised to be an excellent place to stop for a few days of swimming and snorkeling. The anchorage was deep into a bay, well protected by a very large reef on all sides. Holding was excellent and the surrounding beauty very appealing, however, before we could even drop the hook we were set upon by heavily laden dugout canoes full of young people. They were so intent on attracting our attention that we nearly ran down a couple of them. Here again, these delicate people have no sense of the power and lack of maneuverability of a sailing yacht, and kept getting right up to the bow and stern in a robust attempt to grab hold of our gunnels while Frank is manning both the engine and bow-thruster & whilst I attempted to deploy the anchor. It was disturbing to us that they had no sense of propriety and absolutely would not back away from the boat under vigorous protests from us both. As always, it takes several minutes for us to settle in, yet, immediately we were overrun with urchins. They grabbed at the rails, trying to heave themselves up, climbed up onto the sugar scoop at the stern and persisted in competing for our attention. We fully acknowledge and appreciate that they were very excited to see us. We understand that this is a big deal for them to have half a dozen yachts descend upon their little bay – they more than likely look upon this as an early Christmas and yet they were so aggressive, asking for money and clawing at our things that we found niceties had no place here. They were literally grabbing items from our deck, as Frank would say, "No, you cannot have that!" It was more disconcerting than anything we've experienced in anchorages we've yet been in. We hoped that as darkness approached they would return home and give us some peace, but it went on into the night, and began again before daylight. AT 5 :00 AM, they were banging on our hull. Needless to say, we departed at first light – all of us.
If we had to suffer through that to appreciate the next anchorage, then it was well worth the hassle. Gili Bodo is a small island off Flores, just a few miles from Labuan Bajo (our next rally stop), and provided us beauty, peace and a little bit of entertainment. The reef here is by far the most healthy and colorful of all. We snorkeled for hours taking in the absolute beauty and variety of the corals. There were types of corals and colors we had never before seen. The fish were not large but bursting with a rainbow of colors! Neon and iridescent bright blues, oranges, reds, greens, yellows and pearly white. We felt we were snorkeling in someone's multimillion-dollar aquarium.
In the afternoon, the beach became alive with monkeys who appeared as if by magic out of the bush and would go right down to the water's edge to feed. Strangely they were very quiet – no screeching or howling – just frolicking and exploring along the beach. We could have stayed for days and days, yet we had to press on into Labuan Bajo to meet up with Northfork who were waiting for us there. So on Friday, the 31st we reluctantly left our lovely little paradise for civilization.