in may 1991, 21 years ago, i passed by the island of komodo
, indonesia, on a small and overloaded local ferry vessel named "kelimutu" which took me from bima, sumbawa, to labuanbajo, flores.
the trip took several hours and didn't stop at the tiny island, then already famous for it's endangered species, the komodo dragon
(varanus komodoensis), but winds were right and we passed so near to the shore of the island that we got a nose full of its nasty, foul smell.
the trip was part of a 3 months backpacking journey which i still consider one of the greatest adventures of my life; it was the first time that i left my home continent and travelled with my fiancée on a student's budget through asia. there was no internet and wikipedia then, so we solely relied on whatever local information the utterly welcoming and friendly indonesians would give us.
on august 19th this year, i am scheduled on another boat, the "s/y indo siren
", a 2-mast luxury diving yacht which will take of from bima for a 10 days diving and sailing trip around the same island of komodo. there is a scheduled visit to the island, if weather and time allows, aside of plenty of diving in the komodo national park, well known for its variety of corals, fish and currents that allegedly draw creatures like manta rays, sharks, large turtles and, if we are very lucky, whales on their feeding trips.
aside of joyful anticipation of this journey, which i have prepared in a hundred emails and plenty of online research since half a year, embedding it in a 4 weeks vacation that covers kuala lumpur in malaysia (where my wife is from), bali and singapore, i don't know what i really feel about this déjà-vu. it triggers a lot of thoughts and emotions, some revolving around "homecoming" to a place i hardly knew, some reflecting the 21 years passed between the time when these pictures were taken and now.
it also makes me feel a certain sadness about all the things i have lost while gaining 50 years of life; about the people i have met and never will see again, about places i dreamt of visiting back then and never made it to. but it confirms the theory i have, ever since my mind was formed in my protected childhood days: that every human life takes place in a narrow bandwidth of conditions, balanced around a compromise between what you want to do and what you're capable of.
please forgive me my sentimentality about this.