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Above it All in Lombok

It Takes a Great Pilot to Land on a Mountain Top. Having a Float Plane Also Helps.

(3/25/2002) At 3,726 meters in height, Lombok's Mt. Rinjani is the second highest elevation in Indonesia after Irian Jaya. Nowhere else in the vast archipelago is the name "ring of fire" more aptly demonstrated than from atop this craggy mountain where, on a clear day, you can see Bali's Mt. Agung to the west and Sumbawa's Mt. Tambora to the east. The privileged few who have seen this sight have typically only managed to do so after organizing a small village or porters to carry water, food, tents and the exhausted up and down of this arduous 2 to 3 day mountain hike.

Huff, puff, I think I can, I think I can.

Now, those wanting to visit Lombok's mountain top can save their gasps for the breathtaking scenery, thanks to the introduction into service of a luxurious 8 passenger Cessna Caravan 208 Floatplane based in nearby Bali and operated by Travira Air. Flown by teams of experienced expatriate and Indonesian pilots, the plane flies over the jungle canopies of north Lombok, then circles the rugged mountain top before descending into the wide crater to circle a still steaming volcanic cone and, conditions permitting, land in Lake "Segera Anak." Surprisingly rich in vegetation and bird life, "Segera Anak's" volcanic lake is roughly 6 by 8 kilometers and an easy landing for the Travira Floatplane.

Carp and tilapia live in the lake where they co-mingle with the small gas bubbles floating to the surface, quiet testimony that the lake itself is a volcanic crater. A setting that is strikingly beautiful and surrealistic, local Lombok Sasak and visiting Balinese pilgrims make regular pilgrimages climb to the lake to throw offerings into the lake, believed to be home to powerful spirits.

After touchdown, the plane's pilot maneuvers the plane near a shore, before cutting the engine and manning canoe paddles that bring the plane to shore. Passengers are able to step ashore and explore the amazingly varied range of flora that have established themselves on the steep banks of the caldera. Once securely tied to shore, the plane's baggage compartment opens to reveal a lavish rattan picnic basket replete with a sumptuous breakfast or luncheon menu, depending on the time of your visit.

Following a quick swim in the crater or a walk around its rocky edges, the Caravan gets airborne again for the climb out of the crater and down the deep green ravines and gorges of Mt. Rinjani and across the narrow Lombok straits for a landing in Bali.

Bali Discovery Tours is the General Sales Agent of Travira Air at telephone ++62-361-286283 or facsimile ++62-361-286284.

 

More information: http://www.balidiscovery.com/tickets/activity.asp?Id=357