After a hearty helping of fresh blueberry pancakes, we continued our northward journey to the Badas Islands. With a few hours at sea we had the opportunity to hear from our naturalist team about some of the creatures that make this archipelago so unique. Erin O’Brien brought the magnificent Komodo dragon to life, telling us a little more about this gargantuan King of the Lizards. Phil Chaon, one of our newest naturalists, followed this with an explanation of Wallace’s Line, a now invisible barrier that divides the faunas of Asia and Australia.

In the early afternoon we arrived at Pulau Mentebung — a slice of paradise that you could skip a stone across with a strong arm. We were not the first to arrive on the beach that day, as a set of tracks revealed that a hawksbill sea turtle had recently ventured up the beach to lay eggs. Unlike many of our recent arrivals, we were not met with fanfare but with a relaxed and warm hello as we strolled into the village during the languid hours of mid-afternoon. The 100 or so residents of Mentebung showed us around the brightly colored town, under the shade of coconut palms and beach almonds. Our shipboard photo experts, Dan Westergren and Fiona Wardle, gave us some valuable photo tips and helped us capture this idyllic afternoon.

On the beach we were treated to some of the finest snorkeling and most stunning reefs of our trip. We swam among neon blue corals and a kaleidoscopic array of tropical fish; time slipped away as we shared the beautiful waters with the friendly residents of the Badas Islands.

After working up an appetite on shore, we enjoyed a gourmet seven-course meal back on the ship.