Banta Island is a spectacular cliché of deserted white sand beaches and fringing coral. Its turquoise sea-blue water shimmers with reef fish. For the first time ever, our surroundings silenced both of us.
Where is Banta Island?
Banta Island is not under the conservation protection afforded to the nearby islands in the Komodo National Park. We were careful to ensure our anchor was clear of the reef.
Along the vast northern beach, there is just one tiny patch of seabed suitable to anchor a sailboat. When we were there, we shared the entire bay with a couple of local fishing boats, and saw no-one else.
No-one lives on Banta Island, but we were told you can easily climb the foothills for fantastic views across to Flores. There are no paths. The heat was way too hot for us too handle, so Jamie used his drone to capture some breathtaking footage.
Banta’s hills are green but barren of trees, and just a few clumps of shrubs afford a little shelter among the grasslands.
Komodo’s dragons have not made it across the fierce currents to Banta, did you know they can swim? The bird life was plentiful, including eagles patrolling the hill tops. We went ashore to explore.
The anchorage reminded us of Krakatoa. But there has been no evidence of activity here for 10,000 years, unlike Krakatoa which erupted in 2017 and is still puffing away.
Banta Island is one great big caldera, with the remnants of an ancient volcano forming its backbone across the top, and its fingers to the south. We’ve been anchoring inside volcanoes for much of the last 10 years, but to be honest, it’s still always a thrill.
Just next door to Banta, with its two volcanic cones, is beautiful Sangean. One of the more active volcanoes in the Lesser Sunda Islands, its inhabitants were evacuated in 1988, and between 1512 and 2014 it’s known to have erupted at least 19 times.
With no light pollution, and clear air, the sun set behind Banta’s hills. As shadows crept up the slopes, the night sky switched on its light show, blanketing the darkness in stars.
There are loads more images in the episode, just click on the link below.
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