Dragon Safari

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August 13th 2008
Published: September 10th 2008
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You cannot come to this part of Indonesia and not go to see the famous Komodo Dragons. This is the only part of the world that they exist and so they are quite rare.

The boat ride to the island of Rinca was two hours long. There were no seats in the boat just the floor or the edge of the boat to sit on, fortunately there were only four of us so we were able to spread out, lie down ect. The sea was as calm as a millpond luckily for us as this part of the world is known for it’s treacherous seas. Once again, just like when we were leaving Kapas a large pod of dolphins came to entertain us on our journey.

When we arrived on the island we were met by a guide who led us to the National Park Office to pay our extortionate entrance fee, sign a disclaimer and meet our personal guide to go on the Dragon Hunt.

The guide was armed only with a long forked stick. These lizards can run at 18km an hour and can kill with one bite. Their mouths are so full of bacteria that their victims die a long lingering death due to infection. If a human was unfortunate enough to get bitten, the nearest hospital that can offer treatment is at Denpasar on Bail. Not a good prospect as I sea and overland travel is very slow and as I said before all flights are usually all booked out for at least a week in advance. We were informed that as long as we stayed close to the guide the dragons would not bother us. So, we wondered, why did we have to sign a disclaimer?!

The first two we saw were over 3 metres long lazing around near the huts in the island's only resort, the guide told us they were the biggest in the national park and probably the oldest, they looked very docile but it was midday and very hot, not sure I'd have wanted to be so close come dusk!

The next one we saw was a female lying close to some large holes in the ground. Only one hole or 'nest' is used by the female to lay her 10-15 eggs. The other holes are to confuse would-be predators. As we stood watching, a juvenile dragon
Mother Guarding her NestMother Guarding her NestMother Guarding her Nest

A few minutes after this photo she sensed the juvunile dragon and chased it away in a cloud of dust
came lumbering up towards the female’s nest of eggs. As it got closer the female sensed it and suddenly launched herself at the smaller dragon chasing it for some metres sending clouds of dust into the air. The smaller dragon escaped and the female came lumbering back to her nest. We spotted a few more dragons on the hour-long walk but they were all pretty docile, luckily, I’m not too sure how much protection the guide's stick would have been!

When we arrived back at the headquarters we thanked the guide and set of back to the boat on our own. That's when Simona spotted it, a fairly big dragon walking around only metres from the pathway! Where was the guide when you needed him? Luckily we’re all still alive to tell the tale!

On the boat ride back to Flores we stopped off at Bidadari Island, renowned for good Snorkelling but by this time the sky was full of dark grey clouds. The snorkelling wasn’t as good as it could have been and the water had started to get a bit cool, it’s a pity really as the coral looked as if it would have been really good with some sun shining through the water to light up the colours.

Back in the town the heavens opened turning the scruffy main street into a mud bath, add this to the fact that our rooms were visited during the night by mice or rats and you will understand why we are looking forward to some civilized living on the Gili Islands. From landing on Flores a week ago we have taken only 1 shower! And of course it was cold water.

Before reaching the Gili Islands, however, we have an epic journey to endure, an eight hour ferry crossing to Sumbawa, followed by a ten hour bus ride across Sumbawa, two and a half hour ferry to Lombok and a bus ride to Mataram. From there we will need to find a public bus to the port of Bangsal followed by another boat to the Gili islands.

Let’s hope it will all be worth it!

Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


Our Guide Complete With Forked StickOur Guide Complete With Forked Stick
Our Guide Complete With Forked Stick

Not sure how much help it would be if a dragon decided to attack
Now you see itNow you see it
Now you see it

Baby dragon camouflaged in the dirt
Eaten by Dragons !Eaten by Dragons !
Eaten by Dragons !

These are the skulls found around the island by the rangers, everything else has been eaten including bones!
Noisey Boat Back to Flores.Noisey Boat Back to Flores.
Noisey Boat Back to Flores.

Despite the noise Simona crashed out on deck after a hard day's safari.
Petrol Stop (On the way Back)Petrol Stop (On the way Back)
Petrol Stop (On the way Back)

Unfortunatly it didn't make the boat run any quieter
 Sharks!? ( No,a Pod of Dolfins)  Sharks!? ( No,a Pod of Dolfins)
Sharks!? ( No,a Pod of Dolfins)

Look closly, they are there!
Back in LabuanbajaoBack in Labuanbajao
Back in Labuanbajao

Minutes before the rain poured down.

11th September 2008

That,s big!
3 metres! That,s really big!

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