Edit Blog Post
Published: August 9th 2010
So as previously stated in my last blog, after one big fucking cunt of a bastard journey I finally made it to Labuanbajo. Pretty much the epicentre for organising a trip to seeing the Komodo Dragons on either Rinca or Komodo Islands. Rinca being the closest and apparently the more easier of the islands to actually see a dragon I opted to venture there. Naturally I had to a bit of shopping around Labuanbajo to find me the best deal. Ideally if you have friends and you are in a group then you save yourself some big bucks here as you can charter a boat together and go quids in on the costs. Unfortunately I have the haphazard approach of just plain scaring people thus making it difficult to make friends so I would have to go dragon hunting on my todd. I managed to get a boat for 450,000 IDR, about 30 GBP, hardly the end the world, not bad after initial quotes started out at around 600,000 IDR. But for 450,000 IDR I don’t get supplied with snorkelling gear which as a whole suits me down to the ground because swimming’s for fags anyway.
Before coughing over my
Rupiah I had to scope out an ATM, which can sometimes be more mentally challenging than others , and when you do find one it’s always a concern as to whether or not the machine is going to accept your card OR if there’s an Indonesian in there. Trust me if there’s an Indonesian in the ATM booth be prepared to wait. I don’t really know what it is they get up to in there exactly but it’s obviously a big day out for them or something as they just take an eternity. Me I like to be in and out, no checking my balance, that’s too much of a scary prospect, just get the money and run. Alas after a good 15 minute wait for one man and his coin I was able to get my money and get on with the running, mainly the ATM’s having good aircon in them, this potentially could be the big draw.
I went back to the travel agents and coughed up my Rupiah and within half an hour I had my very own boat accompanied by a non English speaking captain. Which to be fair suited me down to the ground,
this just leads to a more suitable understanding of language barriers, and the necessity to speak mindless tosh to one another was invitingly absent. We didn’t need to talk about how terrible England were at football basically.And then off we set, in my very own chartered boat, I felt very important sat down amongst the apple green and red decor, as the boat chugged out of Labuanbajo’s harbour, very snazzy indeed.
It takes about 2 hours or so to get to Rinca and upon docking I did a little solo walk to the visitor centre, keeping my eyes peeled at all times in my unprotected state for any dragons, one would hate to get ones pecker bitten off before even making it to the actual visitor centre, the dragons apparently being able to smell flesh from some 5 kilometres away, so I was a little weary. Alas all was well, I arrived at the visitor centre with my good natured pecker intact. And within moments was greeted by the sight of a Komodo dragon just several metres away just sat...staring. A big bastard it was, nearly 2 and a half metres I’d say, and that was just the beginning,
over by the park wardens kitchen which was bound by wooden stilts just underneath the hut was a big heap of about 12 or so Komodo, drawn by the smell of the food, I was told however by the wardens that they don’t feed the dragons, they just turn up on their own accord.
I was to do a two hour trek with 2 of the park’s wardens, their real names of which escape me, but for names sake perhaps it was John and Chris or Chris and John, something mostly nothing like that I should imagine, with them they carried two hefty fork tipped sticks in which to fend off any feisty dragons. Allegedly there is a mutual understanding between park warden and dragon when the wardens carry their big sticks with them. Not common for the dragons to attack however they can most certainly kill, just recently it was discovered that their bite contains a venom that prevents the blood from clotting, this is how they deal with their larger prey such as the Water Buffalo, biting it and then sitting back and playing the waiting game as the buffalo slowly slips off its mortal coil, sometimes
taking as long as two weeks in which to do so. The dragons will pretty much feast on anything consisting of flesh including that of one another, infants spend the 1st five years of their lives hiding in trees from the bigger boys so as not to become chow. They average out between 2 to 3 metres upon maturity and can live up to around 50 years of age. Just observing them they do seem to take things very easy and don’t seem to be in any particular rush to get anywhere, in fact it could be said that they come across as lazy bastards. But then if they excel themselves on one meal then that would be enough to tie them over for a good couple of months, so what else is there to do if you’re a dragon and you don’t drink beer and you can’t play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on the Xbox 360 live, I guess you’d just mostly sit there wouldn’t you?
On the initial trek I encountered 3 Komodo Dragons, Rinca consists of roughly 1,100 of them and Komodo some 1,300. But as stated earlier the trek offered on Rinca is
more likely to produce a Komodo sighting than that of Komodo. The 1st Komodo I spotted myself amongst the scrub, mostly sitting there...staring. The 2nd one was discovered under slightly more alarming conditions, walking through some grass my guide who was ahead of me suddenly jumped backwards nearly causing me to bum him and said ‘WOAH’, and in doing so caused me to say the word ‘FUCK’, my guide literally bumping into the dragon which scuttled off to the side just a metre of two away from us, enabling an excellent photo opportunity, the dragon kindly obliging to the camera as it just sat....staring. The last sighting came as we got to the peak of a hill, the park warden seemed to know where he was going when finding this one, he went out of his way to go through some shrubbery to expose the final dragon. I asked if the dragons have specific spots that they tend to habituate to which he said no, I wasn’t too sure judging by the way he unearthed the dragon but then I guess I’m no dragon pro, just a sceptic.
It was an excellent little trek and not overly touristy, only
encountering a couple of other tourists on the island which surprised me, being peak season I expected there to be tourist scum like myself chiming about all over the gaff. A very worthwhile experience seeing these big bastards in their own habitat, if you have any intentions in seeing them and your selfish like me then it seems that now is a good time to do so before it gets to overrun with the tourist hoards.
Tot: 2.899s; Tpl: 0.048s; cc: 12; qc: 60; dbt: 0.0435s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb