Land of the Komodo Dragons !
Trip Start Feb 22, 2013
27Trip End Mar 21, 2013
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We boarded the tender boats to go ashore, everyone excited and a little anxious what the day would bring, especially as only 2 weeks earlier 2 rangers had been bitten by a dragon, thankfully they are recovering in hospital but you can imagine the rumours going around the ship, like Chinese whispers
Once the tender had landed we were introduced to our guide Teki and a ranger who was brandishing a rather long/large wooden stick with 2 wooden prongs, I guess to ward off any unfriendly dragon, the dragons are deceptively fast but we were assured both our guide and ranger could outrun them, but not much chance for us tourists, you couldn't even head for the nearest tree as the baby Komodo dragons live in the trees until about 2 years old for their own protection as the adult dragons, including their own mothers would eat them.
After a safety briefing from the head ranger we headed off into the bush, making sure we kept up with Teki. After about 25 minutes wilting as we walked in 35 degrees we came across a sign which said "Silence Please" we all immediately followed the instruction from Teki as 2 quite large Komodos were spotted by the waterhole. All you could hear was the clicking of camera shutters whilst about 5 rangers were on guard watching the komodo's every move. They were very still basking in the dappled shade and didn't seem too bothered by us but everyone kept nice and quiet just in case.
We continued our walk stopping periodically to listen all about the breeding habits and other information about these amazing giant lizards, first documented by western scientists in 1910.
By now everyone was beginning to feel the heat and unfortunately one elderly gentleman in our group passed out, seems he was diabetic and had not taken additional glucose with him on the trip, silly man! The rangers and Fred Olsen escorts went into action immediately and they stretched him back to the rangers station - we found out later that the ships doctor was on the island and so all was well but we did find it rather strange that the stretcher was made of red coloured canvas!
We continued our trek for a total of an hour, no more sightings if dragons until we got closer to the rangers station - this dragon had come down from the undergrowth as he had smelt the rangers cooking their lunch, they soon shooed him away.
Back on the tenders and then to the comfort of our air conditioned cabin. A very hot and tiring few hours but certainly one we would no have missed. Definitely a highlight of otrip.