Chasing Dragons

Trip Start Jul 06, 2010
Trip End Jun 28, 2011

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Where I stayed
Perama Boat

Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Saturday, July 31, 2010

Unlike our last boat experience, our next boat was top notch.  We boarded the Perama boat (#212) at 5pm and got settled in.  We didn't splurge for a cabin but cheaped out and slept on mats on the deck.  Not bad digs to be honest.....actually one of the nicer beds we've had in a while.  The boat was awesome - lots of room to sit and walk around.  Great toilet facilities with hot water showers, sit down toilets AND toilet paper!  Finally!  Who knew boats were so well equipped?

The first night on the boat we stayed anchored off Labuanbajo where we had an amazing meal and a party with the crew to welcome us on board and to send off the people who were leaving.  The boat crew danced up a storm and put on a show (they limboed like we have never seen anyone limbo before!)  Garry even had a few beers.

The boat was well stocked with snacks, beer, pop etc. and the food served at meal time was FABULOUS!  It's amazing how good the food was considering we were at sea.

Early the next morning the boat started moving at 5am - destination Rinca Island (the smaller island right beside Komodo Island....same number of dragons, slightly smaller island = better chance of seeing them in the wild).  We arrived at Rinca at 7am, met our guide and started our trek from the cook house.  Right away we saw five dragons hanging around the cook house - they can smell food 5km away.  We were snap happy with the cameras right away figuring this might be the only dragons we would see that day.  Garry was the only one that went up on the cook house deck to get a close up picture.  Pretty amazing.

Before we started our trek, the guide warns us to stay with the group.  Apparently in 1994 or 1996 (not sure which year) a Swiss tourist wandered away from the group.  When the guides realized the group was one person short, they went back to the jungle and only found his camera.......we were sticking to that guide like glue.

We then trekked through the jungle in search of more dragons.  We stumbled upon a dragons den (not the show) where they lay their eggs in a big hole in the ground and dig decoy holes around it to throw off predators.  The guide then told us that baby dragons live in the trees for the first 5 years.  What!  Now we have to look for dragons in the trees as well?  Do you have any idea how hard it is to walk through the jungle looking up at the trees without tripping?  So we gave up on the trees figuring baby dragons won't attack - would they?

After a KM or so, we started to lag behind the group a bit (but there was still a guide at the rear of the group - don't worry he had a stick).  We walked into a field of long grass and suddenly heard the guide ahead yelling at us to get off the path.  Just as we figured out what he was saying, we see this HUGE dragon trotting down the path right at us.  Wendy just about had a heart attack.  We got off the path!  Dragons have the right of way in ALL situations.

Next we came upon some water buffalo - one had a huge dragon bite in his side.  As we were busy taking photo's of it, the guide points out the dragon 10 feet from us hiding in the long grass!  Honestly, we probably would have stepped on him.  The guide said that the buffalo was a trouble maker - always picking fights with the dragons and usually winning.  It would appear that was not the case this time.  The guide figured this buffalo had 2 weeks max to live (the dragons have 60 different types of bacteria in their saliva - there is NO cure).  Cycle of life.....

All of a sudden one of the buffalo started trotting right at the hiding dragon.  We turned on the video camera and hoped for a fight - FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT....but that buffalo thought better of it and we were left disappointed.  Unfortunately, it would take 5hrs and 20mins for us to upload this video - so you are out of luck.  We will try again another time.

Not far from the hiding dragon was another large dragon sunning himself.  Our guide thought he was about 30 years old (they live to be about 50).  We had the guide take a picture of us a safe distance away from the dragon (but if you look close you can still see him).

All in all, it was a successful dragon hunt.  We even saw dragon poop which is white from all the calcium in the bones of their prey - they eat EVERYTHING but the skull - too big we guess. 
Upon our return to the boat, the boat director suggested we go for a swim while we waited for the other groups.  He must have been joking (we hope) as their was a huge dragon sunning himself by the shoreline.  They are apparently great swimmers - there was no way we were getting in that water!

We left Rinca and sailed 3 hours west to just north of Komodo Island for some snorkeling.  Wendy got on her trusty life jacket, spent 5 mins in the water, got bit by something (not sure what), had a panic attack and got back on the boat.  Garry continued to snorkel.

For the rest of the afternoon and on through the evening we headed west toward Lombok.  The seas were choppy and Garry (along with 50% of the passengers) were sick.  Luckily Wendy came prepared and doped Garry up on gravol and sleeping pills.  He was one of the few that wasn't vomiting off the side of the boat that evening.

After a good night sleep through rough seas, we awoke to another delicious breakfast and stopped at an island for a walk to a "waterfall".  We were instructed to bring our swimsuits to swim at the "waterfall".  Turns out the "waterfall" is nothing more than a river flowing over a rock.  You could swing out on a rope over the "waterfall" and drop into a pool of water.  We deemed this unsafe so opted out - but other people had no problem risking life and limb to jump into dirty polluted river water - GROSS! 

Our next boat stop was at a deserted beach island for more snorkeling.  Wendy got smart and took a ride to the beach (life jacket securely on) and snorkeled in 2 feet of water (Garry finds this amusing and took at video for your viewing pleasure - once again we will try to post this at a later date, we currently do not have 2 hrs on our hands to wait for the download $$$$).

The last part of our journey on the boat we encountered some large swells.  Now it was Wendy's time to get sick - we are running out of gravol - if you have some please send.

Arrived at Lombok late in the evening and boarded buses to Senggigi where we pulled out our wallets and booked 2 nights at a swanky place (for us that is) for a well deserved "shower" with hot water, flushing toilet, toilet paper, soap - paradise! (and the toilet does not go violently up and down and side to side periodically as on the boat.)
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Janyce Your Favorite Cousin on

Awesome! I don't know you yet Wendy.........but I'm with you on the dragon thing! I would have been on top of a building!

Paulette on

Wow! Some dragon.....I never knew a person before who had seen a Komodo
dragon. (I live a sheltered life). Very neat pictures. Thank you for sharing your
trip with us in words and pictures. I look forward to reading them each time.

jon stos on

wow!!! looks like a great experience. Wish i was there!!!!!! Looking forward to your next posting. Keep in touch and for god sakes keep your head up for dragons !!!!!
Gary, what made you guys decide to make the trip.....just curios. Time off work, etc....

Farhaj on

Awsome Awsome!! Seems interesting and adventorous. Enjoy!!

Trevor Haapamaki on

He's soooo jealous,

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