The mighty Komodo dragons (and diving of course)

Trip Start Oct 03, 2012
Trip End Nov 28, 2013

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Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Saturday, August 24, 2013

Another early start on our Flores Diving Centre 150 minute 'express' to Komodo. The 'Sail Komodo' event is about to happen and Labuan Bajo is an interesting place to be right now. It also means the President of Indonesia will visit for a few days therefore creating a frenzy. Apparently, they're expecting more than 15,000 boats to arrive on top of the boats and fishing vessels that pack the harbour full already. In an effort to manage the coming and going of boats in and out of the harbour, all vessels that aren't part of the event (fishing boats owned by locals mainly) will be pushed aside well out the way somewhere else - not much thought has gone into where the fish will be coming from to feed the event then...

Our morning stroll to our Komodo Express took us around the back of the Flores Diving Centre (a short cut) past the real residents of Labuan Bajo bathing their children in tin baths to the harbour and along the Labuan Bajo harbour promenade. The promenade like the plan for the boats obviously wasn't extensive and involved building it from scratch a week or 2 before the event... Still at least it's being done. When complete it will look good from a distance and very rough around the edges close-up. There were rumours that the Sail Komodo event provided a fantastic opportunity for the powers-that-be to channel laundered cash...only rumours of course but this is Indonesia after all.

2 dives today - Tatawa Kecil a fun dive and the 3rd and last of our Advanced Open Water fun dives; and, Sebajor Kecil the 1st of our advanced skills modules - Navigation.

As with our previous dives yesterday the water was in positive turmoil up currents, down currents, swirls - you name it and the water was probably doing it at the same time as everything else. Tatawa Kecil like with the other dives yesterday was an experience with the benchmark automatically set high and it didn't disappoint. A kaleidoscope of marine life big and small with the changing and shifting currents to match - pretty unforgettable experience. Sebajor Kecil was on a sand bank that lead to a steep coral wall. Here we performed a navigation and then explored the coral wall or steep slope and coral garden. Again, an master class in macro and micro life thanks to Michaeli our super dive master.

2 great dives completed and there was still a treat to come. The Komodo dragons. These dragons were on Rinca and we visited the Nature reserve that had lots of them. A lot of the dragons congregate around the guides hut because they know that they'll be fed and watered there - so no great surprises there. The dragons are very big and like any creature that is dangerous there is a high level of unpredictability. These guys are very fast when they want to be (they can run faster than humans) and they have a poisonous bite. There are rumours of an old man who was eaten (or at least 'never returned' from the park). Every group who enter the park are accompanied by 2 guides at the front and rear of the group. These guides have sticks and appropriate weaponry to stave off an impromptu attack from one of the friendly dragons. As luck would have it we got an opportunity to see a couple of the dragons in a more 'natural' environment near to their nesting ground. There were large holes in the ground where the dragons lay their eggs. The Dragons are quite cannibalistic and are prone to eating their young. As consequence, the young are reasonably independent at birth and spend the 1st 3 years of life in a tree! Apart from the Komodo Dragons the scenery over Rinca was stunning with landscape and vegetation reminiscent of Australia more than Indonesia. Beautiful.

Another superb day and a journey back to Labuan Bajo spent dozing on the boat.
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