Enter the Dragons

Trip Start Apr 18, 2012
Trip End Aug 01, 2012

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Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Greetings from Komodo Island!

With the arrival of another birthday serving as a reminder of all the to-do's on my bucket list, I knocked another one off this week. Around 12 years ago I saw a particularly riveting Crocodile Hunter about Komodo Dragons and since I have been quite obsessed with them and have wanted to see them in the wild. The only place they roam free are Komodo Island and Rica Islands part of the Nusa Tenggara island chain in Indonesia. So naturally for this years Happy Boat Day I was on a 5 day boat trip of the area beginning on May 31st. The trip began in Lombok, and we sailed along the huge island of Sumbawa, making stops there and on Komodo and Rinca. When we got to Flores, we turned around and visited different places on the way back to Lombok.

I booked with the company Perama and I was not disappointed. The 30 meter boat had capacity for 40 guests, but we were only 20 which gave us plenty of room. The guide, the crew and the food were great and they designed an awesome program. We stopped at various points for snorkeling, went swimming in a massive salt water lake in the middle of an island, swam at a waterfall and swung off a big tarzan swing into the deep pool and spent a few hours in the town on Labaunbajo on Flores. A popular afternoon past time was jumping off the ship half way up the mast (about 30 feet) into the vivid blue water.

Of course the highlight was seeing the mighty Komodos on their island kingdoms. On both islands we saw plenty of those giant lizards. There we some cruising around near the visitor centers. The guides claim they are lured by the smell of food and insist they are not fed, but I am very doubtful they would be there often just to smell the cooking. We did see others lazing about in the wilds of the islands when we did our 2 hour treks. Our group was chaperoned by guides wielding wooden sticks for protection but it seemed that their stick would be rather ineffective against a serious charge of a 90 kg living dinosaur. Apparently one of the guides was bitten earlier in the week which is very serious as the Komodo’s saliva has 60 types of dangerous bacteria. A Komodo utilizes this for hunting .They bite their prey and then stalks it for days,  or weeks, until the prey is weakened by bacterial infection at which point the feeding frenzy begins. My camera is horribly crap but I think you can get an idea of how cool they are by the photos.

Always a worry with booking a tour with strangers is that you will be stranded on a boat with a bunch of flaming morons. However we had a great group and we all had lots of fun together. There were 2 other Canadians, a selection of Europeans, and Aussie and a French family with 3 kids. At first I saw the family with their 6, 8 and 11 year old and was panicked that they could be a pack of wild brats and was tempted to throw myself overboard and take my chances with the sea. Much to everyone’s surprise, they were well behaved and provided endless entertainment, especially the youngest boy. They were on a 7 month tour of SE Asia so the children had learned to travel well and enjoy the company of adults so there is hope for the youth of today.

On the last night we were all reluctant to get off the baot and go back to the 'real world’ of travelkling. I spent the night in Sengiggi and first thing in the morning I was off again.

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