Last few days in paradise

Trip Start Mar 03, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed

Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Today was sadly our last day on the boat trip. We left Komodo National Park and headed for Labuan Bajo, stopping by at Rinca on the way for a second chance to see the mighty Komodo Dragon.

As usual we were delivered a desert style breakfast by the crew of sugary banana pancakes and chocolate.  I was actually starting to warm to the taste of the Indonesian coffee.  I had only been on the boat 4 days and lack of options was already starting to warp my sense of taste.  I knew I was going a little mental because I wouldn't have touched the crap a few days before.

We arrived at Rinca for a second chance of dragon stalking.  The first unnerving thing we noticed on the island was the victim sign.  This was a board that listed all of the Komodo Dragons attacks on humans over the past 20 years, going into the beautiful detail of listing either 'died on site’ or ‘survived’.  There seemed to be a pattern of one person per year and the island was due an attack any time soon.

This trek was much more interesting and exciting than the one we took the day before.  The guides made sure that people were not bloody talking all the time and the paths were much less trodden.  It felt a lot wilder and there was a real concern within the team that we might suddenly come across one of the beasts and become the next person to be added to the list of victims.

The terrain was a mixture of dense forest and open grassland.  We made our way to the river where David Attenborough filmed the BBC series Planet Earth.  The vegetation and slow flowing muddy river make it the perfect place for water buffalo, and therefore the best place to find hunting komodo dragons.

It wasn’t too long until we heard a rustling noise and saw the back end of a giant dragon making its getaway.  The animals are so well camouflaged that it is easy to walk past one and not know.

We made out of the vegetation and into the boiling heat of the sum.  We walked along a narrow path that was flanked with high grass.  I was walking directly behind the guide with my eyes wide open looking for wildlife.  All of a sudden the guide stopped in front of me and quietly pointed to a resting dragon that was a mere 5 feet away.  Had he not been leading me I would have probably stood on top of the thing as it lay motionless catching the warmth of the sun.  It seemed quite unfazed by our presence which I took as a positive sign that it probably wasn’t hungry and not in the mood for attacking Leyla or I.

Our trek lasted about 3 hours and was incredible.  Back on the boat we raised anchor and made our way towards Manta Point, an area famous for the giant manta rays.  Unfortunately, we didn’t see any of themL.  The captain pulled up onto a tiny little island and we got our last opportunity for a touch of snorkelling.  The variety of fish in this area was particularly impressive and I saw many cute little clown fish.

As our day drew to an end our boat pulled into Labuan Bajo, the final stopping point for our trip.  The town is a beautiful old fashioned fishing village and the harbour was full of small fishing boats.  We said goodbye to our friends, most of which had been conned by the ticket seller and had no planned way of returning back to the Gili islands.  I dropped Leyla off in a little restaurant and went in search of somewhere to stay.  It was our last couple of nights so we wanted to find somewhere really nice to stay.  I walked down tiny alleyways that were like little shanty towns.  There was loads of kids running around giving me high-fives and generally being really surprised to see me.  It was really nice.

I visited about 8 guest houses, and whilst they were all satisfactory, none of them were really anything special so I returned to Leyla and jumped on Google.

Leyla and I found a stunning hotel a 5 minute bus ride out of town and checked in to a 40 per night room.  The hotel was stunning and worth every penny.  The room was large, to pool beautiful and the breakfast amazing.  We spent the next two days chilling out and living in luxury.
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