Hunting the Komodo dragon on Komodo and Rinca
How it all startedWhen I arrived in Bali, I had no idea that you could sail through the Indonesian archipelago to find these amazing creatures. Once I saw some posters stating that you could, I knew I would be on a boat as soon as my hangovers had stopped. The organization wasn’t what I had expected and I think a visit the Karimunjawa islands or any of the other islands in the region would have been much easier, but that wasn’t to be the case.
The Boat RideThere were about 20 passengers and crew on one of the scariest boats I had ever seen. The boat consisted of the crew area, a small deck and the sleeping quarters for all the brave travellers. The kitchen and bathroom were to the rear of the boat in a way to close proximity, but what could we do. The journey to the islands was broken up with stops at some random islands along the way. Each had waterfalls and lakes and a few hiking areas. We remained at each stop for an hour or two and the rest of the time was spent on the slow journey through the ocean. We broke up the boredom by reading, talking, watching movies and unsuccessfully flirting with the single women on the boat.
During the day the sea seemed to be relatively calm, but once night came so did the big waves and the fear of capsizing. Luckily this didn’t happen to us, but it did happen to another blogger, check her story here. My own near-death experience came when we went snorkelling for Manta rays and the current pulled me away from the boat.
I genuinely thought I was going to die. For the next couple of days, only me and a guy from Africa who never learned to swim wore life jackets. Not much fun for me.
It was funny for everyone else, but even if I could stand in the water the life jacket was staying on. After that hunting, the Komodo dragon didn’t seem too worrying.
Arriving on the dragon islandsSo, after a few days on our slow boat, we finally reached the islands. We left the hunting up to the Komodo dragons and did we see it hunt, nope not once. On both islands, we only saw one walking and it was the very first we saw. Getting off the boat we walked up the pier and into the distance we spotted the very first dragon. We were excited and walked towards it as fast as possible. It was huge and simply sauntered across the beach in front of us. When one of the guards on duty saw us he told us to back away as they can move very fast when they need to. Also, their bite can be fatal if not treated properly. After this, we officially met our guide. He told us the history of the islands and about the wildlife. Mainly the dragons, some cattle, and humans with a few others in between. Then we took a trail across the island to some viewpoints and areas where the dragons were known to nest and rest. As they are massive reptiles we mainly saw them sleeping or resting in the shade of trees and houses. Although none moved quite like the first one it was still amazing to see these giants in their own habitat. Protected by humans and in no danger from any outside forces. On Rinca, it was much of the same, except there were far more dragons to see. We also saw some juvenile ones which are much faster and active, but a lot less intimidating.
After the islands:We then left the islands and went to Labuan Bajo the closest port town and also the nearest airport. We stayed for one night and then the group departed. Some went snorkelling, others went overland through more of Indonesia and I was going on to Cambodia. I wish I’d stayed to dive but having almost died, I thought it was best to leave it. Hunting the Komodo dragon was enough excitement for the time being.
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