Chasing the Dragon

Trip Start Jan 13, 2012
Trip End Jul 11, 2012

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Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Today we went to the island of Rinca (pronounced rin-cha), in Komodo national park! The pictures pretty much speak for themselves, so I’ll keep this one short. The tour we went on included boat to the park, a trek with a ranger, lunch, and then snorkeling on the way home. Rinca is about two hours by boat from Labuanbajo, and the ride is distractingly beautiful. This part of Indonesia is super dry, so a lot of the islands are just grass hills with a few trees, and completely uninhabited. It was hot hot hot (about 35 degrees), so even our short hour and a half trek on Rinca was a physical challenge. I do have to say that I think I took the cheap and dirty way of seeing the dragons. Rinca is close enough to do in a day trip, so most of the people that go there get off the boat, wander around for a bit and take a picture with a dragon, get back on the boat and leave. Plus, on Rinca, the dragons like to hang around the camp kitchen during the day, making them easily spotted and photographed. It feels like cheating! We only saw one dragon in the wild, sunning itself on a rock, and also a baby one up in a tree. I think if I had more time, the inclination to do some 8 hour hikes, or hadn’t ditched my only appropriate footwear, I would have liked to go to Komodo island proper, (four hours from L.bajo), and spend a few days there on a live-aboard or at the park’s camp. It would be nice to be able to explore off the beaten path a bit. The dragons were amazing though, and for those short on time and money, its worth it to come and check them out, however briefly.

Some fun facts about Komodo dragons:

There are only roughly 2500 dragons living in the wild in Komodo national park. Other than the occasional one found on mainland Flores, this is the only place in the world that they live outside captivity.

Dragons live to be around 50 years old.

To kill his dinner, a dragon will bite its prey and then stalk it for up to a week while its venom takes affect and slowly poisons the animal.

Dragons are cannibalistic, they will eat other young dragons, or each other if wounded.

Dragons only need to eat as little as once a month, but sometimes they consume a whole water buffalo.

After our visit to Rinca, we stopped off for a snorkel on one of the little islands in the bay. For those of you who know me well, you know I am not a fan of snorkeling, nor generally very comfortable in the water. That, coupled with the gross-out factor of communal gear, I only reluctantly agreed to get in and try again, and only then because they let me have the pink flippers. My last attempt in Costa Rica, I gave up after about ten minutes and sat in the boat drinking beer for the rest of the trip. A fine way to spend the afternoon, if you ask me. In the end, I did see some cool fish and coral, which was pretty cool. Don’t think I’m going to make a habit it of it though. Right when we were leaving to head back, an afternoon rain shower rolled in and gave us a perfect rainbow over the water. It was a lovely ending to a lovely day, one of the best I’ve had on my trip, I think.
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Distant admirer on

The Dragons are so much bigger than I imagined. Interesting facts.
Every place looks like paradise, although it seems to be hot as hell over there.

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