Komodo

Trip Start Oct 05, 2012
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Trip End Oct 14, 2012


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What I did
komodo national park

Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

After breakfast we boated ashore to Komodo Island. It has a prehistoric feeling to it, it would be no surprise to see a dinosaur ambling out of the underbrush. We were met by a guide holding a long stick with a fork at the end. Every guide had one, I assumed this was to protect us from hungry dragons. We were told the rules, stay behind the guide, keep your voice low, stay with the group at all times, and that we would be doing the 'long trek' as marked on the map. Surprisingly I was feeling a bit better today, the prospect of the ’long trek’ in this searing dry heat was concerning though in my current state of health. 

 The guide told us a number of times that they could not guarantee any sightings of animals, but we hadn’t walked fifty metres before a deer, complete with antlers bounded across our path. This shows my ignorance, but I really hadn’t expected deer to be native to this inhospitable landscape. Apparently these were Timor Deer and through our trek, we saw many. Not much further along the path, the guide began yelling ‘Baby dragon! Baby dragon!’ and bounded off the path into the scrub - so much for the rules… we all followed and caught a glimpse of a goanna sized lizard disappearing into the grass in the distance.

It wasn’t long until we were rewarded with a close up of three huge dragons, lying in the dust. The sheer size of them makes them surreal looking. All three of them at least two meters long with heads the size of a large dog and a huge blue tongue flicking  at the air. They were lying contentedly on their stomachs as we all approached and seemed happy to look menacingly at us as we stood about five metres from them. At one point the largest one got up and began walking towards us, which elicited a panicky yell from the guide, which in turn elicited a panicky retreat from us. The lizard however, was merely walking over to his other lizard friend to rest his big scaly head on the other lizard’s back, which was about as cute as these scaly monsters could ever get.

Our trek took us on a windy dirt path through a small part of the island up to where the lizards nest. We were lucky enough to see more of them there.

We climbed a small hill that allowed us a good view of the harbour where we were docked and a bit more of the island and then we were taken down to the rangers camp where more dragons are often seen skulking about attracted by the smell of food. The government has made it illegal though to feed them here, which is very forward thinking for Asia. Along the way, the guide told us the story of a Swedish man, the last man to be eaten by the dragon who had become separated from his group. All that was found of him was his camera and his glasses, which was apparently the only part of him that the dragons did not find delicious.

By the time we had reached the ranger’s camp, the heat had taken its toll on Marcie, who was beginning to feel sick. We sat under a tree and waited for the group to take more pictures of the dragons, who were hiding under Ranger’s huts.  We rushed back to the boat to get Marcie out of the heat and give her some water.  
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