Rinca and Komodo Island

Trip Start Jul 22, 2006
1
7
Trip End Ongoing


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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

We arrived at Rinca Island in a little bay Loh Buaya where the local ranger station was.

This was a pretty exciting place and the information we were given basically said there were more Komodo dragons on this island than Komodo itself. Well this certainly looked to be the case when we landed our dinghy on the little wharf.

Down at one end of this wharf is a little shelter (much like a shelter at the end of ferry wharves back home only really small). Now the purpose of this we found out is not shelter from the sun but rather shelter from the dragons. In the shed was a rather high seat on each side, not for sitting on but for standing on in case a dragon should happen by.

Inside this shelter was a little Indonesian guide with his long stick which again we found out is all the protection that these guys had from the dragons. Every time missy dragon got frisky and came too close, the guide simply gave it a whack on the snout and off it went...good in theory huh?

So we landed our dinghy and walked down with the objective of going to the ranger station to find out about tours etc as no one is allowed on the island without a guide accompanying you. No worries there. at the end of the wharf were two dragons, both of which were moved on by the guide so our path was cleared and we were taken to the ranger HQ. We booked a 4 hour tour for the next day so decided to return to the boats.

When we came back, the two dragons were there to greet us again and again our guide got them away. Bec, camera always at the ready decided she wanted shots of the dragons so we jumped up on the seats and took photos (I didn't have my camera). When it came time to leave the dragons had come closer. Ginny and Gord decided to not wait and jumped down and walked a brisk walk to their dinghy .....right, no problems. I jump down next but this time I just noted at the corner of my eye...fred dragon at full pace heading for me, guard whacking with the stick to no avail...holy shit!!! I just jump back on the seat in time...I have to tell you, I was so scared. You see there was a story not 3 months prior of an Indo guard falling asleep on the seat, hand falls over the edge and dragon has appetiser for lunch. The guard was rushed to hospital where he spent some months recovering - those dragons have over 3,000 different bacteria in their mouths as that is the way they kill their prey - biting them and waiting for them to die.

Next day it was with some wariness on my part that we went hiking, which really was fantastic. Rinca is a beautiful island with wild horses, buffulo, dragons of course and many other wildlife. I even was game enough to pick up the tail of a dragon which I'm sure was drugged for the tourists to play with.

Leaving Rinca we did some scuba diving just off Komodo island at a place called Batu Tiga. We left our boat near the ranger station on Komodo and Liam took us around on his boat. Here we had a fabulous drift dive which Gordon and Liam lasting longer than me and Gary played dinghy spotter.

After leaving Komodo Island we set sail for Bali with the intention of stopping at Gili Ayre which we were told was a really lay back backpacker type island. On the way however we came across an anchorage called Crystal Rock which was in our guide as a top scuba dive site. We stopped here and spent the most magnificent couple of days at anchor, diving and even snorkelling in a pass where we saw manta rays. We even had a manta ray playing around our boat when Annie and Liam were diving in the water close by.

A very memorable anchorage for the crystal clear Indonesian waters, marine life, and corals.

From there we had another overnight sail which had some fantastic winds to move us along to Gili Ayre where we stopped for a short stay before sailing between Lombok and Bali Islands to Benoa Harbour. On the way we encountered these fishermen returning from the nights fishing on the Lombok side and they were returning on the favourable winds across to Bali where they obviously lived. Each boat had a small 8hp outboard but obviously sailed all they could.

WE had left Gili Ayer in the early hours to ensure we made the Benoa Harbour entrance during good daylight hours.
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