March 19, 2017 – Komodo Island, Indonesia
To get to Komodo Island we “tendered”- that is we transferred to life-boats and were ferried to shore. We saw 5 Komodo Dragons today. There was a young one about 6 months old which was up in a tree. There were 4 others of varying ages from 5 to 20 years. Of the 3,000 Komodo Dragons, about 1,300 of them live on Komodo Island. The rest are scattered on the other islands which make up the National Park. I need to correct something I wrote earlier. Either the lecturer misspoke or I misheard. The Dragons are 10’ from nose to end of tail – not a 10’ body with a 10’ tail.
Three of the dragons we saw were at a watering hole just laying around. As we walked around the perimeter 2 of them got up walked a bit - staring at us!
We saw a Komodo Dragon nest. It is a big mound with several holes dug in it. The female lays one egg in one of the holes and uses the others as camouflage. She stays with the egg for the 1st three months, but after that the egg is on its own to hatch 6 months later. The 1st thing the baby dragon does is get itself into a tree so that it will be safe from being eaten by its mom or another dragon.
The trek through the jungle was well worth it to be able to see them. We also saw a Timor deer which is a principal food for the dragons, and Joyce saw a wild boar. The guide pointed out lots of vegetation and two different kinds of tree snails—one yellow and one black and white striped. I am not sure if they are edible. It was hot and humid until the rain came. We were in the 2d group to tender to the island. There were 6 groups altogether. Just as we finished our tour, and the last group was landing on the island, the heavens opened, and it rained hard. We were lucky that we got the tour in on dry ground. That last group were going to have to muck through the jungle on wet paths.
Patsy and I thought that we’d buy something on the island as a souvenir of the trip. They had quite a few sellers there, but they attacked you as soon as you walked anywhere near them. I tried to buy a couple of baskets, but when I started to pay for them, he tripled the price we had agreed to. The same thing happened to Patsy. She agreed on a price for a couple of abalone bowls. Then he upped the price when she started to pay. Needless to say neither of us bought anything. We fled to the tender boat and left the island as quickly as we could.
Here’s a little additional information about the island. Komodo Island was settled by convicts who were exiled to the island. The current residents, of which there are about 2,000, are descendants of those convicts who have intermarried with the Bugis from Sulawesi. Most are Muslins although there are Christians and Hindus as well. There is a pink beach on the island which is one of only 7 in the world. It is composed of a mixture of white and red sand. Since you can’t go anywhere on the island without a guide and since it was raining hard, we didn’t get to see the pink beach.
Tomorrow, we sail to Bali, Indonesia where we will be for a day and a half. We have a tour tomorrow afternoon, but we are going to spend the next day on our own.
Patsy’s Trivia team finished second today.