As we approach Rinca in the Komodo Islands the excitement aboard Escape Velocity began to ratchet up a notch or two. As the name suggests this island is their island so I’m guessing that it’ll be like visiting the monsters on their own turf. The other concern is that Loh Buaya Bay is either too deep or too shallow and has been known to get overcrowded. We timed our arrival after, we hoped, the day trippers would have already left for the day. It worked. We entered an essentially empty bay, working our way up the shallow starboard side as far away from the landing dock as possible. We should be well out of the fray all the way over here and there’s still time to dinghy into the office to arrange for a guide and a tour time early tomorrow. The pier is sized for large excursion boats which presents obstacles for cruisers in dinghies.
Wildlife is everywhere and I guess this guy is the official greeter.
The first time you see one of these monsters your blood freezes and the tiny hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention. I guess the shock was enhanced by the fact that we were just buying tickets and not at all prepared for a confrontation, but like I said, it’s their island. They wander, drooling poisonous saliva, wherever they like.
They’re awfully big, and my brain quickly snapped into survival mode starting with a quick physical assessment because, as the old adage says, you don’t have to be the fastest guy in the group, Yours Truly just needs to be a little faster than the slowest! Now I know I’m definitely not the fastest, even in the best of times and what speed my rickety knees haven’t taken away, recent heavy courses of antibiotics has. I’ll have to rely on experience and cunning. In short I’m dead meat.
We woke to a bay filled nuts to butts with every manner of excursion craft displaying only the most casual of anchoring etiquette or technique. Picking our way through the anchored hoards we dinghied to the landing but had no idea the actual park was a long hike away.
As we approached the park we noticed an uncommon variety of medium to large size animals just hanging out around the park entrance.
The island is a very dry, dusty sort of place so I suspect they must feed them, like a zoo. Turns out they’re food for the dragons. All they have to do is catch them, which apparently they’re good at.
These are the personalized staffs of the guides, used to keep the Komodo Dragons away from us slower folks. I would have preferred a ten kilo sledge!
After a slight but nasty altercation between three big males M. is wishing for some running room. Our guide saw the potential for trouble and moved between us and them with his little twig.
This guy has been bitten, gouged by a dragon and the poison is beginning to work so they can just take their time. I understand they like it kind of ripe anyhow.
The madness out in the harbor continued unabated, all evening long, until it was time to go and that’s when the fun began. I just kind of assumed that this craziness was normal and we were surrounded by professionals but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I’ve never seen so many bone headed blunders. Anchors snagging rodes, paint trading, whole crews trying to fend off each other. I couldn’t watch! I grabbed our boat hook but just sat in the pilot chair like our guide trying to fend off a Komodo Dragon with a twig.
Somehow they missed us.