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The Dragon Island

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Komodo Island, the land of the Komodo dragon.  A ferocious monitor lizard that grows to 4-6 meters in length.   These beast eats water buffaloes for a midnight snack.  We could not sail though Indonesia and not stop to see them.  Especially, with a boat named Dragon's Toy.

We anchored in the tiny anchorage (fits 4 boats) that is surrounded by bommies and rocks that are just the right height to take out the bottom of the boat at mid-tide and went ashore to see the dragons.

Sleeping Dragon.jpg (53320 bytes)

This is fearsome Komodo Dragon up close.   To give you an idea of the size this one is about 6 meters (20 feet) long.

We were assigned a guide, they are mandatory after a Swiss tourist was eaten by a dragon a few years back, and set off to find the dragons.  Our guide was very knowledgeable on all of the flora and fauna of the island and pointed out many interesting things along the way.  After about a 1 hour hike through the bush, we came upon three sleeping dragons.  They are huge!
Fortunately, the park rangers no longer feed the dragons as part of a show for the tourists.  They used to have daily feedings (Komodo dragons normally feed at night), where they would get all of the tourist up on a platform and then throw a goat at the dragons for the entertainment of the crowds.  The problem was that the dragons figured out that when they smelled and heard tourists coming, it was meal time.  Apparently they did not always wait for the tourist to get to the safety of the platform. Towley and the Dragon

Towley checks on a sleeping dragon.  They sleep with their eyes open so you are never really sure if they are awake or not.

The three that we saw had apparently eaten well the night before and were very bloated.  They were sleeping peacefully under a tree.  We wanted to give them a wide berth but our guide told us to go right over to them.  Once we realized that they were all sound asleep, but with their eyes open, we felt a little better.  Then our guide, started to poke them with his stick, when that did not wake them up he grabs one by the tail and starts to pull it away from the tree.  At this point Dave, Dave and I were looking for trees we could climb should this beast wake up.
Komodo Dragon

A rudely awaken dragon glares at us.  Fortunately he is too full to move quickly. (Click on picture of more information on Komodo Dragons)

Well, the guide did know what he was doing, the one whose tail he pulled did stand up, but wasn't about to go anywhere, he walked about 3 steps before plopping back down and going back to sleep.

Back at the ranger hut, we found out that we did not need to take the hike to see the dragons.  There is a group of them that live under the ranger barracks.  They have learned that it is easier to just raid the garbage cans at night than hut for dinner.  If you live there you just have to be careful when heading for the outhouse for a late night visit.

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Last modified: February 01, 2009