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