logo Pearl of Persia
Date: 12 Oct 2013 04:07:09
Title: Here be dragons

Lat 08:38.0S Long 119:42.8E
>From Kupang on Timor the Indonesian islands stretch out to the west, Flores,
Sumbawa, Lombok, Bali, Java and Sumatra with many small islands in between.
We headed for Komodo and Rinja, between Flores and Sumbawa, primarily to see
the famous 'Komodo Dragons', huge 4 meter long monitor lizards that live
just in this area. We arrived at dawn to a spectacular landscape glowing red
and orange in the morning light. The chart showed many possible
anchorages.....meaning protection from the wind and swell, not too deep or
shallow, no underwater dangers on the approach and a bottom where the anchor
will hold without getting stuck....and we chose a lovely bay with no sign of
people and Ollie and I went ashore in the dingy to explore. Within a few
minutes we spotted a Komodo 75 meters away, but only for a few moments as it
moved into the undergrowth. We were apprehensive of walking further. The two
big bamboo sticks we had picked up on the beach seemed pathetically
inadequate if we came across another one closer up. The following day we
sailed to the north of the island to a ranger station where a guide took us
into the hills where we spotted several more. These animals are the top
predator and kill and eat deer, pigs and even fully grown buffalo. Their
method is to attack the animal to bite or scratch it. Within a day infection
sets in and within the week the animal is brought down. The views from the
top of the hills were spectacular and the landscape quite dry and arid. Next
day we hired a boat and the three of us did three SCUBA dives, the coral and
fish were as beautiful as I have ever seen and after a few more days in the
area set off west towards Bali. En route Ollie caught a couple of small tuna
so sashimi and tuna steaks for dinner. As we would be sailing close to land,
we planned to sail during the day and look for anchorages each evening. One
day we anchored off a small village and within minutes of arrival were
surrounded by dozens of kids who had paddled out in their dug out canoes to
see us. We gave them drinks and a ride in the dingy which caused great
excitement and then went ashore. The village specialised in building
traditional wooden trading boats and it was impressive to see the beautiful
workmanship as the boats took shape. The whole village must have been called
on to pull them into the water when it was time to launch. To look at these
boats reminded me of the pictures of Noah's Ark, large wooden hulls made out
of thick planks of wood. Our last stop before Bali was the small island of
Gili Air just off Lombok. This is where the tourist crowds started to build
up. The fabulous beaches were full of small restaurants and bars, with
numerous dive shops and small traders. We anchored off for a couple of
nights before the final leg to Bali.
The photos show Oliver fishing and the Tuna he caught. The Komodo dragon
sunning itself on the path and a group of us looking at one from a distance!

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