Dragons really DO exist!
Komodo Travel Blog› entry 91 of 98 › view all entries
Four days ago I hopped on what the friendly Indonesian at the tourist office deemed our "sailboat," which ended up being a tattered blue boat that looked pretty homemade, with bamboo poles supporting wooden beams and blue tarps covering the sides of the vessel and top deck (aka our sleeping area) laden with thin, multicolored mats. I think my favorite mat was the one covered in American flags, which made me laugh with its complete randomness. A firm (aka rock hard) square pillow did it's best to cushion our heads as we attempted to fall asleep to the rocking boat, making it an early night just about every night as the captain turned on a solitary flourescent bulb while we eagerly gobbled down our rice served in a giant pink tub, then turned it off again promptly when we finished eating.
My fellow sailors consisted of one family and a half dozen couples from all over Europe, each speaking a different language, falling into English on the random occasion they felt like having a conversation with someone else. Everyone was pretty nice, and I quickly made friends with a sweet girl from Finland and her boyfriend, who had just finished the gruelling three day trek up Ganung (Mt.) Rinjani. There was just one girl I couldn't figure out, who slept nearly all day, even when everyone was out of the boat having fun in the water. When she wasn't sleeping she was smoking on the top deck and made absolutely no attempt to be social. I asked her boyfriend, who on the contrast was quite friendly, if she was feeling okay, to which he replied that, 'Yeah, she's fine-she just always sleeps on buses, trains, boats, that sort of thing.
While my toe that I'd jammed the night before was killing me the first day, which had me limping just a bit behind everyone else on the trek to the waterfall on the first island we went to, by the second day I was feeling lots better. During the trip we must have stopped at at least five islands, all absolutely gorgeous with the most amazing snorkeling. At the last snorkeling spot I saw the most bizarre thing-looked like a two meter long, about a fist-sized thick, giant worm like thing in the water with whispy tentacle things at what must have been its mouth.
The hiking was really cool as well, my favorite being up a volcanic mountain where at the peak, you can look over several other islands and the turquoise, reef filled water surrounding them. We even spotted a bald eagle hunting, which was really cool.
Our second to last stop was at Rinca island, home to nearly 1,200 Komodo Dragons, giant lizards that can stretch up to 3 meters in length and live nearly fifty years. They're found only on this and the surrounding islands of Flores and Komodo and seem actually pretty tame, lazing around in the sun and not minding if we got close to them.
The tour ended at the port of Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores, where we all split up to find places to stay. I was excited about the prospect of a proper shower after four days of awkward attempts to wash myself with shampoo hanging off the ladder on the side of the boat. No such luck though, as the place I ended up finding had the wonderful techology of a nice, quaint, dip and pour shower. I keep telling myself that every little discomfort towards the end of this trip will help my apprehension about going home and leaving this lifestyle I've grown so fond of. Fingers crossed.