Reefs and Dragons in Indonesia

A sea day during our Borneo Expedition was a welcome day of rest after the overland experiences, and we used it to catch up on laundry, diaries, and sleep. However, we were interrupted in the afternoon with a surprise stop over a nice reef. The divers strapped on tanks and we went for a snorkel. I was finally able to use the new, simple underwater camera I had brought along. The water was wonderfully warm and we paddled around nearly an hour.

There were blue sea stars everywhere!

We spotted a gorgeous blue clam

The next day found us anchored off Rinca, one of the Komodo islands. Our expedition leaders thought this a better place to view the famed “dragons” than nearby Komodo Island, which has become rather touristy. The third island of Padar is also included in the Komodo National Park.
We took the tender in with about 40 other Residents at 7:30am and met the rangers who would escort us on the walk. The Komodo “dragon” is venomous and the largest living species of lizard, growing to a length of 6-10′ and weighing up to 150 pounds. They can climb trees and are good swimmers and their powerful jaws can subdue most prey. Their saliva contains virulent bacteria and once they bite something they simply wait for it to die before consuming it.
The rangers walk with only a forked stick they use to prod the animals should they get too close. It was quite warm as we started out, but we were glad for the close-toed shoes we were required to wear.

Our guide and his “weapon”

After walking for about an hour we ran into the “photography group” who were massed in one area. This meant they must have seen a dragon. It was a fairly small female who had her picture taken many times!

This was the only sighting until we arrived back at the ranger station. There, underneath the kitchen building, lured by the aromas of food and the shade of the building were several dragons. This provided our best photo op.

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