So the time had come for middle mans adventure choice. The Komodo dragons.
We had charted a private boat and hired a guide for two days, one night. As we loaded our luggage on to the little speed boat that would take us to the main boat we were told that there had been a mix up with the booking. Instead of spending the time on a boat setup for 8 people we ended up on a massive boat which is usually used for 20 people! We had totally lucked out!
The boat was by no means 5 star but it was had 3 levels and loads of space for the boys. And as we chugged towards the Dragons home (Rica Island) my state of peace grew to levels only being on the water can bring. For Not the first time in my life, I promised myself that one day I will live on or by the ocean.
The crew put on coffee and snacks for the boys… including honey coated banana fritters which the boys devoured within seconds. A couple of monopoly deal games later, (which is just as evil and conflict creating as the board version) we arrived at Rica Island.
Having read up on this itinerary item quite a lot I was both nervous and excited. Komodo dragons have a bite that will kill, so obviously I was in muma bear protection mode! We were assigned a private ranger called ‘june’, the first thing he did was crouch down to the boys level and in a serious but interesting manner explained the safety rules… no running, no load noise, stay together and stay behind the ranger. His manner with the boys was excellent and dispite the fact his only means of protecting us being a two pronged stick I had upper most confidence in him.
Within minutes of setting off on our walk we saw what our ranger termed “tame dragons”. These dragons usually found near or around the ranger camp, apparently they are not fed but they they come because of the smell of food, the are termed “tame” because they don’t generally respond to humans, not because the are safe. We still had to keep a distance of about 3m but they were defiant close enough to appreciate! Definitely the biggest lizard i will ever see, and apparently they can grow even bigger than those we saw.
After seeing the “tame” dragons we trekked on a 45 min loop in which we saw a few other much more scitish dragons scurrying around. We also learnt how and what thy hunt, about there nests and saw other local wildlife such as buffalo (which apparently kill more humans a year than the dragons do).
On the way back to the boat (after we had said good bye to June) we came across a large crowd of tourists on the main track.. the reason for the traffic jam was a rather large sleeping dragon, right in the middle of the path. There were many tourists quite close but taking example from the locals (who I have much more faith in) we skirted a few meters around the beast.
As if one trip to see dragons wasn’t enough we had barely began our trip… after a yummy lunch we headed to pink beach for a snorkel and play on the beach. Pink beach is rightly famous, the coral and marine life is probably one of the best I have ever snorkeled. It’s has become increasing popular over recent years, efforts have been made to protect the coral such as a ban on big boats and a jetty around the headland to limit small boats landing. The numbers were certainly high when we arrived but soon thinned as the sun started to set, it was the ideal time to visit.
After another tasty evening meal watching the last rays of sun, it was time to get the boys to sleep. despite there excitement about sleeping on a boat they all went straight off and we followed very soon after.
At 6:00 sharp the boat engine started waking us all up for day 2! A quick breakfast and we docked at Komodo island for our second trek with the dragons.
This time I had a little less faith in our ranger but he did give the boys there own protection sticks.
He was knowledgeable enough but my half blind husband saw the Komodos before the guide did 😳. This time we only saw “tame” dragons but one was massive!
For me however the highlight of the trip had to be the next snorkel… manta point. Ever since I learnt to dive in Australia (urm.. 17 years ago!!! Whowah that is longer than I thought), manta rays and whale sharks have been on my list of creatures to see. We were lucky enough to snorkels with whale sharks 3 years ago in Mozambique but manta rays have remained elusive. Manta rays are also Lego Boys adventure choice. Hopes were high but of course there is no guarantee. We kitted up in the snorkel gear and started trundling around looking for signs. Our guide saw one from the surface within a couple of mins, Lego boy was first to enter, not needed to be told twice. Unfortunately his entry was less than elegant and by the time we were all in the manta was no where to be seen.
We headed towards the reef enjoying the wildlife and abundant coral. We swam into an area where the visibility wasn’t great because of the amount of plankton/krill small creatures and quite literally out of the blue a manta appeared, massive but effortlessly glided by, and then another one, and then another followed by the biggest one yet. Soon we realised we were in the middle of 4 maybe 5 mantas circling around us, feeding on all the plankton. There open mouths easily the size of Boy blue who had refused to hold my hand and was excitedly watching the display , fearless of the gains creatures. A couple of times it looked as though one of the rays was going swim right into us but they perfectly manoeuvred themselves around the 5 random spectators to their meal. An amazing experience, the awe on the boys faces (and I expect my own) is exactly why we travel.
All the way to our final destination of this boat tour (another beach that looks like it’s fallen out of a holiday magazine) the boys talked non stop about the mantas “did you see the one that went right over my head?” “Did you see the one with the white belly”, “did you see the one that almost ate me?”
At the final beach spot “middle man” who is definitely the most nervous in water (that is not a swimming pool) seemed to make a determined effort to overcome his hesitations and go for a long snorkel with daddy. The sea again rewarded His efforts we again rewarded, with sting rays, baracuda, lion fish and more stunning coral.
What an amazing 2 days!