For most of us on board Insignia, Komodo Island is one of the highlights of this trip. So we are all very excited to board the tender to the island with the warnings ringing in our ears – “No food. Do not wear red. Do not carry anything that is red. Don’t go off the beaten path. Stay with the group. Do not attempt to feed the dragons and, if you have any cuts, bleeding or type of open wound – Stay on Board!!“ OK!!
They grow up to 10 feet long and can weigh over 200 pounds. Females are slightly smaller. They live from between 20 and 40 years in the wild. They have an amazing sense of smell and can detect their next meal from up to five miles away!! They are extremely strong with huge hooked claws, and a forked tongue used in the same manner as a snake. The Komodo is fast on land, can swim and can climb trees. Now that would have been a sight!! The males are very territorial and not adverse to attacking and eating other dragons. But mostly their favourite prey are the wild pigs and Timor deer that are found on the island. They have also been known to kill water buffalo and sadly the occasional human.
Once ashore we meet our guide. We have barely stepped off the dock when a Komodo dragon comes lumbering along the beach. We are cautious but move toward him with our cameras at the ready. He wasn’t really too interested in us. I think he was wanting to go for a swim.
So off we go with our guide and the two guards with “sticks”, along a path, into what is really a lovely pristine jungle type island. There are no homes here. It is raw, and filled with trees & palms, undergrowth and plants and vines and fallen trees. It is hot and humid. The people who greet us actually live on another island and come here to “work”. Along with the guides and guards, the families come along and sell everything Komodo. Except the pearls. There were komodo magnets, t-shirts, carvings, bracelets… Some of the pearls were lovely, but I am not sure of the quality and I am very sure there is no such thing a deep thalo blue string of pearls. I may be wrong, but I think I’ll wait until we get to the South Pacific. They were cheap though.
It was hard to see through the mangle of brush on the ground, but finally we come around a bend in the trail and there in front of us were seven or eight dragons, all gathered around a water hole. It is hot and they seem sleepy and not too interested in us. Thank God. Maybe they just fed them a goat or something. But I don’t think anyone in our group felt threatened. We took a lot of photos and then made our way back to the beach.
It was interesting to see these ‘throw back to another time’ animals up close and personal. I told them I had a very good friend back in Carefree – Angel – my “pet” Gila Monster and so I felt I had an “in” and was pretty safe. So! with this visit, I have knocked off another item on my bucket list.