Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 51 Slawi Bay, Komodo, Indonesia












































Today was destined to be a very special day fro me…. For some time now I have hoped some day to travel to Indonesia and see Komodo dragons in the wild. Well. Today was to be that day! We arrived very early into Slawi Bay, Komodo, Indonesia. The only way ashore was to take a ship’s shore excursion and here is the description: Komodo Island Trek
Komodo National Park lies with in area known as the Wallacea--a transitional zone running roughly north-south where the Asian fauna from the Sunda Shelf west of Lombok intermingles with Australian species from the Sahul Shelf further east. This is the desolate domain of a fierce and rare species of
reptile that looks like a dinosaur, but is called a Komodo dragon and, of course, is not even remotely related to either a dinosaur or a dragon. Instead, the Komodo Dragon is the remnant of a once widespread ancient order of monitor lizards that today survives on only a handful of the islands. With fewer than 300 of this protected species remaining, the Komodo's very existence hangs in the balance. This giant reptile often measures up to 11 feet in length and can weigh more than 300 pounds. Like other monitor lizards, the head is tapered, the ear-openings are visible, and the neck is long and slender. The Komodo dragon is a carnivore, and lives on the deer and wild pigs that inhabit the island.
It is a good swimmer and for short distances, quite agile and swift on land. The island of Komodo itself is about 60 squares miles in area and volcanic in origin, with dramatic landscapes of 2,000-foot craggy mountains, deep arroyos, canyons, savannahs and monsoon rain forests. Fresh water is scarce on the island, collected during the monsoon season in a few isolated areas. Human habitation is therefore limited to only one settlement in Slawi Bay. Once ashore, you will be escorted on foot to Komodo National Park for a walking tour in search of the Komodo dragon. Walking about one mile accompanied by the rangers and an English speaking guide to the fenced area at Banunggulung to look for the dragons. You'll have a chance to take some photos. Guests with minimum walking ability can walk halfway or just stay at the ranger station where Komodo dragons are occasionally seen. An open bar with soft drinks and mineral water is available to you at the ranger station and reception area. The monsoon forests of Komodo teem with activity of other wildlife, particularly in the morning before
the sun is at it peak. Squawking cockatoos flock in often leafless trees, disturbing large green Imperials pigeons, black-napped orioles, sun bird, flowerpeckers, and noisy friarbirds, while shiny black dragoons and enormous crows soar nearby.
Well…. The day was just amazing! The largest of the Komodo dragons was about 3 ½ meters long. They are pretty fierce looking. One of the people who work at the Komodo National Park was bitten by a Komodo Dragon 3 days ago. He is in the hospital in Bali recovering. It was a smaller one that came into the office and attacked his ankles, he ended up with ankles and hand injuries. One of the Komodo Dragons charged after my friends Glenda & Ron while they were on their trek…. I wish I had been there. The other cool thing I saw was this incredible red & black bee…. Pretty fierce for someone allergic to bee stings. The photo of the deer is a sad thing. I was able to get a nice close photo because this deer has been bitten during an attack by a Komodo Dragon and has a pretty bleak future…. The park rangers don’t feed the dragons; thye feed on pigs, deer, etc. We had a nice sail away as we left the Komodo Island park and we are off to Java Indonesia. My head waiter, Yan Yan, is pretty excited since his family will be there for a visit. Tomorrow, a day at sea!!!!

9 comments:

'W CUBED' said...

HEY JEFF,

THE LAST TWO POSTINGS WERE THE BEST YET!!! FANTASTIC!!

I WAS JUST WONDERING, DID RON OUTRUN GLENDA??? BE SURE TO FIND OUT FOR ME....I CAN PICTURE IT NOW!!LOL

PLEASE GIVE THEM MY BEST...

'W CUBED'

Anonymous said...

Great shots. Poor dear, made me soo sad. I woudn't want to be anywhere near those nasty dragons.

Thanks for sharing...CW

Anonymous said...

Jeff, all I can say is awesome!!!! B-FL

Holly said...

HOLY Dragons! If they can take down a deer the size of the one you got the picture of, dang, I'm guessing they could break a human in two pretty quickly. The ranger that got bitten must be very lucky he escaped even a small one. I hope he'll be ok. Fantastic photos as always.

blair4990 said...

Wow!! What a great experience. Thank you so much for the descriptions and the pictures. Those Komodo Dragons are pretty scary looking.

allan said...

fantastic adventure. You are having the best time. we are so happy for you. Allan and Sandra

Julie said...

Jeff, I wonder if Lukman Firdaus is also getting off the ship in Java. He cared for us and our cabin when we were on the first 14 days with you. He was the best! If there is any chance to wish him well for us please do. Thanks, Julie and Gary (6112)

Jeff Farschman said...

W3,
There are unconfirmed reports that Glenda ran past Ron shouting "Get out of my way Dragon bait".

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info and pics! My folks are cruising there soon and I'm trying to make sure that they go see the dragons. A once in a lifetime experience... By the way, the "bee" is actually a beetle -- looks like a blister beetle, so pretty fierce in its own way...

Mike