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Old 12-06-2011, 09:44 PM   #77
The Bigfella OP
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Joined: Apr 2010
Location: One of the Burj's
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Hmmm - now there's a thought. Another three wives.

OK..., let's change the topic from wives to Dragons eh?

This is a lovely wooden tourist boat we passed on the way out of Labuan Bajo

A local fishing boat. Sorry about the second boat behind.... mucks up the shot a bit, but this shows the massive beam of these things with their outriggers.

We visited the two main islands where the Komodo Dragons are. Rinca and Komodo, with an overnight stop between them.

They'll let anyone drive these tourist boats by the look of things. I did mention that things got a bit ugly around the head after that visit to the $1.40 barber.

Sheesh... practically shorn on top, no beard. What's the world coming to?

Whenever we pulled up out around the dragon-occupied islands, which we did a fair bit so that we could snorkel over the coral, etc, some locals would show up and try and flog us some souvenirs... without much success. This guy was a hoot.

They tied up alongside us at one stage and all the guys were sanding away at wooden dragon carvings. I felt a bit guilty when we pigged out on banana fritters (and Bintang) and as a bit of an afterthought, I offered the last one to this kid....

His old man grabbed it, snaffled half of it and handed the rest to the kid. "Hungry" he said.... or words and actions to that effect. I really did feel an arsehole for not having thought to share some more. As is always the case, it was a different relationship with them after that. Friends (sort of) not just targets. They stayed alongside, sanding away with scraps of sandpaper for ages.

Our crew were fabulous cooks

Sunset over the islands

I ended up sleeping on the cabin top of our boat, which was very pleasant. Up here, under a bit of an awning

We were rafted up to another boat, with 3 Americans (we met them again onshore for dinner) - Doug is retired from high-level govt work in Washington, Joanne, his wife is a travel writer (took our details... sounded like we were appearing in a story) and Heather, their daughter, is married to a World Bank guy and is living in Indo for a while. She was quite interested in our views on the UN in Timor-Leste.

Doug heard me waking the crews up at 3:30am to re-secure the boats as we drifted through the bay from Flying Fox Island.... just off Komodo Island. This might explain our predicament a bit... one of the guys on the Arak... on top of the couple of dozen Bintangs we'd taken along

I have to say, it was damn hard to wake them up.

Now.... Dragons.... Big Dragons.

Here's a big steamer we found on the walking trail. That's a damn serious lizard poop.

and a tail drag mark and claw prints on our track....

Sort of funny walking the island knowing that you are being stalked. The last tourist to get eaten was a Swiss guy back in '74... but the guide who was bitten 2 weeks ago had to be flown out to Bali for treatment - after a long, slow boat ride

Our guide on Komodo Island said we were extremely lucky to see this. 3 Komodo Dragons and 2 stags (Timor Deer) at the waterhole. Adult Komodo only need to eat once a month, target carrion and water buffalo, deer, pigs, humans, etc... and here they were, trying for a venison snack.

Right about now, I was really, really spewing that my D100 had died. Still... the little P&S did a reasonable job.

They are big buggers .. 10' long and the largest studied was 165 kg. The females guard the eggs vigorously, but will eat their own young once hatched... so the young take to the trees. We saw one young one.... about the size of an Aussie goanna.

They can run at 18kmh.... I've got video of one walking but its a bit dodgy. My guide got a bit panicky a couple of times when I snuck in for closeup photos. The guides all carry a forked stick to fend the big buggers off if they have a shot at a 'long pig' snack. This is on Komodo

There really was a lot of food around for the dragons...

You have to love the local engineering. Our anchor is a typical example.

Flying Fox Island

A man should only do the work that is required of him. To do more is a form of greed.

Ride through Oz and Asia
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