After an exhausting first day in Komodo National Park, I was up early. I’m not sure what time it was as I’d left my watch in Bali and my phone was off. I slept well on the boat but was woken up each time the wind blew through the small boat and the tarpaulin made a loud rustling noise. As dawn broke, I could hear the loud shrieking of flying foxes returning to their nests and figured it must be about 6am. The Peruvians were still asleep so I changed and went downstairs. I brushed my teeth over the edge of the boat (!) and waited for breakfast.
Breakfast was served at 6.30am as we approached Komodo island.
Breakfast consisted of mango milkshakes, nasi goreng and fruit.
At 7am, our guide told us we had to get to the island quickly as the waves were quite rough – this made getting off the boat rather difficult.
When the crew told him to, the male Peruvian jumped off the bow onto the jetty and slipped. Great, if he couldn’t do it, I didn’t stand a chance. I sat on the bow so I didn’t have too far to jump and thankfully didn’t fall over when I landed. Getting back on the boat would be interesting!
We met our guide, Irfan – he had been a trainee ranger for 1 week. Oh good, we were in capable hands then. He took us on the medium trek – we didn’t have a choice.
He said it wasn’t a very steep trek – there is a stark difference between the terrains of Rinca and Komodo islands. Komodo seems much flatter – and the vegetation is also completely different. Rinca was savannah while Komodo was woodland. While Rinca was silent (apart from the breeze), on Komodo island I could hear the buzzing of insects as they whizzed past me every few seconds.
Irfan told us that Komodo dragons live in trees for the first 5 years of their lives – this is because they get eaten by the adult dragons. You can just about see one poking its head out of the tree in the photo below.
Irfan lied. There was one steep part of the trek. My legs were already aching from the day before – I knew I’d be in serious trouble the next day.
Instead of water buffalo, there were wild deer on the island. This deer had only one antler.
Once again, there were a couple of dragons lazing around at the rangers’ station.
Our trek took us about an hour – I think it was about 2km long. It was still only 8.30am!
We headed back to the boat – I could see it bobbing up and down as we walked down the jetty and wondered how we were going to get back on.
The male Peruvian went first and almost hit his head on the wooden bar at the top of the pier. I was up next. The crew told me to wait, even though the boat’s bow had lowered for a couple of seconds. It rose again – and when it lowered the second time, they told me to jump on. I jumped so that I was sitting with my legs hanging off the edge. I pulled my legs in and for some inexplicable reason, the female Peruvian thought this would be the opportune moment for her to jump on board as well. It wasn’t. The crew started shouting and I have no idea what happened because I had been pushed down so that my face was practically touching the ground. Anyway, everything was fine – nobody got hurt.
We left Komodo and sailed towards Pantai Merah (Pink Beach) on the other side of Komodo island where we were going to be snorkelling.
It was a tiny beach and it was not pink, but the marine life was amazing. I saw a stingray and thousands of fish in the coral! I wasn’t in the water for very long – after learning how to dive, snorkelling feels a little dull. I swam back to the boat and dried off on the deck. As I was sitting there a small speedboat drove into the bay – eight divers were getting their gear ready and when they were all set, four on each side of the boat, I could hear one of them: ‘One, two, three!’ On ‘three’, they all rolled back into the water at the same time. I watched them descend with envy.
We had an early lunch on board while we were still anchored at Pantai Merah. The captain suspected we might encounter some rough water on our way back to Labuan Bajo and thought we should eat first while we were in still water. Lunch was mie goreng, calamari, tempe, fried aubergine, and mangoes.
It took us a couple of hours to get back to Labuan Bajo and luckily it was smooth sailing. Our guide took us to our hotel – Golo Hilltop Hotel. It was basic, but it was clean.
There is nothing to do in Labuan Bajo so we spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool.
It was much hotter than it was in Bali, and by 4.30 I’d had enough. I showered and sat on my shaded porch with my book. The view was beautiful.
I went back to the pool area to watch the sunset.
I had an early dinner with the Peruvians and we were back in our rooms at 7pm. I read for a while and passed out by 9pm!
We were at breakfast by 6.45am the next day.
We were collected at 7.30 for our flight back to Bali.
I mentioned previously that the airport at Labuan Bajo is simple. On our way into the airport I realised that there was no security. No security at all. There was an X-ray machine but it wasn’t being used. People were smoking in and around the terminal. It was like being back in the 70s. Our flight eventually showed up (nobody seemed to know what time it was supposed to leave) and I was pleased to see it wasn’t a propeller plane this time!
Komodo was an amazing experience – I’m so glad I went!