|Alli at the park entrance on Rinca island. Woo-hoo! Dragons bout to get seen.|
When I see a fat adult monster walking toward me I get amped and run in its direction, burning inside with an eagerness to see if its a specimen I've had the pleasure of meeting before. I've seen many a video on Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) and read quite a few words on these beasts. I never found that it's a smart idea to run toward them. On their islands these beasts reign supreme, and if I really did jog up into one's personal space, I'd probably look like a much bigger idiot than any Star Wars fan decked out in one of the saga's character's costumes. I also could get dead.
The Lady and I spent three days looking for Komodos (22 - 24 Nov; a dragon Thanksgiving). Largest lizard in the world. Have killed people and ate children. Live on only a handful of dry Indonesian islands. The lore around these herps could fill up a moldy East coast basement with ease. In reality it's very easy to see them. No romantic trekking through the desert savanna into remote territory looking for colossal lizards was undertaken. Our first day was spent on Rinca island, slightly smaller than Komodo and way less famous. Rinca (pronounced rin-cha) is the Alfred Russel Wallace of the Komodo's range. Everyone knows of Komodo and Darwin. The first two we spotted were a male (below photo) and a female both taking a siesta in the shade of a tree, right next to the visitor center! Komodos seen!
Our "long" trek on Rinca produced the following: three more dragons, all females. Two were guarding their nests and one was passed out under a sprawling tree, splayed out on a slab of rock. The protective females were a sight to see, alert and watchful. You looked at them and they had their eye on you, with their tongue flicking and head up, knowing intruders were in the area. In an interesting tidbit of natural history the ladies guard the nests for the first 3 months and then says "ahhh, you know what, fageddaboutit," and moves on. Adult dragons will also make a meal out of the juveniles, which is why their first years of life are spent up in the trees, not touching ground. Total dragon count on Rinca: niner.
|Dragon nest, non-active though.|
|Alli about halfway through our trek on Rinca. We had the valley to ourselves.|
|Two more kitchen dragons - one lady and one man.|
|This and the two photos below are of the first female we saw on-the-go that second day.|
|The second lady as she walks on by (I was not relaxed to Isaac Hayes at this point, heart was thumpin').|
|Tongue flick - it's the color of your snot when your sick. Dark yellow.|
|Comin' at ya!|
|Me: "Holy shit!!!!" as I'm about to get my squat on. I think Alli was thinking the same thing.|
|Overlooking Loh Liang, and not too sweaty.|
|Our faces in this photo and below are priceless.|
|It's impossible for me to look at this photo and not think of Boddy De Niro's famous Taxi Driver line.|
|Up close and personal. Hello good sir.|
But right as we were heading to the dock to meet our boat what do we see passed out in the welcome hut to the park at the pier. A dragon of course. Ventral down on the ground and eyes closed. We let this one sleep. Around its back and onward to the boat we went.
|Blogger doesn't want to cooperate with this photo I already altered so you get the sideways edition. Our goodbye Komodo in the welcome hut.|
|Kampung Komodo on the right. The only village on the island. The people actually have a high respect for these lizards even though people have died because of them.|
|Heading up the hill from Loh Liang.|
|Sweatiest man on Komodo. Guaranteed.|
|Overlooking Loh Sebita and islands east of Komodo, including Siaba.|
|The parched, dry landscape.|