Sunday 3 July
Rinca Island: Komodo National Park
The flight from Bali to the western region of Flores island took 1 hour. The people here make their living from fishing, growing rice and coffee, and by mining silicon. (Silicon is a mineral used in building materials and for making computer chips)
We travelled by small boat for 2 hours to the island of Rinca, one of just three islands where the Komodo dragons live. Rinca and Komodo are the biggest islands in a group of 22 that make up the Komodo National Park where the wildlife is protected. On the way we saw dolphins swimming and diving through the green-blue water.
Mangroves surrounding the islands are home to monkeys and bats
Mangroves surrounding the islands are home to flying foxes (fruit bats) and long-tailed macaques.(monkeys)
Small villages could be seen at places along the shoreline of some of the islands. In the villages a typical family farm house is built of wood, on stilts and with roof thatched with palm leaves. The family’s goats and chickens are kept safe inside a fenced area, protected from dragons, crocodiles and sea eagles which prey on the farm animals.
Komodo dragons use their tongues to collect smells
On the trek through forest (tamarind trees, palms, and jarak trees) to find the dragons we also saw a troop of monkeys, buffalo and wild chickens. These are all prey (food) for the dragons. To catch a monkey, the dragon lies in wait, camouflaged in the scrub, then when the monkey is close, the dragon used it’s tail to stun the monkey before biting it.
Keeping a safe distance away, we followed a large male along a track for awhile. When it began to run, (away from us!) it moved quickly for such a large animal.
Village on the island shoreline
Sailing to a calm part of the sea for an overnight stop we passed fishing boats, saw schools of fish and more dolphins.
As it got dark, thousands of fruit bats left the mangroves, where they roost during the day, flying out to feed on fruit trees on the islands.
kidcyber recommends Dara Nusa Tours & Travel.
This very reliable company arranged our successful trip
to Flores and the Komodo National Park in 2011.