Ligaya in Komodo, Indonesia
We sailed to Komodo Island, home of the fabled Komodo Dragons. The island is a few miles from Labuan Bajo, and it is only on Komodo and the neighbouring island of Rinca that the Dragons are known to exist. When we first arrived at the island, we anchored off the town of Komodo.

The anchor had barely hit the water before we were surrounded by boatloads of very persistent salesmen. They were selling a variety of stuff, from tee-shirts, to carved wooden dragons, supposedly real Dragon's teeth and cultivated pearls.

The kids in their dugouts were mainly interested in sweets and pens "for school".

 

Whilst waiting for the salesmen to disperse, Lizzy kept us amused by trying her hand in a dugout. It was not as easy as she had anticipated.

Eventually, since the salesmen would not leave, we did, sailing around to the tranquility of the National Park.

As we have rather come to expect, we had the anchorage to ourselves. We were lucky though with the timing of our visit, because the previous week, the cruise ship Volandam, which we had seen in Darwin, paid a visit with 800 passengers on board. That would have been a nightmare.
On the beach, and around the camp where the park rangers live, we saw quite a lot of deer. It was quite a sobering thought when we learned that a large Komodo Dragon can bring down a fully grown deer. These are seriously large lizards.

Accompanied by a guide, we set off into the jungle to look for Dragons.

Jess and Rosie lead the way across one of the bridges on the trail.

The park is a refuge for all kinds on wild life as well as the dragons. Here an eagle is taking a break on a dead tree.
It was not just the fauna that was interesting; there was a wide variety of plant life too. Here is one of the many orchids that live on the trees. We also saw a large fern, which is like a living fossil. It was in existence when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth.

Obviously though, the highlight of any visit to Komodo has to be finding a Dragon. They are not easy to find, as they are entirely free to roam, and in the park they have a strict rule against even the rangers feeding them. On two excursions, we found just two, a medium-sized female about 4 feet long and a much smaller young one, hiding in the upper part of a dead tree.

The guide showed a very healthy respect for this female, as he lured her out of the bush for us to see her better. He had told us tales of various people getting killed by the dragons, including one over ambitious Swiss visitor, who ventured alone into the mountains. He did not return, and after several weeks of searching, all that was ever found were his glasses and his camera, the rest of him had become Dragon food.

As she emerged, the Dragon was continually "tasting" the air for danger, with her forked tongue.

When she had eventually had enough, she gave us a rather disdainful glance over her shoulder and waddled off back into the bush.

There are plenty of other lizards on the island. One of the more curious types are the flying lizards. They are able to spread the flap of skin between their legs, and can glide for remarkably long distances.
When the web of skin is retracted, they look like pretty much any other lizard.
There is a small guest house in the park. It would certainly be interesting to stay there for a few days, and make longer treks into the mountains. Time was pressing for us, and we sailed away that evening.
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