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Komodo, the lost world / Komodo, strateny svet

On the quest to see the world's largest lizard, the Komodo dragon. / Vyprava za najvacsim jasterom na svete, varanom komodskym.

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By ZZ

When we were planning our trip to Indonesia, one thing stood out from the beginning - we must see Komodo. As the islands of Komodo are fairly remote the question of how we get there hung in the air until the very last minute. After a couple of experiences with the local sea transportation we both agreed that a 3-day sailing trip on a small boat wasn't the way to go (a boat like this sank in August and 2 people died). And so we agreed on option nr.2, a 24-hour long bus ride including 2 journeys by ferry...this option however faded slowly but surely too, as our legs were screaming for relief after we hiked Mt.Rinjani. That left us with option nr.3, a flight from Bali. Going 4000 meters in altitude felt nothing short of a scenic flight. We saw the "beloved" Mt.Rinjani again, the islands of Sumbawa, Moyo and the spectacular Komodo national park from above.

We landed in the middle of nowhere. Labuanbajo on the Flores island is a small fishing town with an airport serving purely as a getaway to the national park. There are about 20 dive shops, all owned by foreigners - this is indeed the reason why the majority of people come to Komodo. And it is a very good one - the Komodo marine park is one of the best dive spots in the world, leaving behind places like the Great Barrier Reef. Our goal was nevertheless to see a living dinosaur, the biggest lizard in the world in his natural habitat where he survived millions of years. The Komodo dragon. He can be seen only on these few islands, which is the only place on earth. We quickly organized a day trip, which included diving and a visit to the Rinca island (where there is the biggest chance to see the dragons) with one of the dive shops. Excited, we couldn't wait until the next day!

In the morning at 7 am we were walking towards the port of Labuanbajo. The boats were just coming back from fishing. The atmosphere of the moment was unbelievably intense, we found ourselves in this God's forgotten place, splashed by the early rays of sun and a fresh sea breeze. We boarded the boat and sailed 2 hours to the national park. The first 2 stops were underwater. Manta point, on itself a quite boring spot but it is the best place to see the huge, up to 6-meters long manta rays. Finally we spotted one, swimming elegantly below us like the queen of the seas. The second spot was the most beautiful place of the marine reserve - Batu Bolong. This regularly looking rock hides a treasure of hundreds of fish, colorful corals and sea turtles all around. This appears to be a giant fish tank filled with a variety of magnificent color! After 2 dives we got pretty cold from the chilly wind. It was highest time to go for a walk with dinosaurs. We were guided by a local ranger equipped with a wooden stick (this should be the weapon that protects us from the dragons?!). He told us that he even guided the 'Crocodile hunter' Steve Irwin when he was on Komodo! The island gives an intense 'Jurassic park' feeling: the lost world, inhospitable conditions, unbearable heat. It didn't take long to spot the first of the up to 3-meters long lizards underneath the trees. The Komodo dragon is strictly carnivorous, it hunts deers, water buffaloes, monkeys and sometimes it's own children. It can smell prey from the distance of 5 km. Fortunately it can survive by as little as 12 meals per year. We saw the majority of them laying lazily on the ground. Later we saw a female lizard guarding her freshly laid eggs and a young dragon running through the desert. It was an unforgettable experience and we highly recommend it to all nature lovers!

Labuanbajo is a magical place - we enjoyed some splendid sunsets and breathtaking views from our room. Every evening we made our way to the fish market for some delicious grilled sea food. We strolled leisurely through the town and enjoyed the laid back atmosphere. In 3 days however, the time was up and we had to take a sightseeing flight back to Bali. And that's the end on our Indonesian journey. This country truly amazed us by its natural wonders and diversity: orangutans, volcanic lakes, paradisiacal beaches, an underwater world and prehistoric lizards. Wherever you look, you're stunned by the natural beauty of this land. Maybe one of our new favorite destinations?!

...

Ked sme planovali cestu do Indonezie, bolo nam jasne, ze sa musime pozriet na ostrov Komodo. Zostalo ale otvorene, ako sa tam z Lomboku dostaneme. Po par skusenostiach s miestnou lodnou dopravou sme zavrhli moznost cislo jedna: trojdennu plavbu pochybnou barkou. Dohodli sme sa, ze skusime moznost druhu: 24-hodinovu cestu autobusom, zahrnajucu 2 trajekty. Ovsem po vystupe na Mt.Rinjani boli nase nohy ako z kamena, takze sme si nevedeli predstavit mat ich zlozene na sedadle taku dlhu dobu. A tak sme sa vratili na Bali a zvolili moznost tretiu: lietadlo. Bola samozrejme najdrahsia, ale dalo by sa povedat, ze to bol vlastne vyhliadkovy let nad suostrovim Nusa Tenggara. Videli sme tak opat Mr.Rinjani, ostrovy Sumbawa a Moyo a hlavne Komodsky narodny park z vysky.

Prilet do Labuanbajo na ostrove Flores, vychodiska na Komodske suostrovie, je ako pristatie v krajine nikoho. Letisko je opustene a marne by ste tam hladali obchody so suvenirmi. Cele mestecko je vlastne vacsia rybarska dedina s asi 20 potapacskymi skolami a peknym pristavom. Vacsina turistov sem chodi kvoli potapaniu. Nasim cielom bolo ale vidiet zijucu fosiliu, najvacsieho jastera na zemi, ktory vo svojom nedotknutom prirodzenom prostredi prezil miliony rokov. Varan komodsky. Da sa vidiet len tu, na jedinom mieste na svete. Zorganizovat plavbu na ostrov Rinca (kde je najvacsia sanca varany vidiet), nebol problem, vybrali sme sa lodkou hned na druhy den s jednou z potapacskych skol.

Skoro rano o 7 sme uz slapali prebudzajucim sa Labuanbajo do pristavu. Rybarske lode sa prave vracali z lovu. Atmosfera bola ako v dlho zabudnutom meste na konci sveta. Nalodili sme sa a najprv sme sa plavili asi 2 hodiny do narodneho parku. Nase prve dve zastavky boli podmorske. Manta point, ktory je sam o sebe nudny, ale je najlepsim miestom, kde sa daju vidiet obrovske, az 6-metrove manty. A naozaj sa nam podarilo jednu spatrit, plachtila pod nami elegantne ako kralovna mori. Druha zastavka je najkrajsie miesto celeho parku, Batu Bolong. Tato nevinne vyzerajuca skala trciaca z vody skryva pod hladinou neuveritelne bohatstvo: miliony rybiciek (a ryb), farebne koraly a morske korytnacky vsade okolo. Clovek sa z tych farieb moze zblaznit! Po dvoch ponoroch nam bola na lodi uz celkom zima, fukal studeny vietor. A to bol najlepsi cas vydat sa na prechadzku s dinosaurami. Okruhom v rezervacii na Rince nas previedol miestny ranger s drevenou palicou (to ma byt zbran proti varanom?!). Rozpraval nam prihodu, ako po ostrove Komodo viedol 'Lovca krokodilov' Steva Irwina, ktory sa varanov dotykal a utekal pred nimi. Cely ostrov posobi dojmom Jurskeho parku. Strateny svet, nehostinne podmienky, neznesitelna horucava. A predsa sa pod stromami schovavaju obrovske, az 3 metre dlhe jastery. Varan komodsky je striktny masozravec, zerie srnky, vodne byvoly, opice a niekedy aj svoje mladata. Korist dokaze zacitit na vzdialenost 5 km. Nastastie zerie len raz za mesiac. Ked sme ich fotili, len lenivo lezali na zemi. Neskor sme este videli samicu straziacu nakladene vajcia a mladeho varana beziaceho pustou. Tento zazitok na nas spravil obrovsky dojem a vsetkym vrele odporucame!

V Labuanbajo sme si okrem pohodovej atmosfery uzivali este nadherne zapady slnka a vyhlady z nasej izby. Vecer sme si pochutnavali na cerstvych morskych plodoch na miestnom rybom trhu. Bezcielne sme sa prechadzali a nevedeli sa nabazit pomaleho a uvolneneho tempa. Casu sme ale bohuzial mali malo, a tak sme po 3 dnoch opat museli nasadnut na vyhliadkovy let a vratit sa na Bali. A to je koniec nasho indonezskeho putovania. Tato krajina nas ocarila zazrakmi prirody: orangutany, sopecne jazera, vulkanicke plaze, podmorsky svet, prehistoricke jastery. Kam sa clovek pozrie, nestaci otvarat oci a zatvarat pusu. Ze by sme mali novu oblubenu krajinu? ;)

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Posted by zuzana.zav 23:34 Archived in Indonesia

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