Flores and Komodo National Park is fast becoming popular with divers and tourist alike. It's as close as you can get to visiting Jurrasic Park, If you get the chance go their now before all of the other tourists get there. Here is what I got up to.
From Bali I flew to Typical result External hyperlinks, like Labuan Bajo. On the Island of Flores, one of the 13466 that make up Indonesia. This is mainly a fishing town with tourism for diving and for Komodo national park. The next day I went on a 2 day boat trip to visit the three main Islands that make up the National park: Komodo, Padar and Rinca.
The first day was mainly spent snorkelling and was really impressive, but as it was all under water I couldn't take photos. The coral reefs were small and undamaged and the water was really blue and clear. You could easily see to a depth of 3 or 4 metres. I saw a massive variety of fish, think finding Nemo and yes I did see clownfish, Moorish idol fish and many more. There were also lots of red and pink star fish like the ones that you stick on your bath.
On the boat I saw several pods of dolphins, but I couldn't quite a get a decent photo. We also visited Padar and walked to the top to see the view. Hard to see in the photos, but Padar has 3 different colour beaches. Black (from volcanic rock) and White and Pink (from coral).
As we left Rinca, I saw a White-bellied sea Eagle perched on the cliff.
The next lot of snorkeling was with Manta Rays (not to be confused with stingrays) I didn't get super close to them as the water was pretty deep with a fast current, but they were a couple of metres below me. Very impressive and you could see the smaller fish feeding off their back.
The next day started with a good sunrise over Komodo island.
When we docked at Komodo we saw some Lion fish by the boat, which is unusal as they are normally found at depth. Also saw this mean looking poisonous snake, luckily I didn't see any of these when I was snorkelling.
When you arrive on the Island you have to pay a park entrance fee and go with a guide. They carry a thumb-stick, i'm not entirely sure how effective it would be, but I think the komodo dragons I saw probably get a lot of tourists gawping at them, so they seemed to ignore tourists. The guides were pretty vigillent and would stop you if you got too close. The Komodo dragons are the main predator and eat deer, water buffalo and I think the guide on Rinca said there were also wild horses there. We were on the island by 7:30 am, before it got too hot and we luckily saw 11 dragons warming up in the sun.
Some of the dragons were very large and 30 - 40 years old. There bite is deadly and they have 54 species of bacteria on their tongue. Apparently they eat around once a month. Usually they ambush and bite their prey and wait for it to slowly die before they follow them smell and eat it. We also saw some orange-footed scrubfowl
The dragons were nesting at this time of year. When the eggs hatch the baby Komdo dragons live up in the trees for the first 3 years, before they turn into the monsters above. In the afternoon, we did some snorkeling off the pink beach on Komodo (It looked more pink in real life), then we ended the day visiting Rinca, which has open savannahs and looked just like Jurrasic park.
It was getting very hot by this point and most of the dragons were hiding in the shade. There was even a deer hiding under a 'different' building. It was also beginning to be unpleasant walking around in the heat and giving the island my full attention. There were also quite a few Crab-Eating Macaque Monkeys on Rinca Island.
I didn't see any water buffalo, so I think there was more to see in the national park (or the dragons had eaten them all), but not somewhere you could walk around alone and also quite oppressive heat at this time of year. Now I am now stuck on Flores for a couple of days, due to the volcano in Bali closing the airport.