Feb 4, 2011

Rinca - where the dragons lie

Apart from the fact that our trip to Rinca almost cost us our lives, it is definitely interesting place to see...

Komodo National Park of Indonesia consists of 3 major islands located between Sumbawa and Flores: Komodo, Rinca and Padar. Together they create a nature wonderland that houses 1000 species of fish, 260 species of coral, sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, whales, dolphins and, on land, deers, buffalos, monkeys and of course most renowned Komodo dragons.

We rented a private boat from fishermen on Seraya Island and in 3 hours made it to Rinca (ca. 60 euros for return trip for 2). As for entrance to the UNESCO heritage park, you pay some quite big money for tickets, camera and assisting ranger, who is necessary for any hiking group (altogether ca. 70 euros). The sightseeing rout takes 1,5 hours - 2 hours and it's better to make it in the morning since at 10 AM the heat is already insufferable. Even the dragons we found were lazy and depleted.

Dragons themselves are easy to spot, as well as monkeys and water buffalos - main prey for lizard assassins. The guides are very well educated and will tell you all you would like to know about the life and habits of those devilish creatures all the time keeping you at a safe distance. Supposedly, there were very few incidents of attacks and most often the ranger is just pushing the beasts away with his special stick.

Landscape is not anyhow astonishing - a mixture of unpleasant forest with loads of mosquitoes and sun stricken savanna. Only if you are lucky, you might come upon the feast of dragons eating dead corpse of bufallo that had been first poisoned by their bite and then followed for weeks until death. All we saw were some fresh bones at the stream.

Trip to Rinca offers also possibility of splendid snorkeling and diving and most of trip organizers include it in the price for boat. We have seen Pink Beach (Pantai Merah) and were pleasantly surprised by rose colored corals hiding thousands of amazing fish, though in this amazement we also bumped eye to eye with poisonous catfish.

Finally, there is also an option of staying on the sea until 6 PM for most spectacular flying foxes massive migration. Every evening those big bats fly from one island to another covering whole visible sky and arousing big excitement in tourists. Palau Kalong is all covered by magrove trees making it perfect habitat for fruit hungry bats. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to last cause by 3 PM we were caught by horrible storm (early rain season in September) and on crappy fishing boat we were literally fighting for survival.

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