Another early wake up, we see the sun rising as we cover the last little way towards Komodo Island. We are traveling through a channel between 2 land masses and the water is weird here, lots of little whirlpools and odd looking currents running in unpredictable directions. We are all eating breakfast, buffet style as usual, when the boat hits what must have been a very big whirlpool, the deck tips rapidly and food and hot beverages go flying, fortunately the boat rights itself quickly and the crew have the mess cleaned up and food replaced so fast that 2 minutes after it happened you couldn’t even tell.

Arriving onto the island we are split into 2 groups and each group has 2 Rangers. Each Ranger carries a stick taller than their height; the stick is forked near the end and quite sturdy. This is to keep the dragons at bay in case they come towards us as they are wont to do apparently. We are also informed (a bit late I might add) that if any of the women are `at that time of the month` it is not advised that they do the tour as the dragons can smell it and will likely attack, information that might have been provided when booking one would think. Fortunately none of us ladies has Aunt Flo visiting (or none of us admit to it anyways) so everyone gets to go see the dragons.

It`s about an hour hike through a dry landscape, this is not the rainforest. The dragons aren’t caged, they roam wild in the area we are walking in, one Ranger in the front talks about various plants and other wildlife we see while another Ranger brings up the rear, watching our backs. We see a small dragon right away, it`s quite young and looks very much like a large monitor lizard, we all take about a billion photographs of course. We continue our walk and see lots of wild deer, some beautiful white cockatoos and a couple more Komodo Dragons, each one successively bigger than the one before it. The last one is longer than I am tall, and probably outweighs me by about 50 to 70 pounds. He is laying on the trail as we approach and lazes around for a bit, blocking our way, until it decides to start heading down the path in front of us. We follow him, jockeying for positions near the front on the narrow path so we can get more pictures.

Intimidating.

Showing a little tongue for the close up.

We finish the hike at an area where the Rangers live and it`s here that we see the most dragons, they come and hang out around here because they can smell the food the Rangers cook and it attracts them. There must be about eight of them, hanging out, lurking in the shadows under the stilted buildings. Everyone goes photo crazy and the poor Rangers have their work cut out for them trying to make sure we are all safe. As we head to the pier to get our ride back to the boat we pass through a gauntlet of souvenir touts selling sarongs and Komodo t-shirts, “real” pearls and carved Komodo Dragons.

The typical landscape we are traveling through.

It’s time for more travel, spending that time lounging around the boat, napping, sunbathing, reading, flirting with “The Italian”, etc. etc. In the afternoon we hit up our last snorkel spot, a place called Pink Beach. It`s pink because mixed in with the creamy white sand are tiny pieces of coral coloured coral, it`s subtle but quite pretty when you see it close up. It`s the prettiest beach we’ve visited, made even more so by knowing it`s our last stop,  there is that sense of bittersweetness that happens at the end of a journey, you are excited about the place you will be visiting but know that everyone will be parting and the company has been lovely. A couple of the girls find a half of a giant clam shell, it`s been bleached by the sun to a perfect white and I can imagine it being home to a miniature Venus. I get this shot as a memento of “The Italian”, a perfect Michelangelo moment.

“The Italian”

As we are nearing Flores, our final destination,  a couple of dolphins come alongside to play in the wake from the boat, we are all mesmerized, lots of ohs and ahs and giggles, what a perfect ending. Those of us who are disembarking do so once we arrive in Labuanbajo, some people are staying on board for the 2 day return trip to Lombok (including “The Italian” sigh). There is a farewell party back on board tonight though, so we find accommodation, get cleaned up and head back for final farewells. It’s a fun night and my 3 day Italian flirtation cumulates into kisses under the stars.

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