Day11 – Diving and Komodos in Rinca
Today’s program was two more dives, plus a stop off at Rinca (another 250000Rp). It was good, because chartering a separate boat would cost more, and this way i’d get two more dives. We decided to dive first, so that I can get at least some time (24 hours no flight rule). Today’s group was Nicklas and Inggar, an father & son team whose names I didn’t get, plus a lost french guy Francois. He was supposed to be on some other boat I think.
Missed my breakfast again, those guys at Gardena really take forever to prepare breakfast, and I wasn’t willing to wake up an hour earlier.
Today was at Tatawa Besar, an island with steep drop offs of up to 70m. It was a good drift dive, mostly soft corals, lots of micro life. Dominique was the master of spotting nudibranches and small stuff like monkey crabs. I saw what I thought was an octopus, but the photo came out bad. It was in a hole, with big eyes and changed to from grey to black when it sensed I was threatening.
Second dive was on Tengah Island, which was a multi-level wall dive on the blindside of the strong currents. Here was moray eels, more nudibranches. The dives were long too. I had my buoyancy sorted and my air lasted much longer than before.
After lunch on the boat, proceeded to make a stopover at Rinca. Since we already had the 3 day pass to Komodo National Park, we didn’t have to pay extra. The 1hr guided track was included. A 2hr trek will be 50,000 Rp more. We (me and the Swedish couple) took the 1hr trek, while the rest went on the small boat to dive. Around the office area, especially under the stilt-housed kitchen, were 4 komodos, strutting around, attracted to the food. The largest was lazing right underneath, they called him Big Boss. Haha. Guide Dacosta says that we will go on the trail, but he cannot promise us we will see the komodos along the way, in their natural surroundings. The afternoon walk itself (2pm) was a hot sweaty trudge through dry grassy terrain and muddy streams. We saw 11 komodos in total, 6 at the campsite, and 5 in the while. Including one close up of a little komodo going for a drink by the stream. Other sights were a water buffalo, deer carcass where a komodo had just finished lunch. Basically the komodo dragon is king here, everything else (water buffalos, deers, wild horses, monkeys) is komodo food. There was some news about a local guy who was bitten by a komodo on Komodo Island while picking fruit and died. I heard a similar tale while in Bajawa where someone mentioned two weeks ago some other guy got bitten. Don’t know how true these stories are, could be the same 1 dragon which has developed a taste for human meat.
Going back, there was an incident where the boat ran into a coral atoll. They stopped when they saw it, but the momentum meant the boat landed smack in the middle of a shallow <5m spot. Stuck, because moving would mean the propellers getting damaged. Attempts to start the boat resulted in lots of silt being thrown up. Luckily, the small boat they took out for those other guys to dive while we visited Rinca came in handy. They used in as a tugboat, pulling the Rajawali sideways till it was out of the corals. Luckily it was mostly dead hard corals there. “Celaka” goes Dominique, at the misfortune. Haha.