Since you were a kid you most likely heard the rumours that dragons are real. Well, they may not be the same slithering fire breathing beasts we were raised on but indeed, they do. I was recently exploring Bali and trying to decide where to head to next – Gili T, I thought? When a few google searches led me to the magnificent monitor lizards that roams the islands of Rinca and Komodo. A one hour and fifteen minute flight you say? Ticket booked.
Labuan Bajo is the gateway town to Komodo National Park, a rusty little fishing village with a few trendy restaurants and a slew of diving shops selling their trips. While strolling for a bottle of water a specific sign caught my attention “4 Day / 3 Night Live-aboard. One spot left.” Ummmmm dates line up, price is right – let’s do this!
So, I’m going diving now with a half day allocated towards tracking the dragons on Rinca island. All I can say about the entire trip is I came for the dragons that roam our earth but it was the world that exists beneath the waters surface that left me in awe. I will let the video below speak for itself. *I am not inside of an aquarium*
Turtles? Sharks? Manta Rays? Yup, yup, yup! Every dive surpassed it’s predecessor. With ten dives in total I pushed some new personal boundaries including a night dive and a negative decent. One specific drift dive I recall seeing 4 divers flying past me in the opposite direction only 3m below. Crazy!
The marine life was absolutely remarkable and kept me engaged nearly every second I spent with a regulator in my mouth. Each tank emptied contributed to my wildlife bucket list being filled. Seeing 20+ Manta’s in a single dive was so remarkable I wouldn’t have believed I had experienced it with my own eyes had it not been for my GoPro footage. Upon surfacing I looked at my buddy and we simultaneously said “that was one of the best experiences of my life!”
On the final morning as we headed back towards Labuan Bajo we pulled into the jetty on Rinca island to search for the resident dragons. With nothing but a park ranger armed with a Y shaped stick to protect us, we headed down the allocated path. It wasn’t long until we spotted the infamous Komodo (3 actually) laying in the shade to escape the intense heat. Near motionless they lay rested, with only the odd blink of the eye to rid themselves of the flies that surrounded them. We waited patiently, I got down on my stomach with my camera steady hoping for some excitement. Nothing. It wasn’t until the group started to head back after 30 minutes that the largest of the three stood up and slowly moved closer to the others. With a quick flick of the tongue I got the shot I had wanted all along.
Komodo you are incredible. Komodo you are life changing. I wanted to keep this article short strictly as a teaser of a location I strongly encourage you to go witness for yourself.
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As always, the opinion is that of the author.