Musical Chairs and then some Komodos

In our last post, we had mentioned our sleeping arrangement on the boat and so would like to explain that portion in detail here. Our boat pulled onto Komodo Island to drop off the French couple that we had met. Sabeen and I now alone with just the crew passed off the time pleasantly enough watching the sky and observing the stars. Earlier, we had noticed some buggy creatures walking around the boat but didn't give it much thought until the time had come for us to bed down and sleep for the night.

The crew put down couple of mattresses for us on the deck, when we noticed a huge cockroach sauntering around as if he owned the boat near our beds. I had also noticed smaller ones coming out from cracks and below the deck as evening progressed. We both knew that trying to lie down and sleep in such conditions would be impossible and so decided to improvise our sleeping arrangement.

My wife had the brilliant idea of taking the deck chairs to design a makeshift bed. We had about 5 chairs to work with, so after a few different designs and tweaks, it was decided that since I was taller I would have 3 chairs to lie down on and Sabeen would rest her feet on my third chair. We put the pillow under us to provide some cushion and pulled the ikat blanket on top of us to try and spend the 6 hours before daybreak. I actually managed to sleep, while Sabeen on the other hand did not. Regardless, we woke up at 5 AM or so to prepare our hike on Komodo Island at 7 AM.

As we disembarked the boat and met up with the ranger to begin our 2 hour hike when we got in line with a Swedish family who was doing a longer hike and decided to follow them on (we got lucky, only paid for a 1 hour hike). As soon as we had started that we noticed a Komodo sluggishly walking the trail, which we followed for a few feet before he was pushed off by the ranger to clear the path for the remaining hikers. This was the biggest Komodo we had seen so far. Komodo Island is bigger than Rinca and has a population of about 1,200 resident dragons. According to the rangers, it is difficult to spot dragons on Komodo Island, due to its size at approximately 32 Sq KM, so we considered ourselves lucky to have seen one at the start of our trek. We continued hiking through the island and spotted a flying lizard, monkeys, cuckatoos, and heard sounds of many exotic tropical birds overhead. Komodo Island also has a resident deer population and the dragons actively hunt these. By the conculsion of our hike, we spotted another dragon but it quickly disappeared in the bushes. As we made it back to the ranger station, there were baby dragons along with about 3 or 4 adult dragons lounging around....This was a bad location as it was right near the bathroom.

We got back on the boat to head to Pink Beach to snorkle. The boat sailed for about an hour, which we passed by eating lunch. We pulled up to the stop, pulled on our masks and dived in. The reef was spectacular, with 6 foot and wider coral fans including Brain coral, sponges, Sea Cucumbers, and a rainbow of tropical fish including some huge Jacks and blue green Parrot Fish. There were sea urchins below our feet and colorful sea anemones with fish playing inside its protective cover from preys. While we enjoyed the beautiful colorful underwater garden, little did we know of the impending storm blowing our way.

After an hour or so, we left our watery world, got back on the boat to find another snorkeling spot called Angel Island when some serious weather moved in. The skies closed in, the water turned a dull grey, the wind picked up, and the crew battoned down the hatches to prepare for a wet ride back home instead. The rain started and came down in sheets, we couldn't make out any of the outlying islands and instead contended ourselves with freshly served Pineapple. We got back safely but cold and wet and made a beeline for our hotels before closing out the day with some hot Bakso (meatball soup).

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