If you didn’t read my last blog about my boat trip in Indonesia, you can read part 2 in the blog section. My last post had me being chased by Komodo Dragons, so let’s see what trouble I get into on Komodo Island and beyond.
On Komodo Island is Komodo National Park. We are still on a quest to encounter a Komodo Dragon and hopefully not be chased by one or more than one. We hike all the while aware of impending danger. But the fisherman really taught us to not be so serious. We have a guide and feel remotely safe. There are cabins with platforms in the national park, so you can have a height advantage over the dragons. It is from this platform that I have the most surreal experience of my life. All my friends are standing about 40 feet from the cabin and I’m on the platform. Below me is a Komodo Dragon of about five feet in length. Since she is focused on my friends, I reach down and touch her side. Her skin is tight and rough like a crocodile. She is covered in clay like dirt. I rub her side a little, but she doesn't move or finch. I imagine that a dinosaur would have felt much the same. This makes me feel like I’ve taken a trip back in time. This is amazing. I leave this island with an incredible sense of accomplishment.
On this second to last day of the trip (day 4) we are passing by islands like cars on a freeway. The cook stops in at Sulawesi to get food for dinner. He takes the dugout canoe that has a hole in it, and makes his way to the island’s market. All of us westerners are amazed that he’s managing to row the boat and dump water out with the pail. We watch him get to the island and back with a live chicken. At some point in the late afternoon, the chicken is butchered and cooked. Time again is irrelevant and we waste the day drinking. The captain stops at another island so we can bathe in the spring water of a waterfall and swimming hole. It is so stunning. I can hardly believe that this exists. We have to go in threes over to the island with one person returning to the boat to pick up more people. We do this until everyone is on the island. Honestly, we do worry that the captain might take off with our stuff, but he never does.
The crew even does their laundry here. For this moment, we are all equal. We are all laughing, happy and have no cares. Eventually, we make it back to the boat and the captain leaves the cook in charge of the boat. All of us westerners are back on board and we decide that the captain and crew need to be teased for their actions on Rinca with the Komodo Dragon. So, we start the boat, but we don’t go anywhere. From the boat we can see the island and the captain and crew. They are freaking out and yelling. They are speaking Bahasa and we can’t make out what they are saying. But we are laughing hysterically as they are scrambling to get in the dugout canoe. Once back on board, we get the cook to tell them we were getting back at them for their joke on us. They did laugh in the end, thankfully.
This night we party as it is our last night. As darkness falls, we only have the moonlight to guide our way. My friend Eric, the kiwi and ex-rugby player, decides that he is going to do the Haka. I’m not sure if you have seen the Haka, but it’s a Maori war dance and it’s pretty scary. Eric stood up in all his splendor and did the Haka for us. It was truly spectacular albeit a little freaky. The captain and crew were so scared. They thought we were taking over their boat. The whole crew hid in the control room for the boat. Once Eric was done, we all cheered and the crew finally realized that we weren’t taking over the boat.
At some point in the middle of the night while we are all sleeping on the top deck a storm rolls in. We are being pelted with warm rain, but the waves are surging. We take to the bottom deck, but something sinister is happening down there. It is full of rats and cockroaches. There is no way we are sleeping down there. So it’s either stay up with the storm or be with the rats and cockroaches. It’s a crappy decision either way.
At some point in the morning, we wake up and it’s beautiful again. The captain got us through another tough situation as we make our way to Lombok. We are all a little sad to say goodbye. We had such a good time with great experiences. Now, I need something other than rice and fish...we are off to KFC for french fries.
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