Indonesia is the largest island nation in the world with over 13,000 islands. This is just about +6,000 more than found in the Philippines. So no matter how much of Indonesia we could squeeze into our short trip, we would only see a handful of islands.
To give you an overview of our travels, we started off on Java, to Flores, to Kelor island, Padar island, Komodo island, Gili Laba, and Moyo Island, to Lombok, and finally to Bali. While we hopped around quite a bit we only visited 11 of the +13,000 islands! The beginning of our trip was island hopping with Wanua adventure for 4 days. During these 4 days our schedule was hike and snorkel, read and nap, eat, and repeat.
The most exciting of the islands was Komodo island.
As the name implies, Komodo is home to the Komodo dragon. These are the largest, and heaviest, reptiles in the world. The biggest Komodo dragon ever caught was 3.63 meters (10.3 feet) long, weighing 166 kilograms (366 pounds). They use their tongue to smell the air and hunt prey. After the Komodo dragon ambushes it’s prey it only needs to bite it once. Even if the animal escapes anyways, the venom in it’s saliva will kill the animal in about 4 days. The Komodo dragon can smell rotting flesh from 4 kilometers away (2.5 miles), so after the animal dies, the Komodo dragon only needs to get there before the other Komodo dragons to secure it’s meal. (Smithsonian National Zoo). Komodo dragons are endemic to only a few Indonesian islands. With Wanua adventure, we got to visit one of these islands.
Upon arrival we already spotted one Komodo dragon lazily sitting on the beach, basking in the sun. Since they are cold blooded animals, they have to sit in the sun to aide their digestion. Otherwise, their meal ends up rotting in their stomach and can cause a lethal infection. We met our guides and our group was led into the forest. As we’re walking and looking around Dani notices the three guides are distributed through-out the group and they’re carrying long forked wooden walking sticks.
Dani: “What do you think those sticks are for?”
Me: “I’m pretty sure those are for the Komodo dragons”
Shout out to Dani for the amazing close ups!
We walked into a clearing and saw the infamous Komodo dragon, lazily laying in the sun, not the slightest bit concerned with his visitors. We walked down one of the pathways and saw another Komodo dragon, not far from the first laying across the pathway. Suddenly the first one got up from it’s comfortable sunny spot and walked after us down the pathway. Finding ourselves between the two Komodo dragons, I determined that there were enough of us that I probably wouldn’t end up as Komodo dragon lunch.
Still not concerned with the people at all the one began slowly walking towards the second. They are extremely territorial animals and so the larger first one chased the second one away from the path and back into the woods. After that we walked through the rest of the park without much other excitement. A few deer, who would probably later become Komodo food, and some time on the beach.
After our 4 days of boating were over, we arrived in Lombok and traveled 7 hours to our next destination, Bali.