I spent the night fitfully on a mattress on the deck of our boat. I was awakened at one point when our drifting anchor resulted in a collision with another boat moored nearby and from that point on drifted in and out of awareness of the chatter of 100's of bats returning home. By daybreak, everyone was awake and we were on our way to Komodo.
We got there early and waited for the rangers as more boats dropped off groups of tourists. Luckily, by opting for the longest trek, our group only picked up a lone British guy. The four of us and our ranger headed out leaving the other groups to shuffle through the park en masse.
Shortly into our trek the ranger spotted a baby komodo dragon hiding in a tree. Even with the guide pointing it out, he was hard to spot.
They live in the trees for about the first 4 years of their lives until they're big enough to not be eaten by the other dragons. Apparently the mother dragons dig decoy holes to disguise their nests and will guard the site, but have no qualms with eating their children as soon as they hatch. Sucks to be a baby dragon.
A dragon on the trail
There were only a couple of dragons out on the trail, which seemed a bit disappointing after the hoardes of them on Rinca, but the baby dragon was nice. There were also a few wild pigs and deer to be seen. And a vicious land crab.
The land crab prepares his attack
Back near the ranger's huts and souvenir shop a few more dragons were laying about. The locals clearly are not too worried about them.
As we head back to the boat a swarm of village kids descend upon us to sell crap. Actually, for crap it's pretty decent. The wooden and shell carved Komodos are pretty sweet. Except I don't really need crap. Even if it is hand made and costs only $5, a price which our guide advises we haggle down from. For whatever reason, I must look like a prime target since the kids pretty much leave the others alone to swarm me. I buy nothing. Nor do I exchange the Singapore bills that some guy offers me.
Back on the boat. We stop to snorkel. Solid coral and fish. Back on the boat for lunch. I don't think I've mentioned, but the food on the boat is ridiculously good. I don't know how the cook manages it in the tiny kitchen, but every meal is delicious and there's always more food than we can eat. In addition to this, there are awesome fresh fruit smoothies in between meals. I fall asleep in the sun after lunch and wake up to see dolphins swimming alongside the boat and tropical islands dotting the horizon. This is not a terrible way to spend an afternoon.
In Labuan Bajo we stop by the scuba shop to be sized for gear. There is some hassle since Z's Padi registration was entered incorrectly (wrong B'day) and he didn't have his card on hand. After sorting that out we head to our hotel. It's nice. Only a year old a pool and beach access. The cows and dogs freely roaming the beach are an interesting touch. The rooms in the hotel are ridiculously big and there seem to be more employees than guests at the place (only like 10 rooms total). However, nothing makes me happier than flush toilets and laundry service. Snorkelling may have washed me off, but my clothes were not so fortunate. Amenities are nice sometimes.