Monday, 3 September 2012

Labuan Bajo (day 3)

Hi everyone,
Today was our third day in Labuan Bajo.  On Saturday evening we had a meal ashore near the anchorage, yesterday we did our reprovisioning and today we took a tour by boat to Rinca Island in Komodo National Park.

The meal ashore was at the Atlantis restaurant which is built in and around the hull of a ship.  The bar is set into the lower deck at ground level, and two upper "decks" hold dining tables.  Around the "ship" there is a pool and an open area with bean bags to sit on.  All very civilised, plus the food was really excellent.  We had two courses and drinks for less than A$20 per person.

Yesterday's reprovisioning started with taking a "tuk-tuk" (small local boat powered by single cylinder engine) into town from the anchorage.  There were 9 of us aboard, which was OK for the trip in, but a little squeezy for the trip home with everyone's booty.  Happily there was little wind or sea.

In town we walked to one of the markets and bought some good fruit and veg.  We continued walking around town and Graham (from Kakadu) and I had our hair cut.  Interesting experience complete with cut, hair wash and scalp massage for A$2.50 each.  We visited the local supermarkets which stock some western-style food.  Then we met up with everyone again at the Mediterano restaurant where we had an excellent lunch.

Back aboard Zen Again we took delivery of diesel and water supplies so we're topped up and ready to go.

Today about 11 of us met on the catamaran Leu Cat from where we boarded the tour boat at about 0730.  The boat was about 60' - 70' long with a covered upper deck aft.  We motored from the anchorage to Rinca Island which is one of several islands in Komodo National Park.  The trip was quite scenic and the currents quite strong.  'Twas nice not to be navigating for a change!

Nice scenery enroute to Rinca Island
Our tour boat alongside at Rinca Island
At Rinca we were met by rangers who escorted us to their station and later on a walking tour.  At the ranger station we saw about 6 komodo dragons, most lazing in the shade near one of the buildings.  They are quite big, and somewhat menacing.  When they eat their prey they eat all of it.  About all they don't eat is buffalo and deer horn.  Back in the 70's a tourist was eaten by dragons.  All they found was his sunglasses and camera!

Komodo Dragon at the Ranger Station
On the walk we saw several female dragons guarding their nests, which are made on the site of large bird's nests.  The eggs are buried in a tunnel and then false tunnels constructed to confuse the male dragons which try to find and eat the eggs.  Nice guys!  Over the years the nest sites seem to become very well "tilled" and are quite obvious.  The challenge is to spot the female on guard duty - they are well camouflaged.
Dragon alongside the walking track
Another Komodo Dragon
Juvenile Komodo Dragon
After the walk we spent a while at the ranger station then returned to the boat.  We had a great lunch en route to our afternoon stop for snorkelling at a small island a few miles from Labuan Bajo.  The snorkelling was good with lots of colourful fish and coral, but unfortunately with fairly murky water.

We returned to the Sail Indonesia anchorage at about 1700 after a really good day "out".

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