We had to motor for the last 10-12 hours of our trip to the island of Rinca (or Ringa or Ringda – we’ve seen it spelled several ways). But, we managed to arrive about 30 minutes before sunset at the southern anchorage. What a spectacular sight as we neared these islands. Huge volcanic mountains with tropical jungle growth – somewhat brownish in color since it is the dry season. We anchored in deep water next to some big rocks, with both sandy and rocky beaches nearby. Stupendous mountainous terrain on all sides of us.
There are 3 other boats here. Two larger than cruising boats with lots of men on board. They had dinghies going to and from shore when we arrived. Also, a cruising sailboat, about 1km away, put a dinghy in the water and came over as we were contemplating where to drop our anchor. Turns out they are an American couple on a boat called s/v Restless. They are from Seattle. They told us the next cove over – where the two larger boats are located – has several dragons coming to shore regularly. Restless is also going to Bali in a bit, and so we might travel with them.
We saw a wild boar on shore before dark, and we heard all kinds of strange birds and wildlife in the evening. A very bright gibbous moon rose over the high mountains surrounding our eastern view, as we pulled out some beers to celebrate our safe passage. The only thing marring the beauty was the huge clumps of trash all over the shoreline here. We have seen lots of trash in the waters since we got to Indonesia.
This morning, I was up before dawn as usual. As the light brightened, I saw another wild boar, and have been watching monkeys foraging along the shore all morning. Suddenly I saw a large, long, brown thing moving along the beach – a Komodo dragon! He was a full grown beast – about 3.5m in length. I took some pictures with the telephoto lens since he was about 125 meters from us. I watched him with our powerful 15X binoculars. You could see his long tongue slithering out like a snake. These dragons can supposedly smell blood from over a km away. They are very carnivorous. At one point he stopped moving – his snout sticking up in the air – his body color was such that you could easily think he was just a tree trunk. He continued moving along out of sight. The monkeys kept a safe distance from this vicious beast.
We plan to stay here a day, then move north to the national park where we will hire a guide to take us on a hike. The main purpose will be to get up close to the dragons and other wildlife on this island. In the meantime, we have our own zoo right here on shore.