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Seabourn Odyssey Barrier Reef & Bali, Komodo Blog

By:
Ben Hall
 

Our first port of call since leaving Darwin on Seabourn Odyssey is Komodo Island in Indonesia and of course this is the place that’s famous for the massive dragons that inhabit the island. We’re anchored in Slawi Bay which is adjacent to Komodo National Park  and we’re doing a ship’s tour which is a one and half hour hike through the park in the hope of seeing the world’s biggest lizard which only exists on this island.

Seabourn Odyssey dropped anchor at sunrise and within minutes we can hear young voices from below: “Hello, hello ... soda, soda!”. Komodo’s little kids have paddled out in their canoes to check out one of the most modern, sophisticated and opulent cruise ships in the world and some guest lob cans of soft drink off their balcony as they dive and grab them to sell later for a bit of cash.

We were on a morning tour which is apparently the best time to see these famous reptiles and the tropical savanna and scrubland is ideal for their survival.

Our guides were Marsel and Tamlan and they give us a briefing on how to react if we get lucky enough to see a Komodo dragon. The message is simple: move out of the way quickly, give them their space and don’t make any sudden movements.

As we begin our one and a half trek, we stop at the top of the trail and Marsel gives us his disclaimer that there are no guarantees of seeing the dragons as wildlife can be fickle, and  as he’s telling us this a large Komodo looms behind him and is lurching quickly straight at us.

He’s in the middle of his speech and we’re all pointing behind him and he thinks we’re making fun of him. But he eventually turns around and ushers us all off the track and into the forest. “Move quickly, move quietly and don’t get too close.”

The three metre reptile walks past and growls at us in warning and I ask Marsel if he knows this one. He says he does and that the reptile’s name is Warren and he’s about 25 years old.

We find out that Komodo dragons will attack if they feel threatened and we’re told a few weeks ago a guide was bitten and had to be flown to Bali to treat a nasty infection. Ffurther up the track another one emerges from the forest behind us and we’re all rounded up and moved into the bushes again. This one’s even bigger and meaner we’re told so we keep a respectful distance.

All up we spot about 12 Komodo dragons, making this one of those days you never forget. Off to Lombok next, before disembarkation in Benoa, Bali.

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