Just a nibble?….
Day 67/138 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise. Rinca Island, Indonesia.
We arrived this morning in Indonesia among the most beautiful group of islands. The Islands were everywhere we looked, and so was the mist rising off the islands. It really was a stunning way to be welcomed to Indonesia! We could see a sail boat in the distance and a few fishing boats too, so while the Islands looked uninhabited, we knew that there were people living there somewhere!
Sailing into Rinca Island, Indonesia.
Mike and Sharon were also up watching our arrival into Indonesia on their balcony and as we were chatting and enjoying the scenery we saw what we thought was a flying fish, or a water eel, scurrying across the water. WOW! We are already seeing cool things in Indonesia and we’ve not even anchored yet!
After we dropped anchor, suddenly from across the way we could see two boats approaching us. One was the ‘Sea and Coast Guard’ boat. We understood that someone from that boat must be coming aboard the Neptune to clear the ship, since this was the first place we were going to visit in Indonesia. But what was the second boat doing following the Coast Guard boat? The second boat was called the PINGUIN 05 and there was a guy standing on the front of the boat and what looked to be 8 or 9 people looking at the Neptune from the back of boat.
The PINGUIN boat pulled up along side the Neptune and someone from the Sea and Coast Guard boat crossed through the PINGUIN boat, as well as a bunch of people from the PINGUIN who also boarded the Neptune. Interesting…we don’t know why so many people boarded the Neptune, but it was interesting drama to watch while we had our room service breakfast out on our balcony this morning.
Here come the cavalry!
Coast Guard and another boat.
Man it is hot here! The humidity is at 85% and the temperature is 27C or 81F. Just being outside for breakfast was enough for me to start the day, and I’m so very glad Richard persevered with the Viking staff a few weeks back to get our air conditioning working properly! Our cabin is a wonderfully cool respite from being outside on the balcony!
The only excursion that was going on today was the included excursion which was a visit to Rinca Island to see the Komodo Dragons. The first excursion was leaving the Neptune on a tender boat at 10am, with excursions leaving every hour up to and including 4pm. Our excursion had been scheduled for 4pm, but our back on board time was supposed to be 4pm, so we weren’t sure how that was going to work. We called down to Guest Services to see if we could move our excursion time up and they said we could standby for another time if we came early to the Star Theatre at 15 minutes before the hour we wanted to standby for. Cool.
We had already planned part of our day anyway, with a lot of people off the ship we thought it would be the perfect time to go to the gym….and it was! There were only 4 of us in the gym so we were both able to get a good workout in without anyone there from 11 - 12 noon.
We thought we would have a light lunch and then try to standby for the 2pm excursion. While we were having our lunch in the World Cafe, someone came up behind me to look out the window and said “I just saw some dolphins!” I jumped up out of my seat to go outside on the pool deck to see what she had been seeing.Sure enough I saw at least 6 dolphins playing in the water off the back World Cafe. How neat is that? Rinca Island already had been exciting and we still have not made it off the ship to the Island!
We went down to the Star Theatre at 1:10pm, but were told we would have to come back at 1:45pm, so Richard ended up sitting in the Living Room while I was trying to use one of the computers onboard the ship. The internet is hopeless now, so I’m trying to write the blog on my Ipad in “PAGES”, which when we get some decent internet (Might be tomorrow), I will upload the work I’ve done in PAGES into the WIX program I use for the blog. I’m hoping there will be some decent internet on shore in Bali, so we will not have to rely on the internet on the ship.
We were able to get on the 2pm excursion and tender to Rinca Island. Thankfully the seas were very calm and we had an excellent tender ride that made up for our last tender ride from Thursday Island!
Getting off the tender in Rinca Island, Indonesia.
Our guide met us with a few helpers and we had our Quietvox headsets on to be able to stay with our guide. The guide’s helpers had very large forked wooden sticks. Hmm? Interesting. No tour I’ve ever been on before had guides with sticks.
Our guide at Rinca Island, Indonesia.
The wooden boardwalk was great to walk on, and was nice and high above the ground. Almost as soon as we had commenced our tour of Komodo National Park on Rinca Island, our guide pointed out a deer with antlers and closer to us, a Komodo Dragon! The Komodo’s look so pre-historic and they sure are ugly! The Komodo definitely didn’t look like it was moving.
Komodo National Park, Rinca Island, Indonesia.
The board walk at Rinca Island.
Deer being stalked by the Komodo Dragon!
As we walked on a bit further we came upon a male Komodo Dragon and a smaller female Komodo Dragon.
Male Komodo Dragon.
Female Komodo Dragon.
Female Komodo Dragon.
The mating season for Komodo’s is in July and the female when pregnant will lay eggs, which will hatch in April or May of the following year. The males Komodo dragons tend to be quite a bit bigger than the female dragons. The female dragon was on the move and we could tell she was moving because her tongue was flicking in and out. Our guide said that the Komodo’s do not move until they flick their tongue out to smell the air first. As I said yesterday in the blog, they can smell blood 5 miles away! Komodo’s will bite their prey and then the venom that they inject into their prey, will slow the animal’s blood down because of the coagulation effect. The Komodo will then hunt down the animal when it is weakened and eat it. Dragons do not need to eat every day, they can eat up to 3/4 of their body weight at one sitting though, but they only eat twice a month. After they eat, they have to go and find water to lie in to help them cool off, while they digest their food, as they do not have pores to sweat with, and the process of digestion makes them hot.
Water Buffalo….which Komodo’s eat!!
We walked on a bit further and came to the small museum set up for us to walk through. Thankfully it was air conditioned too! We saw the skeletons of a male and a female Komodo dragon which the staff had named: Jessica and Mr. X. Mr. X had lived to 26-29 years old and was 49kg when he died at 2.88 metres long. Mr. X died quite young, as males typically live to 35-40 years old. Jessica by contrast was 26-28 and was 29.9kg and she was 2.3 metres long and she had reached her expected life expectancy.
Jessica and Mr. X.
We went outside the museum and sure enough! More Komodo’s! We saw a juvenile Komodo climbing a tree and while I was trying to take a photo of the juvenile, we saw another Komodo sticking her nose in a hollowed out tree. She would stick her nose in the tree, and then come out and then do it again and again. Finally she pulled her head right out of the tree and she had dinner in her snout. And just as she was about to start feasting on dinner a big, male Komodo dragon came around from the other side of the tree, and man did she run with dinner in her mouth! Richard captured the entire adventure on video, but the internet is so bad we cannot post the video. Maybe tomorrow in Bali we will find an Internet cafe to post the video!
Female with some food in its mouth.
There she goes!
Male Komodo dragon
What is a tourist spot without a gift shop? Exactly. We had been told to bring small bills in U.S. dollars if we wanted to buy anything, so we bought Richard a souvenir t-shirt from Komodo National Park.
After our quick visit to the gift shop it was time to go back to our waiting tender. We did see another Komodo dragon under a bridge trying to keep cool, on our way back to the tender. All told, I think we saw 7 Komodo’s today. On Rinca Island there are more than 1,300 Komodo Dragons and on Komodo Island which is bigger than Rinca, there are more than 1,700 Komodo dragons.
Boardwalk to the waiting tender.
There is a town on the far side of Rinca Island with 1,000 people in it, so the Komodo Dragons out populate the Island people! Both of our guides on our tour today have been attacked by Komodo Dragons and since 1971, 35 people who will admit to it, have been attacked! One guide who only started last year was sleeping in the ranger station and a juvenile Komodo dragon chewed on his ear. The main guide said he was attacked a few years ago on his ankle when he did not see a juvenile in the grass when he was walking. I asked about what happens when bitten because Komodo Dragons have millions of really bad bacteria in their mouths, as well as venom that they eject into their victims. The guides both had to be rushed to another island by super fast speedboat which takes 25 minutes and then they were given anti venom treatment as well as antibiotics to make sure that they recovered from the Komodo dragon bites. The people in the small town have huge fences that the government erected to protect the town. I’m really glad I don’t live on Rinca Island. I would not want a Komodo nibbling on my ear! Apparently they really don’t nibble either, but they try and yank apart their prey, so a nibble turns into a yank, and someone could lose an ear or a foot pretty quickly!
Yikes! I wonder if she can smell us?
Our tender ride back to the Neptune was pretty uneventful and the first thing we both did was take showers! We had a lot of sunscreen on today as well as Deep Wood’s Off, because there were also insects on the island. It feels so good to be in our cool air conditioned cabin after a really busy day seeing the Komodo’s!
We left Rinca Island at 6:08pm and are now on our way to Bali, Indonesia (286 nautical miles away). We are supposed to dock in Bali at noon tomorrow and we are there for 3 days. It will be nice to be docked in a port, instead of having to take a tender, so we can come and go as we please! And we have some really fun stuff lined up for Bali which we have heard is very mystical and magical, so we are really looking forward to finally seeing Bali!