As a side trip to our stay in Bali we decided to go see the Komodo Dragon Lizards in Rinca. Its nearest to Bali than to travel from Australia direct.ed
We book our air tickets direct with Trans Nusa-Aviastar Airlines-emailed then and picked up at the airport counter (best to avoid tihis method as the counter is chaotic in morning-one girl and slow-pick up at travel agencies in Bali is better).
Perama tour operator in Labuan Bajo, Madi and his wife Nincy, ph 038542016 or mp 0821 44445150 email Peramabajo@yahoo.com arranged the rest of our trip to Rinca to see the Komodo Dragons.They are better price wise than agents in Bali (in Bali its 3 times the price for the same thing compared to Madi's price). Using a local agent in Labuan Bajo (the staging location) saved us on many occasions (Aviastar cancelled our flight without telling us and Nincy came running after us to get us to the local Avistar office to sort thingsout without being left us stranded with nothing, the driver disappered after being paid and Madi got us a replacement-no charge, so we are really happy with their excellent service-will may get all this help with a agent in Bali). They are highly recommeded by the ever popular and sold out Bayview Hotel staff where many people congregate to make arrangements for their trips in the Flores including diving and komodo dragons safari.
Labuan bajo is a small town has a ATM accept aussie international atm cards. The street adjacent to the sea is where most of travel agents office is located, its adjacent to the jetties. There are a few restaurents in this street and many offering paid ride to where-you-want-to-go, shared taxi minibus, private minibus, motor bikes.
We opted for a trilling fast ride in a speed boat to Rinca-40 minutes one way (normal boat 2 hrs) and really enjoyed the trill of jet boat-fun thing for us in our later years of life. Madi can arrane diving trips, snokling trips, jet boats of all types even luxury ones, slow 2 days or more boat trips.
Arrival at Rinca met by the ranger/guide. There are Dragons of all sizes lazing around the admin buildings attracted by the smell of cooking. They may appear docile and at then next second can sprint right across to attack a prey, in this case a smaller dragon-canibilist-eat the smaller dragon. We saw a 5 day old dragon up in the branches of a tree-its stays there for 4-5 yrs to avoid being eaten by the bigger dragons-where it fed on insects.
Our guide hold a long stick to keep dragons would be attacks at arm length. Dragons prefer not to attack humans, but they can when aggressive as when hungry. They are difficult to spot in the wild and this makes it dangerous to wander off on our own without a guide. Our guide was very good as he pointed out dragons in the wild we did not notice as they lie so very still.
Dragons kill by biting with sharp teeth and can tear off chunks of meat initially, the blood will then attract other dragons.
There are wild animals like buffalo, deers, monkeys, birds the dragon live on. For a large buffalo it bite the leg and germs from the mouth of the dragon eg listeria gets into the wound and eventually kills the buffalo when the dragons will feast on as weakness approach. Dragons are attracted by the smell eg of blood, women to avoid if blood can be snifed by dragon.
We kept close to the guide and he was able to shoo off a couple of aggressive looking dragon before it bites. The trail was easy going and we witnessed a dragon digging a nest, a male wanting to eat eggs laid sometime ago by a female. And he was not least interested in us when he looked up and saw us, he then continued digging for food-cannibilistic.
There are mozzies we got rid by sprying with "off" repellant we got from Coles back home. They were very effective even for swarms of them. It was trilling to see these very large dragons in natural settings-world heritage Rinca island. We did not go on to Komodo or Gia islands as seeing them once and spending time with them is enough and we did not feel the need to keep going to many places to see the same over and over.
As non swimmers we did not do the snorkle or dive (german orca at jayakata hotel runs a diving shop and there are some other europeans operating diving in town) .
Our return to Labuan bajo, as we waited Nince came to tell us that Aviastar Airlines left at a earlier time without us even as we hold tickets issued by Bali airport office of Aviastar with flight depart of 4.30 PM (flight left at 11.30 AM).
After 2 hours at the local Aviastar office, the very kind officer Melky
got in touch with his friend in Aviastar HQ who spoke to the GM and we got free accommodation at Jayakata 5 star hotel for the nite.
The next day Madi arranged for his driver to show us around Labuan bajo before the 11:20 flight back to Bali. He took us to the market, real interesting see how locals go about their marketing. Then to Batu Chermin cave to see stalacites and staligmtes, fossiles of fishes and corals.
Aviastar flight came a little late and it took 55 minutes to get to Bali where cab back to Discovery Hotel cost Rs 12,000 from just outside the domestic airport.
We met many others in Labuan bajo who wanted to be agents if you want to use them besides Madi and his wife from Perama Tours eg:
bony mp 082 1444 35 009 our guide on Rinca
Melky at Aviastar office in labuan bajo, email Melky_martin@yahoo.com