All is still. We rest on the sand protected from three sides by towering rocks. Looking up we watch a small school of Giant Trevally who are gracefully waiting in the current for lunch to swim by. A minute passes; our guide rises from the bottom heading past the trevallies to a small hole in the rock, near the surface. We follow and reaching the opening, are immediately picked up by the current. We are swept through the hole and round a group of rocks at a speed of 20 knots. It is like an underwater roller coaster.
Komodo National park is world famous for its venomous Dragons who can reach
up to 3 meters over their 30-year life span. There are only 4,000 to 5,000 of these giant lizards
living on the few islands within the protected park, but they are easy to find as they spend their days sunbathing by the rangers hut.
They seem docile but can run up to speeds of 20 kmph when chasing buffalo, deer, monkeys or on the rare occasion humans for dinner. One bite releases a deadly combination of venom and bacteria filled saliva that slowly kills the victim over a few days. Over this time the dragons patiently follow their prey around until dinner is served. The largest males eat first followed by the females and then the young. The mothers are also known to eat their children, so babies can often be found hiding in trees for the first 3 years of their life, watching and waiting for the adults to leave, before coming down to eat the remaining scraps of the carcass.
Under the Water
Dragons are not the only attraction for the park. Under the water you have strong currents coming up from Australia, rich in nutrients and plankton. These currents encourage a huge abundance of marine life. The reefs are made up of soft and hard corals, all of which are large and healthy. There are reef fish everywhere you look, from schooling fusiliers to sleeping crocodile flat heads, mating cuttlefish to hiding shrimps and swimming moray eels to camouflaged octopuses. Bigger hunting fish; schools of jacks, trevallies, and even white tip sharks can be found on every dive site often chasing the smaller fish. Other common sightings include Napoleon Wrasse, Bumphead parrotfish. Manata rays, and everyone’s favourite the Hawksbill Turtle.
The spectacular scenery about the water is another thing you have to see. Rolling hills covered in grass and the odd tree, surround many small bays with deserted beaches. There are a few places you can hike up these hills to get a stunning view of the sunset or you can stay on your boat and wait for the millions of flying foxes to appear against the red sky.
Komodo does not feel crowded with boats because it is a large, quiet and relaxing place. There is something for everyone to do, whether you prefer to be above or below the water. Every day there is something new to see and the natural beauty will not only surprise you, but also leave you breathless. You will not want to leave.