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August 12, 2005

Dragon Islands

DAY: 59
LOCATION: Island 12 nms east of Komodo
LATITUDE : S 8 degs, 33.20'
LONGITUDE: E 119 degs, 40.83'

The blue waters of the bay moved from my paddle as if I'd never been off the ocean for the 12 day haitus in Labuan Bajo. It felt soooo good to leave this morning, even though the packing of the double kayak was quite a production. Jason and I need to plan for a possible 10 day stretch before being able to resupply so we loaded up on the food and water. After a three hour session to organize and reorganize the gear in the double kayak, the Queen Mary, as she is affectionately called at times, was ready for departure and I was keen to get into the rhythm of kayaking once again.

We had perfect conditions with little current and wind to affect us and we quickly put distance toward Komodo Island, our next stop for dragon watching. A couple of dolphin groups escorted us, cavorting, blowing, and leaping out of the water, much to my delight! That is something a person never tires of seeing. Even a school of tuna got into the act, but one of the dolphins got the better end of that deal as we saw him surface with a large fish in his mouth!

As we neared Komodo Is., we knew that not only do the dragons inhabit Komodo and nearby Rinca, but can also be found on the smaller islands in the area. That thought had us on the lookout for a camping spot that would provide us with a bit of piece of mind. We had no idea that we would end up in the most amazing place we had ever seen in Indonesia. The beach we landed upon was deserted and seemed ideal with no one else in sight. After unloading gear and setting up camp, we decided to climb the hill above camp. These islands all have a volcanic backbone which stetches from one end to the other.

As we neared the summit, the view was absolutely breathtaking. When you are in an island group, the hills of distant islands and the water that separates them takes on another dimension compared to seeing them at sea level. We continued to climb each hill until we arrived at the summit of the island. We were delighted to find that our only encounter with an inhabitant was a rather fat, brown and white wild goat! But, the most amazing sight was a 360 degree view of the surrounding islands as the sun set in a fiery red ball in the west. Coral reefs, surf breaking upon white sand beaches, even a square rigger gliding up the narrow strait between the islands, will always be one of my greatest memories.

And, tomorrow, we see the dragons of Komodo...unless it is sooner than we think!

Posted on August 12, 2005 3:08 PM


Aloha! I live in Hawaii and want to go to Vietnam for about three weeks in February. It's much cheaper and closer than on the mainland! Anyway, Dragon Islands-heard so much about them, that is what my heart desires when I think of the country. We're go;ing to try to come for 3 weeks or so. Any suggestions? Are the islands easily navigable without our personal boat?

aloha and mahalo,


Posted by: barrett at October 1, 2005 2:01 PM