Thursday, 22 September 2016

Komodo Island: The Prehistoric Wonder of Indonesia

Have You ever heard about Komodo Island before? Do You know about The Komodo Dragons? Have you ever dream of Dinosaurs before? Do You want to see one or a flock of them?

Yes? Awesome! You definitely can observe these magnificent prehistoric creatures... You are on the right track. Well, just keep on reading and You will find out about all of these and how these exciting new knowledge will change Your live forever :D Let's go explore deeper and see what kind of adventure awaits us!


First let me ask you first, Do you know about Indonesia? Have You heard about a beautiful country called Indonesia? No, not Bali. Yes Bali is definitely a part of Indonesia and also one of the most beautiful island in Indonesia. They didn't call Bali as The Island of Paradise for nothing.

Are you interested in knowing more about The Island of Bali? Well, unfortunately we are not going to talk about The Island of Bali this time. But don't be disappointed because I'm going to work on a another beautiful article specially for The Island of Bali later. So, keep tuning in to Mountsickness.com for updates okay!


Pura Tanah Lot

Let's go back to what we are talking about before... If you already know about The Island of Bali, I'll assume you also know about Indonesia. Indonesia is an archipelago, consist of hundreds of Islands, big and small. Bali is one of the Islands, located just next to Java Island.

If You continue going East, after that comes The Island of Lombok which is famous for her Mount Rinjani, Sumbawa also famous for The Great Eruption of Mount Tambora which occurred in April 10th, 1815. Next comes The Komodo Island, Sumba Island, Flores, and West Timor. Please see the geographical map below to get a better understanding.



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Lesser Sunda Islands, Komodo Island, The Archipelago of Indonesia is so vast and so beautiful. I wanted to cover all of these beautiful Islands into each of their own articles. But this time is The Island of Komodo's turn.

Komodo Island as I said above is located between West Nusa Tenggara and  East Nusa Tenggara, just North of Sumba Island. Among other Islands, this Island is so special because it is inhabited by the living legend, prehistoric lizard called Komodo or The Komodo Dragons!

Kdki

The Komodo is the largest lizard in the world. They are actually a species of monitor lizard. They can only be found on The Komodo Island, Rinca, Padar, and some Western parts of Flores. They can reach up to four meters (almost 12 feet) in length and easily weigh more than 160 kilograms (360 lbs). The local Manggarai people called them The "Ora". The Komodo or Ora is very adaptable to harsh and dry environment. And on this Island, they are at the top of the food chain.

They usually making burrows to nest in the driest parts of the savanna where there are a lot of dirt, sands, and trees. The Komodo Island is the perfect habitat for these Komodo, which is a dry, hot, arid, relatively barren savanna, compared to neighboring islands. The Komodo Island is one of island with the driest climate in Indonesia.

They are more like scavengers then hunters. They mostly eat carcasses. They only hunt when they really need to. They usually stalk their prey, animals native to the island, such as buffaloes, deers, and boars. When they see the chance they bite their prey which usually leaves big wound on their prey's leg or thigh. They will let their prey die of infection from the wound. And this infection could take days to seep in and finally weaken or kill the prey. Once their prey is weak and dying or even already dead, they then started to gather to feast. And when you are looking at how they eat, you can tell that they are definitely Prehistoric! Imagine T-Rex in lizard form, hahaha... Awesome!

Komodo dragon at Komodo National Park

Komodo dragon at Komodo National Park Large, ferocious predators, The Komodo are capable of devouring a fully grown human. Their eyes leery staring menacingly and their forked snake like tongues flickering, it is easy to imagine the strength  of their massive jaws and powerful claws. And don't get it wrong, even if they have short legs, they can run as fast as a dog. They are also excellent swimmers, and they would have had traveled between islands if it's not because the very strong current around the Island. They are seldom spotted roaming the pink beach too, so you better watch out for The Komodo foot and tail prints on the sand.

The Komodo scientifically known to the world in 1912 as Varanus Komodoensis. They are an endangered species which can only be found in the Komodo National Park (KNP) in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). Because of the unique and rare nature of this animal, KNP along with Rinca Island, Padar Island, and Gili Motang was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986.

Komodo National Park to this date stretching to around 1.817 km² and with the addition of 25 km² of Banta Island and 479 km² of marine waters with a total area of 2.321 km². Around more than 1000 Komodo has been found on this Island, and from other Islands such as Rinca and Gili Motang, for a total of more than 2000 Komodo.

Lionfish komodo

Lion FIsh at Komodo Underwater Paradise, In the Eastern part of The Island there is also a unique beach called Pink Beach, because the color of the sand look reddish. The sand appears pink because it is a mixture of white sand and red sand, formed from pieces of Foraminifera or red algae. The red algae with phycobiliproteins as accessory pigments (giving them their red color). They are the many of the coralline algae, which secrete calcium carbonate and play a major role in building coral reefs around the island.

The Island is not the only thing that is beautiful, a lot of experienced professional divers said that the waters of Komodo Island is one of the best diving site in the world. The underwater scenery is amazing. Heaven for underwater photographers and divers. Here, You can find more than 250 species of beautiful corals, 70 species of sponges, and also sea grass beds which has been the habitat of thousands of species of fish. And if You are lucky, You may also find dolphins, whales, green turtle, manta rays, and sharks. There are a couple of wonderful dive spots around Komodo Island. I will tell you about these wonderful diving spots in more depth next time! Keep reading Mountsickness.com!

The open waters of Komodo National Park is around 100-200m deep. But some of the straits around the Island, such as Rinca strait and Padar are relatively shallow, just around 30-70m deep. The most interesting thing about these straits are the fact that they got a really strong ocean current, isolating the Island, making it hard to reach and dangerous to navigate around, especially with the addition of rocks and small islands scattered around the strait. The deeper and safer place to dock is only at the Eastern part of the Island, at Loh Liang Bay, South East of Padar, Loh Kima, and Loh Dasami in Rinca Island.

Komodo Island north aerial

Komodo Island north aerial, Have You ever wondered, why a lizard, which is a very good swimmer in nature, such as The Komodo can only be found in Specific Islands, The Komodo Island, Rinca, Padar, and Gili Motang? Yes, You guessed it right! It's because of the natural strong current existing around the island. These really strong currents going along the straits around the Islands created a water barrier, so strong that it is dangerous and foolish to try to blindly swim across. And The Komodo Dragons understand this situation by instinct, thus bounding The Komodo inside the island for centuries.

Movement of flora and fauna between islands is limited, leading to the evolution of a high rate of localized species, just like the Komodo. As described by Alfred Wallace in The Malay Archipelago, the Wallace Line passes between Bali and Lombok, along the deep waters of the Lombok Strait which formed a water barrier even when lower sea levels linked the now-separated islands and landmasses on either side. The islands east of the Lombok Strait are part of Wallacea, and are thus characterised by a blend of wildlife of Asian and Australasian origin in this region.

This natural phenomenon is closely related to the Coral Triangle, which I have explained in the previous article: Raja Ampat and Her Wondrous Beautiful Underwater Paradise. The Coral Triangle is the meeting point between two ocean, The Indian Ocean and The Pacific Ocean. The strong current is the result of differences in water temperature between the two Ocean. Flowing ocean water from Indian Ocean to The Pacific Ocean. And The Komodo Island is acting like an ocean water exchange gateway. Naturally forming a very strong and constant deep sea current around the island.

Marine turtle komodo

Sea Turtle, And like any other Coral Triangle region, The Island of Komodo has become one of the islands with the richest underwater ecosystem in the world.

If You are coming to Komodo Island, besides taking a guided tour to see the Indonesian Dragons, then Diving or Snorkeling is a one of the MUST TO DO activities! You DO NOT want to miss these beautiful corals and school of fishes, with the whole underwater ecosystem pampering you with their wonderful scenery, out of this world paradise!

Here's what you can do in Komodo Island:

  • Take a Guided Safari Tour Around The National Park with Awesome Park Rangers, watching Komodo Dragons and other native animals around the park, such as buffaloes, deers, boars, monkeys, and birds, etc.

  • Swimming and snorkeling around The Island's dive Spots

  • Go to the pink beach for a romantic walk down the coast of pink sands.

  • Scuba diving and underwater photographing all of the dive sites.

  • Visit local traditional village and try to respect and understand their traditions. Don't forget to earn Bahasa Indonesia while you're at it! Because most of the local people only speaks Bahasa Indonesia.

Now that I've had got You all interested, You'll want to know how to get there right? hahaha... keep on reading then...

To get there, Labuan Bajo is the place! Labuan Bajo is the port city in the Western most part of Flores, and the gateway point to Komodo National Park.

To get to Labuan Bajo, there are return flights every day from Denpasar, Bali to Labuan Bajo, which take around 1.5 hours flight time. You can either fly with TransNusa, IAT (Indonesia Air Transport) or Merpati Airlines.You can also go to Labuan Bajo by plane twice a week from Kupang.

And if the weather is nice and You have time to spare and enjoy the trip, then by all means You can rent a motor boat from Sape, SUmbawa to Labuan Bajo, or even ships straight from Tanjung Benoa, Bali or Lombok to Labuan Bajo, this trip will take around one day.

Or you can also take a bus from Bali, which will then be carried by ferryboat to Labuan Bajo. The Choice is Yours!

And after you have arrived at Labuan Bajo, don't forget that You still need to take a ferryboat to go to Komodo Island. For your information, Labuan Bajo, the small port town gateway to Komodo Island, will be filled with festivities when the Komodo Carnival 2013 is held from 1st to 3rd September 2013. Komodo Carnival will also feature traditional art and cultural performances including the fascinating Caci traditional Martial Art. Various handicrafts, souvenirs, and artworks will also be showcased during the event. Collaborating ethnic groups living in the area surrounding the island of the legendary Komodo dragons, the event is aimed to further promote all the wonders in and around Komodo Island.

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Besides Komodo Carnaval, in September 2013, Komodo Island along with East Nusa Tenggara province will be  the Host of Sail Komodo 2013, an annual sailing voyage, which participating ships and yachts owner will be sailing from Darwin, Australia on Saturday, 27 Juli 2013 to Singapore through Indonesian beautiful waters for around three months. And on every stop along Indonesian waters, they are invited to the various Indonesian cultural festival to further promote Indonesia to the whole world.
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For accommodation, tourists may rent a room in Loh Liang, Komodo Island or Loh Buaya, Rinca Island. But most of the tourists prefer to rent a room in Labuan Bajo, the rent fee start with the cheapest at $10 per night, or spend the night on the ship's deck. But almost all rented ships have cabins and bedrooms to sleep in, so don't worry. If money is not a problem for you, then you can rent a bigger ship or even a luxury yacht so that you can spend the night like a princess. :D

If you really can not sleep on the ship, you can try renting part of the Park's Watch Tower Room and spend the night with the Park Ranger. There are limited water and electricity supply, so please keep that in mind when you decide to use any of these facilities.



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