I had no idea how lovely a cruise could be until i was taken -by my wife- to Indonesia for a trip aboard the WAOW.
This boat was made using ancient carving techniques and all I can say is 'WOW' this vessel is stunning. I spent 10 days cruising the indonesian archipelago and tried my first scuba dive. What a rush! I saw a moonfish the size of a Mini Cooper I swear it was that big! Very placid though, it glided past me as if it was weightless.
A truly unique experience. Besides, the food was great and I had a blast climbing on the masts pretending I was 'the king of the world' as they say in the movies.
A definite recommendation for sea lovers, sea food lovers and boat lovers!
The Poreng Valley place is at the old dry riverbed side. A wonderful morning we left the kampung and marched into the jungle. Nope, no feeding with a goat. The 8 of us didnot want to watch how the lizards devour the goats. Even without food they are quite active, not lethargic as they are in zoos.
Maybe it was our loud speaking, or our nervy doings, wandering in the jungle looking for dragons, far away from home. Maybe looking at a huge spider in its web at face height just across our path... deadly! Maybe the idea you have to wear trousers, shoes and long-sleeved shirts because of the snakes, insects and poisonous millipedes march through the underbrush. Maybe even my blouse! Red clothes are forbidden; Komodos might mistake your clothing for blood and attack you (the colour of red do radiate a kind of vibration).
But suddenly we heard some hissing, and 2 dragons raised its heads next to us out of the grass. We were astonished! That close ... wow! We got allowed, accompanied by the guides with forked sticks, to get some closer to photograph them. Click, click, click,... and some more came up. DANGER!!!
We had to hide behind the trees, and suddenly we realized what danger is !!!
Though I got a hell of a close-up ...
The best remark of the Komodo dragons is its acute sense of smell. This sense-organ houses in the nose where the nerves get helped by a special organ in its mouth, named Jacobson organ. It is activated by the tips of its forked tonue ...
Now you know why the Komodo constantly flickers its long tongue, like a yellow/orange thunderbolt into the air, tasting for signs of nearby food. Komodo Dragons use their long tongues to pick up smells in the air, even if they’re a mile (1.6 km) away! Its mouth is similar to that of snakes; its long forked tongue retracts into a sheath and smells by the tips of its forked tongue.
Like other reptiles, the Komodo dragons detect chemical signals such as odor and taste with their long, forked tongues that it uses to test the air for scents. And uses the forked tongue to taste the air when searching for prey. They walk swaying their head from side to side with their tongue out. This covers a larger area than if they kept their head still.
Thanks To Frequently Asked Questions
The more expensive Komodo tours can arranged in Java, Bali & Lombok, the more people don't actually see the giant lizards. Some Minor Sunda Island programs just "drop in" for a few hours, pay a visit to Loho Liang Bay, and sail for the open see again.
We were so lucky (were we???) to meet some of these carnivores just around the "kampung", the visitors-camp. "The more curious young ones ...", the PHKA-office man said pointing at these Komodo's. They've forgotten to hunt, entering the camp for food or awaked by your camera blind, they're flickering their forked tongues at your feet. So watch your step in the early morning. Actually the Komodo avoid the kampung because there are too many people. I didn't believe that one ...
The morning we left for Poreng Valley, of Banunggulung, one of the Dutch girls we met, passed a just awakening lizard, and an alarmed guide drifted it away. Signs around the kampung warn you to stay quiet, so don't scream, even at your friends across the cap. We got that message when we walked down the path to Poreng Valley ... ... ...
... and about 5 of those cuties suddenly raised its heads out of the grass, coming slowly toward us !!!
The largest Komodo on record was more then 10 ft (3.5 m.) long. Through the years there have been absurd, unsubstantiated reports by downed airmen and fishermen of dragons up to 14,5 m. long.
Komodo dragons have long necks and, its tails are longer than the body in youngsters and shorter in adults. The teeth curve back and are s e r r a t e d! The tongue is yellow-orange and forked. Maybe because of its terryfying appearance our phantasy took to our heels and created the Dragon-Princess ...
Not that many people know about the phantasy of dragons that probably originated in ancient myths about the "female divine and the control over human males". There are hardly any myth to be found about a female dragon, while the mermaid does have a male equivalence, the mermale. It is said that the "female dragon" rather had been created into a naga, a snake-woman of wisdom ... and that imaginable snake-woman or naga could be corresponded with the mermaid (see statue of a 12th. century old Javanese, terracotta Naga princess I photographed in Amsterdam).
Difficult story, though Indonesia kept a lot of these myths in their heart, and their innumerable symbols!
A lot of signs around the kampung (visitors-camp) and on your way says "Keep silent!". Or see the sign "Watch out komodo crossing". Sounds so sweet, 'cause you'll think of this endangered specie as some of a lovable living dragon, surrounded by fairy princesses. Well,... it is not !!!
It is to protect the lizards of interrupting its natural life in a sudden way by stupidly screaming tourists. Taking care of flora & fauna Indonesian President Soeharto designated "our" dragon as Indonesia National Animal (1988). A sign that is to be seen near PHKA Loh Liang camp, too!
In mythic lore, the dragon is a huge, ferocious, terrifying creature. In real life, the dragon is a huge, ferocious, terrifying creature. Myth and reality can be very entangled, can they?
The original, Arabic word "ouran" was given to monitor lizards by European travellers in North Africa. They observed the animal which became the "warning lizard", because it warned when crocs were present.
Although the Komodo had been discovered by a Dutch army-man Van Hensbrack in 1911 it was Major Ouwens who published the very first article "On a large Varanus species from the Island of Komodo" in 1912. Douglas Burden claimed the name of "Komodo" on an expedition in 1928, so it still is very uncertain where the exact name of "Komodo" derived from.
Looking for food the Komodos sexual behaviour goes by its forked tongue, too. Pressing his snout to his girlfriend's body, and smelling her with his long thunderbolt-flickering tongue the male Komodo is waiting for her receptivity.
So, let's say,... smelling the beauty in the beast. So it must be true dragons are NOT extinct ... ;-))
In ancient Egypt the Temple at KOM OMBO was built to serve Horus who manifestated himself as Sobek, the God with the head of a crocodile.
Some studies do point at the legendary etymological Sanskrit word of "kumbha", which is connected to different reptiles-symbolics of the Egyptian Kom Ombo Temple. It would be not that surprising when in future time the just as legendary Komodo reptile could be connected with the Egyptian one ... and the famous Hindu Kumbha Mela Festival, in some symbols related to the Komodo-myth and the holy princess ...
... just an idea ... ;-)
PUTRI NAGA/DRAGON KOMODO
painting aquarel 16,5 - 24 cm.
Roy James Döhne - 2003
KOM OMBA - KHUMBA
Frightened to death, well ... some of us, we reached the old riverbed side of Poreng Valley, named Banu Nggulung. A small camp-house up a hill, protected by a fence, looks over a ravine. The guides do all the work, like slitting the goat and hanging it on a tree that overhangs the ravine. Lucky us, the goat wasn't necessary. Some clapping and calling made the lizards alert.
It really was u n b e l i e v a b l e.
We couldn't believe our eyes. Some 20 of these giant lizards had appeared, and, fortunately, one of the guides came up with some dry meat, kept in the house. Incredible how those giants throw themselves upon eachother. One climbed up the hill, and the girls rushed for the camp-house. I still think it's remarkable the fence thin as usual barbed wire, can hold those carnivores outside. You even could smell its breath ...
Thank to God & the Upperworld for the idea to travel to the Komodo Island.
... u n f o r g e t t a b l e ...