Day 47, Grand Asia 2018
Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, Komodo Island, Indonesia:
I have a confession to make. I have been misleading fellow passengers all day about seeing Komodo Dragons.
When asked if I planned to go ashore after our noon arrival, I say, “No, I was here last year.”
That is technically true. It’s just that I didn’t go ashore last year either.
Komodo Island is mostly a mountainous park, where the beach sand is pinkish and the native lizards are large and dangerous. Known as Komodo Dragons and Komodo monitors, they are native to this and a few nearby islands in Indonesia. They can weigh as much as 200 pounds and have a venomous bite.
Only a few cruise ships come every year, and there is no pier infrastructure. I would say we anchored, but I don’t believe the ship ever dropped an anchor. The amazing GPS technology and the azipod propulsion system works together to simply hold the ship in place. The ship’s tenders – larger lifeboats – are used to take passengers to shore. Some youngsters from the island come out to meet our ship.
Local rules require that any passengers coming ashore be on a pre-arranged tour, either through the ship’s excursion office or through private operators. Ship tours started at just more than $100 for a brief visit ashore, combining a walk of less than a mile with a sighting of Komodo Dragons at a watering hole near the start of the trek.
Guides accompany the group prepared to ward off any feisty lizards (and mainly to ward off too-curious tourists who venture too close, I would guess).
Anyway, last year I’ll just say that I was feeling a bit under the weather and didn’t want to be away from a toilet. Those who did go ashore reported that it was extremely hot and humid and they were disappointed to find that they had to walk in a big circle before seeing the big lizards near their starting point. I didn’t feel I missed much.
I feel the same this year. And it was easier to just let people think I had “been there, done that” instead of explaining. I’ve seen Komodo Dragons in the zoo, anyway.
As we left, a faint rainbow appeared over Komodo Island, followed by a beautiful sunset.
To say goodbye to three stops in Indonesia, the ship decorated the dining room, outfitted the dining staff and cooked a special menu of Indonesian specialties. After my food adventures here, I recognized some of the Indonesian food names.
One thing I did catch sight of today was the elusive pink Friday elevator carpet. We wouldn’t know what day it was if the Amsterdam crew didn’t daily switch out the elevator carpet panels that announce the day of the week. They are blue, but last year one day I saw a pink Friday carpet show up in one of the aft elevators. And there it was again this year.
More rare than a Komodo Dragon, I would say.