Your day starts with you hoping on a boat, coasting over glistening blue waters for an hour as you go from the island of Flores to Komodo Island in Komodo National Park, Indonesia. The sun rises and so does the humidity and the air gets hotter and hotter. As the boat approaches the dock you make sure you don’t have any food on you, lather on some sunscreen, grab your camera and take a few deep breaths.
On the dock with your camera in hand you are greeted by park rangers holding sticks with a “V” shape at the end, meant for pushing away Komodo Dragons. From the stories you’ve heard and facts you know this stick doesn’t appear to be the type of tool one might want to use to defend off a 2-3 meter long 150lb, bacteria mouth filled charging dragon. However you trust the guards smiling face.
A short walk down a path and you reach the Rangers station, eating area, kitchen, gift shop etc. and the dragons. Although never fed by the Rangers, the smell of food from the kitchen attracts them there and back in your head you think “Oh, I wonder if this cut on my leg has brought them here as well?” Knowing that the Komodo Dragon can smell blood from 18kms away, one of them looks at you and your heart beings to race.
Keeping yourself surrounded by your group and with guards on all sides of you at all times you snap some photos. Standing in the eating area, above ground fellow Komodo viewers hang over the edge “to get that shot” while you meekly stand back, hardly able to see anything, but that little bit is enough.
Two of the dragons show aggression towards each other and have a small fight, the bigger one bleeds a bit from his mouth with drool hanging down. He looks at you again. Thoughts race through your mind that if he wants a bite of anyone he is coming right for you and only you. Rangers and people you are with encourage you to get closer which makes you only want to get further away, like perhaps back on the safety of the boat.
At this point you have probably only been there for 20 minutes but that is 19 minutes too long. The story of the ranger who was once attacked by a dragon that you interviewed yesterday runs through your head. You start thinking about the “ifs”, If I get bitten, surely I’ll survive. If I get bitten, hopefully all of these Rangers can get it off of me. If it comes after me I can run in zig zag pattern and get away from it…. ya right…
The group doddles, not getting enough of the dragons, photo after photo but the quicker you can get back to the boat the better. You appear to of been the only one scared completely the f*** out by the Komodo Dragons, but you don’t care.
You came, you saw, you survived Komodo National Park.
Photographed with a Nikon D5100 using a 17-55mm lens.