Got into Labuan Bajo (LB) and found a hotel that had secure parking for PB and was far enough away from any mosque that I wouldn’t be hearing the call to prayer at all hours, at $25 a night it was more than I wanted to pay but I figured it was worth it to keep the bike secure and to get some sleep.
The waterfront of LB is a tourist strip with shops and food outlets catering to western tastes. It’s also a popular dive destination so it has plenty on offer for big boat tours of 2 or more days. I didn’t like the feel of the place but it does have lots of free wifi.
With some help from locals I found the immigration office and collected all the documents but couldn’t find any agent who could act as a sponsor for the extension. The visa I have is a “Social and Cultural Visa” good the first time for 30 days but with 4 x 30 day extensions that can be applied for in country. At Kupang there was an agent who for a small fee would have orgsnised it all for me but during my time in Kupang it was Muslim holidays and the immigration office was closed.
Went shopping for a tour to see the dragons and found that Rinca Island tours were being pushed rather than Komodo. Rinca is closer and safer to get to in the small boats and is an easy day trip. Later at the hotel I was chatting to some radio technicians who service the national park radios and they reckoned Rinca was a better option as well. One of the technicians took a real liking to PB and asked if he could sit on it and get a photo taken. Of course he wanted to buy PB as well so I took a pic and joked with him that if the bike was gone when I returned from the island that his pic was going to the police.
It pays to shop around for these tours; I was quoted 650,000rp, 750,000rp and finally 250,000rp. Everyone is selling essentially the same tour where the passengers pay their own park entrance fees etc. I was sharing my boat with a couple from Germany who were good company so all in all it was a good day.
Approach to Rinca Island
Crocodiles this far west?
The entry gate to the park.
PIC OF GATE
We had been assigned our guide and protector back at the pier and after paying all the fees at the office we were on our trek. The 3 of us had decided we were more interested in the trek on the island than the opportunity for a swim and snorkel on the way back so we opted for the longer of the two treks on offer. Our guide was excellent with good knowledge of the dragons as well as the other fauna and flora in the park and a good sense of humour. The German bloke was asking all sorts of serious questions about the growth rates and the survival rates of the young dragons and other really sensible stuff. I asked the guide how old they were before they grew their dragon wings and learnt to fly. At first he just looked at me and then he went into some detail about these being Komodo Dragons and they don’t grow wings. I persisted and asked if we would see any that breath fire then; no sir these are Komodo Dragons, not that sort of dragon. Then he caught on that I was taking the piss and had a good laugh.
Anyway we had a good trek, saw some dragons and a massive beehive swinging from a tree branch.
Also saw some dragon food. Apparently the dragons sneak up behind the poor beasts and bite them in the marriage tackle with their foul poisonous bite. They then wait for the buff to die of the infection and then home in for the feast.
I gave the tour guide a hefty tip as did the German couple for putting in the extra effort and we were back to the boat for the swimming, lunch and trip back to LB.
Took in the sunset over a lovely avocado milkshake at one of the free wifi places and then off to a warung for dinner of chicken, potato and rice.34000rp
Still a bit peckish so down to the next warung for a chocolate and condensed milk pancake 8000rp
Early to bed, tomorrow I take the ferry to Sumbawa Island to meet up with a motorcycle club and to see where the front wheel takes me.