Male Komodo dragons have two penises. There I said it, the most important thing about this whole post right away in the first sentence. I am not sure if that was wise, who knows if you will read to the end now. Then again, you will want to see for yourself and as you can win a trip to Komodo in this post, you really should read on!
I learned this most important fact about Komodo dragons after I had already left which was really a bit of a bummer. It is true too, because they shag for so long that they need a back-up. If that isn't practical thinking, I don't know what is and if you don't believe me google it (but don't eat beforehand, I don't envy those Komodo dragon girls!).
What I would have done with this information if I had it beforehand, I do not know. Maybe I would have walked up to one of them and been like "Ahem, excuse me, sir but I heard this rumor about your reproductive organs and was wondering if you would mind if I took a peek. I'd also like to take a picture on behalf of my dad, he is a urologist and has yet to see something like that." Maybe not. But you would assume that they teach you that in Komodo Dragons 101 when you go to the Komodo National Park. They don't or maybe I wasn't listening but Komodo Kevin, our otherwise wonderful guide, kept suspiciously mum about this fact. Not sure why because surely that is educational and awesome and a little creepy all at the same time. The stuff legends are made of.
Alas, I only learned about it after I had left so there was no chance to get closer and sneak a peek. At least, I would have liked to have the option.
All we were told by Komodo Kevin and our great crew from Indonesia. Travel was that we weren't supposed to go anywhere without a guide (who always carries a big stick, making them all look like Gandalf) and run in a zigzag line if a dragon should come after us. Oh, and girls, if you are on your period while you are there, you better stay real close to the guides - Komodos smell blood from a far distance. Nature's sexism at its best.
Komodo National Park is made up of Flores, Komodo, Rinca, and Pulau Padar as well as 25 smaller islands. People of Komodo are descendants of former convicts which I guess was their form of fitting punishment - put you on an island with dragons and leave. By now they have a one dragon to one person ratio, so I guess your odds are not so bad anymore. I was more scared of the snakes they warned us about - Spitting Cobra, anybody? Dragons really don't scare me. I have wanted my own ever since I first laid eyes on a Night Fury.
We started our trip on Pulau Rinca which resembles Jurassic Park a bit. Except for the fact that you walk through and that you have a ranger with a Gandalf stick. In case you wonder, you also get accompanied to the bathroom. Safety first!
Can you see the slightly terrified look on my face here? They were growling at me and Gandalf was far!
I must admit that the Komodos here were slightly less exciting than the movies made me believe dragons are. No fire breathing, no people eating (at least not in our group) and generally lots of sleeping and lying around. Not that I blame them, it was hot and humid. Luckily it also meant that we could get quite close and have our picture taken with them.
From here we were off to go bat watching, something that none of us thought sounded very exciting at first especially not if a cold beer and shower were the alternative. Pulau Kalong is a tiny mangrove island, literally translating to 'bat island.' Every night as soon as the sun has set and the sky has transformed into 50 shades of pink, hundreds upon thousands of bats emerge from the mangroves and make their way into the night. It was magnificent. And as we had beer on the boat it was worth forgoing a shower for!
The next day I woke up all excited for more dragons. Instead, we were taken to Pulau Pardar and told that it was hiking time. And what hike it was!
As you may or may not know about me, I love hiking. I am not very fit, but I love it. However, I also have messed up knees and weak ankles and going down hills or stairs scares me. With that said, I didn't mind the
hike climb but was constantly worried about how I'd come down again. The view from the top was worth everything, though!
As was swimming in the ocean afterward. Just wear your bikini for the hike, otherwise, you will need to swim in your hiking gear like me.
From Padar we went to Komodo island for a group picture and for lunch. It wasn't just any lunch it was lunch on one of the only eight pink beaches in the world.
I will admit that the term pink might be misleading. The sand is the softest hue of rosé which you can up a bit
in Photoshop with magic.
You can see bits and pieces of red coral which give the sand its tint but seriously, I wouldn't call it pink. Nevertheless, the beach is stunning and only one thing could pull me away: diving.
We were off to Manta Point with our divemaster Mr. Miyagi as we called him to find, of course, manta rays! He was hopeful given that he had just seen a whole lot only this morning.
While the dive was amazing, we didn't see any mantas and to be honest I was pretty bumped. Tortoises do not excite me anymore since I had an overload of them in Sipadan and so they couldn't make up for lack of mantas. When we came up, however, it was already getting dark and nature made up for it with one of the best sunsets while still in the water. Mantas or not, it was a view worth diving for...
How to get to Komodo:
True to its name we saw the most dragon action (and no, still no two penises in sight...) on Komodo Island. Considering that we had just come from a swim most of us were in our costumes and trip t-shirts. It was then that one of the rangers decided to feed a dragon with little fish and ended up almost being chased into the ocean by him. That is when this picture happen:
Because this is how you train your dragon!*
Disclaimer: This dragon training session was part of my Trip of Wonders with Indonesia.Travel - all opinions about dragons and their body parts are as always my own!
*Thank you to the awesome Nikki from The Pin the Map Project for playing Mother of Dragons and for not minding me sharing a shot of her in her bikini all over social media!