Some of the rarest experiences that nature has to offer…
This morning breakfast was served between 06:00 – 10:00, and for the first time since arriving in Indonesia we missed it. Not because we were too late though, but because we had to be up and out by 05:30.
The Dutch couple who were meant to be joining us couldn’t make it, so the whole day felt a bit like a private experience just for us two, but we still got the discounted price for a group booking which made it even better.
We didn’t know anything about our first stop of the day, Manta Point, but the clue was in the name:
We saw maybe five or ten manta rays from the boat, which had us absolutely gobsmacked, but then it got better – our guide pulled out some snorkelling gear and told us to jump in. We were a little sceptical as there was nobody else around and we were in the middle of the sea, but we went for it! Here’s a couple of videos, one from our point of view (in the water) and the other which our guide took on his phone (from the boat) as he was keeping an eye on us:
Neither of us could believe our luck. We paid for a trip to Komodo Island but casually went swimming with manta rays on the way there. What an experience! I was so excited that I even google a few facts on manta rays just to exaggerate how amazing they are:
- A fully grown oceanic manta ray can reach a wing span of up to seven metres and weigh up to two tonnes,
- Despite their size and appearance manta rays are quite harmless to humans with very little teeth and non-functioning tail spines,
- They are filter feeders, with a standard diet of crustaceans, plankton and other small fish,
Our next stop of the day was Komodo Island, where we hoped (but weren’t guaranteed) to see a a couple of Komodo dragons. Our guide told us that some people see three or four, and others don’t see any, but luck was on our side again – we saw ten! They weren’t in captivity, they weren’t caged or restricted in any way, just out there living in the wild like they’re meant to be:
When our guide asked if I wanted a photograph with one I wasn’t sure, but said yes anyway. It might look like I’m right on top of him here but I’m at least three metres behind, and had to walk around him at distance too:
Seriously, they’re monstrous! Here’s a few (quite scary) facts on Komodo dragons too:
- Komodo dragons are the largest living lizard in the world, can reach ten feet in length and usually weigh around 200lbs,
- They can eat up to 80% of their body weight in one feeding and eat very large prey such as water buffalo, deer, carrion, pigs and even humans,
- If a Komodo dragon bite doesn’t kill instantly, prey only have around twenty four hours to live before dying of blood poisoning due to the amount of bacteria in their saliva,
Our final stop of the day was Pink Beach, where we had one last chance to put the snorkelling gear on and go swimming before the journey back to Labuan Bajo.
We had an eleven hour day from start to finish, and absolutely loved every second of it! In fact I’d usually write a little summary at the end of a post like this, but I don’t think that’s necessary this time. The pictures and videos speak for themselves really don’t they?