Friday, 18 July 2008

10 July 2008 – Journey to Komodo (Part 2)

Relieved at surviving the night, we arrived on Satonda Island, around 32km north west of the Gunung Tambora volcano in Sumbawa. In 1815, the volcano erupted killing tens of thousands of people. In the eruption, the volcano's height reduced from 4,200m to 2,850m and caused a tsunami. The tsunami swamped the inland fresh water lake on Satonda, transforming it into a salt lake. The effects of the eruption were felt all over the world. The following year was known as the 'year without a summer', as the large amount of ash in the atmosphere affected the world's climate and crops failed.

On our visit, things were much less catastrophic. The lake was beautifully warm for a morning swim, and the views from the island were superb.

Returning to the boat, the sailing on day two was punctuated by one further rest stop – the unspectacular coral-damaged beach of Dontgo. As the evening sailing began, the tour director gathered us round for a briefing. All was not well. Apparently, the main attraction of the trip – the Komodo dragons – are quite hard to see at this time of year as it's their mating season. They tend to fight around the holes of females on the other side of the island rather than come and watch tourists. A wave of disappointment and resentment swept the boat. No one had mentioned this when we had paid our money to Mr Perama. The tour director tried to quell the rising mutiny by mentioning Komodo's other attraction – wild chickens – but this had little effect.

Whilst the sea was much calmer that night, we slept uneasy. Would we see any dragons? Were we on the Hunting Wild Chuck by Camera tour?

Continue to part 3.