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Rinca Island is 11nm from Flores and is a hilly, desolate yet beautiful island.  Home of the Komodo dragon the worlds largest lizard that can reach over 9 feet in length, weighs over 200 pounds and feed on animals as large as deer and buffalo. 

Gayla at Komodo Park entrance at Loh Buaya

Entrance into the Komodo National Park was $25 each for an 8 day permit  which encompasses Komodo, Rinca and Pador islands. 

Here at At Loh Buaya on Rinca an extra $25 was charged for a guide and anchoring the boat in Crocodile Bay, a narrow 14m deep bay surrounded by dry grassy hills.  (750.000rp total $75US)
                                                              A very fit anchorage for
                                                                 Dave s/v Amoenitas

Our first encounter with a Komodo dragon was just after disembarking onto the dock.  We were told this rather old dragon was a bit grumpy and to stand clear.  Their best weapons are their razor teeth and dagger-sharp claws.

Dragons are docile for the most part and roam freely around the park or hang out at the compound but they can snap off a leg as fast as they cut a goats throat.  Two people have died in the last 20 years when they ambush their victims, bite it and wait for the potent bacteria their mouths contain to take effect.  The latest victim was last year when a ranger was bitten while asleep in the cafe.  He survived after spending 2 months in the hospital fighting the infection.


                      Komodo Dragon coming into camp compound for a drink out of the toilet

When attacking the dragons rise up on their hind legs and using their thick tails can either grasp or  use them to deliver a well aimed blow to their victims.

They have a keen sense of smell and can open their powerful jaws wide enough to swallow prey as big as a goat.    Here they are seen feasting on a water buffalo carcass.


According to a Komodo Nat. Park  2003 survey  there are only 297 dragons by direct meeting but 700 have been marked living on several other islands in the area.  Why the dragons exist only on and around these few islands is a mystery 

Uncle Louis our guide on a tour into the hills of Rinca where the wildlife is more abundant than on the other islands. 


We witnessed a green snake attacking a frog in the bush.


On Rinca you can find wild deer, water buffalo, monkeys, wild boar and megapodes.

Overlooking Crocodile Bay - Rinca Island           Sunset anchorage at Crocodile Bay           


   The passes or channels between these remote island can be the most tempestuous waters in all of Indonesia.  We sometimes use moon transits to calculate the tidal flow which did work something but other times not.  It was difficult to determine when and where the currents would change. 
It was here at Rinca,  a few weeks before, when American cruising friends on
s/v Charisma were swept onto the rocks and lost their boat

On the way to Telak Ginggo anchorage Rinca,  we hit stronger currents, then eddies and over falls, but down the Linde Straits we had current with us and were motoring 1600RPM's and still going almost 11kts boat speed.

We were beginning to realize on the flood the current runs south or SW where other passes the current runs north on the ebb.


Anchored off Telak Ginggo Rinca Is. with s/v Briana and s/v Strider in the calm waters up a deep north channel safe from treacherous currents and roaming dragons. ($40 wood carving)


After meticulous calculations to determine tides and currents to go only 15nm to Pintar Merah, we still did not get it totally right.  S/vStrider started around the south end of Pillar Island and got into strong currents.  s/v Ariel then took the north side but also contrary currents up to 4kts.  Almost like being pushed backward s/vAriel cuts into within 8m of shore to get out of the current.  S/v Briana and s/v Strider follow suit and all battle against strong currents and dodging off shore reefs







  Steve                         We joined s/v Briana and s/v Strider here                 Gayla     
anchored off  Red Beach then prepare to snorkel.     


Anchored in 7m at 08.36S and 119.31E at slack tide we dinghied around to the east side of a small island in the middle of the channel.    Then slipping into the water we entered a kaleidoscope of moving, changing color.  Both hard and soft corals of colors never seen before, swayed in the gentle current.  Brilliant  colored and abundant fish flittered around us like diamonds catching the rays of the sun.   We all agreed it was the best snorkeling any of us had ever done in our collective experience anywhere in the world.
It was ever changing, awesome, magnificent!!

Kathy s/v Briana  

   s/v Ariel s/v Strider & s/v Briana        Spotting a Kingfisher bird

                                            Anchored off # 47 Red Beach Komodo Island

Diving Off Komodo Island


There are over 50 dive sites in the Komodo region.   We anchored off  two different islands on the north coast of Komodo Island, Gili Laua Durat and Gili Lawa Laut to dive on Castle and Crystal Rock two sea mounds highly recommended  by friends on s/v Ventana.    We also did one last snorkel off  Pulah Banta Islands in the 'Japanese Gardens' so named by other friends on s/v Ocelot.





Nearing a channel  9m deep on Gili Laua Durat




Capt. Steve on lookout while Gayla steers through pass on south end of Gili Laua Durat



We found a mooring to tie up to but rolly conditions  prevented us from staying so we motored to the north end of Gili Laua Durat and anchored in a coral bottom bay where s/v Briana was now anchored. 

We named  it 'pup tit' anchorage in honor of Polly a good friend who would have felt right at home here.  

Sailing 3.7nm north to Gili Laua Laut we pulled in between two professional dive boats and anchored there for half a day to dive on Castle and Crystal Rock.

s/v Briana enters bay between dive boats                  Loading dinghy for dive with Bob & Kathy


Castle Rock is a sea mound 20 feet under the surface of the water.  A GPS reading of 8.25.934S and 119.33.784E puts you right over the top.  

Steve s/v Ariel & Kathy and Bob s/v Briana

There were vast schools of fish here so thick it was like a massive wall of fish.  There were huge fish, and small colorful fish of every type and color and many species never seen before.  

 Even a white tip shark and Napoleon wrasse with huge white spots!


We dinghied out to Crystal Rock where the top of the sea mound was just barely exposed at 8.26.4S and 119.34.0E

Bob and Gayla snorkeled the top of the mound while Kathy and Steve did a dive.

Here again were both hard and soft corals, sea fans and sponges, but it was the multitude of vibrant colored fish in the clear water with 30m visibility that make these truly  world class diving sites




S/v Ariel is suspended over one of the most  serene snorkeling spots, her anchor resting in the pure white sands among isolated clumps of blue coral.

Named 'Japanese Gardens' by s/v Ocelot the snorkeling here among sea fans and huge white cuttle fish was a Feng Shue experience!!

                                                      BASHING ON TO BANTA

              s/v Ariel                                          s/v Briana                                       s/v Strider


Once again our sailing skills were put to the test along the northern coast of the Indonesian Islands.  s/v Ariel starts out from her calm, peaceful anchorage at Batu Montjo flying both main and mizzen in light winds.  Then, once into the pass we encounter wind against current on the 7.9nm crossing to Banta Island.  S/v Briana alongside buries her bow into the 2m seas and pitches violently as wind pick up to 26kts.   Once across the channel between the two islands  conditions ease and s/v Strider unfurls her jib and sails on.

Waiting in one of the finger bays off Banta Island we meet up with fellow American cruisers off the trawler
s/v Sundance

Once into a safe anchorage, our stress level diminishes when we find release with close friends for a little sundowner in the cockpit.

 s/v Sundance   Dave,Betty, Tom

It is time to move on to meet up with the rest of the rally for the next events in Bima on the island of Sumbawa


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