[Miss me, folks? I’m a little behind on blog posts, so I hope you’ll forgive the late catchup entry. Falling behind is tough – I’ve had so much fun in Vietnam that it’s tricky to put myself back in the Indonesia mindset, but I’m going to give it my best shot…]
Kenzie snagged a shot of us on her GoPro!
This moment that Fredrik captured on video was truly spectacular: [Check it out on his Flickr!]
Another amazing moment still was captured by my new Dutch friend Sarah, who caught a group of bottlenose dolphins as we took our speedboat to a dive site. This time, you don’t have to take my word for it (thanks to her Instagram)!
Even still, the most memorable moment of our oceanic excursion occurred when Tanwir – a hilarious Indian-Australian fella who I immediately took a liking to (pictured below with his brother Jawid)- scared all of us half to death by falling overboard in the dead of night, in the middle of the vast and unforgiving Indian ocean. The boat had woefully inadequate barriers along the sides (an issue we’re told was immediately subsequently rectified, to the credit of the folks at Wicked), and the captain had killed all the ambient lighting on the boat for navigational purposes – so when we hit a particularly tough patch of ocean, disaster struck and Tanwir was launched over the boat’s side in the inky pitch black of night.
I cannot express enough how incredibly disastrous this could have been. Fortunately, the crew was hyper-vigilant and all hands immediately went into crisis management mode, whereupon Tanwir was quickly spotlit, located, and pulled to safety – but had he not been spotted tumbling into the sea, had the current been particularly strong (as is common), or had any one variable gone south, we might have easily found ourselves mourning the tragic death of an incredibly bright and caring young man (whose brother would have been left on board with us to deliver the bad news back home).
Quick, professional crisis management really saved the day here, and turned this from a potential tragedy into something we could all nervously laugh about a few days later – but all of us were struck with a poignant reminder of just how brief and precious life is. What an adrenaline rush it was! Glad to have Tanwir still walking amongst us!
At the conclusion of our dive excursion, we made one last stop on Rinca – notorious for its status as home to over a thousand savage komodo dragons. These monsters are thought to have potentially been around for nearly 4 million years (!!), and can exceed 10 feet long and hundreds of pounds. They’re absolutely massive, and it’s difficult to describe just how terrifying it is to look one in the eyes from just a few feet away.
They actually don’t hunt or feed particularly often – so during most days, they merely laze in the sun, content to do nothing at all. But when they do hunt – watch out. They can run at up to 13 miles per hour, and their razor-sharp bite packs a venomous punch, allowing them to watch their prey bleed out and slowly die before stripping them to the bone and devouring them whole. Ruthless!