Hiking in Kelor-Rinca-Padar Island and meet with the Dragons

We started sailing at 10am and our first destination is Pulau Kelor and Teluk Menjarite. I didn’t go to these 2 places on my first trip to Komodo island.

Pulau Kelor and Teluk Menjarite

Kelor is a small island located in front of the the beautiful hills of Flores. It is one of the must do in the Komodo National Park as the view from the top of the island is simply breathtaking. We could hike to the top and see a panoramic view on Flores, Rinca Island and many other small islands. At the time of writing there was no stairs and it was a pretty steep climb on a dirt and rocky road without hand railing. Going up is easier than down.

Top of the small hill in Kelor is the perfect spot to take pictures and selfies. Two white sandy beaches are perfect to relax and swim around. I set up the mat for the kids so they can play on the beach. Alyssa also brought her sand equipment and started playing with Fabio. I got the boat crew to watch over them while Hubby and I hiked to the top. Pls wear trekking shoes to hike up and don’t attempt to hike on your flip flop for safety reason.

Pulau Rinca

Rinca Island is one of the three largest islands that comprise the UNESCO-recognized Komodo National Park in Indonesia. Apart from the largest and most famous three, Rinca, Padar, and Komodo, there are 26 more islands that complete this National Park. What makes this illustrious archipelago unique and mesmerizing to visitors, is its world-famous animal — the Komodo dragon.

The Komodo dragon is the largest lizard in the world and an indigenous species to this group of islands in the Indian Ocean. Although not all the islands within the Komodo National Park are home to this creature, the mighty Komodo dragon reigns as king on Rinca Island.

Rinca Island in Indonesia is smaller compare to Komodo island, occupying only 118,500 hectares of dense forest that gives way to grassy fields, a few scattered watering holes, several very small beaches, and one tiny fishing village. Apart from being the best place to spot Komodo dragons in their natural habitat, Rinca Island rewards its dauntless visitors with panoramic views and an overall one-of-a-kind experience. Contrary to popular belief, Rinca Island has the largest population of komodo dragons. And yes, you can find more komodo dragons in Rinca Island compared to Komodo Island.

Pulau Rinca appearances and facility has gotten much better compared to 10 years ago. And as we walked to the main facility we came across a young Komodo crossing the road just like that.

We got to see quite a lot of komodo in our trek and the ranger took pictures for us with certain angle so it looked like we stood very close to the dragons. I was scared when we had our pictures taken but we did have the rangers watching the komodo closely. The ranger also took us to the area where the female komodo is laying her eggs. She was creating several holes to make it harder for other animals to find her eggs. The female komodo will watch the egg for 3 months only and after 9 months around March these eggs will hatch and baby komodo once out will instinctively find a tree to climb for their survival because komodo dragons will eat their own species.

June-july is the mating season and in August the female Komodo will get pregnant and gets very aggressive. The eggs will hatch around May. We also learned that male Komodo can live up to 50 years while the female one only live up to 30 years.

Pulau Padar

Padar Island is about 30 km from Labuan Bajo, a fishing town on the westernmost part of Flores. Padar is small, but is the third largest island of Komodo National Park, and was once a stomping ground for the immense dragons that gave the reserve its name. Padar island has been gaining popularity in Social Media since 2013 as the most favorite spot in Komodo National Park.

Padar is mostly savannah-covered, surreal landscape fringed by bright green-capped mountains of fairy-tale shapes. It’s all surrounded by three turquoise bays, and curiously, each one of the bays’ beaches has different colored sand: One is pearly white, another charcoal black, and a third is a very rare baby pink. It is a rare combination, a quirk of this unique island.

The black-sanded beach has volcanic origin, composed of various dark minerals. The pink, one of a few in the world, has pulverized red coral mixed with white sand.  And the white one, in most any other setting would be a spectacular find. Here, it almost plays third fiddle.

Padar is home to a remarkable array of wildlife, especially for its size. There are six species of shark, and two of manta rays, and many different reptiles. There once were three kinds of Komodo dragons here. (They are gone now, but still found on Komodo, Rinca, Gili Montang, Gili Dasami, and Flores.) There are dolphins, the occasional whale, falcons, kites, geckos, and green turtles. And then there are some plain old little mammals, to feed their neighbor predators.

We didn’t know whether we could sail to Padar or not because apparently the boat which got sinked this morning was sailing to Padar Island. We would have to leave the decision to sail to Padar or not to our boat captain. After we finished hiking Rinca, the Captain told us that he would try to go to Padar Island. He instructed us to retreat to our rooms as the wave would be strong and he didn’t want us getting wet. Inside our room we could feel the wave was very high and it was a bumpy ride indeed. Thank God Alyssa slept right away so she doesn’t get sea sick and I also gave Fabio antimo as precaution.

We finally reached Padar in 2 hours sailing thru high wave and choppy sea. We arrived on time to catch sunset. Fabio was still sleepy from antimo so he stayed on a boat and slept but Alyssa was already awake so she was coming with us. Our captain told us that along the journey, the wave reached to 1.5m and he wanted to go back but it was 2/3 of the journey already so he pressed on. Thank Goodness we made it intact to Padar island safe and sound.

It took 30 minutes to 1 hour hike to Padar’s summit depend on your fitness level. Government has built stairs in Padar island which was a nice addition and making the hike much safer than the short one we did in Kelor. It was long walk for Alyssa. Hubby helped by carrying her half way and she continued to walk by herself to the top. She refused to be carried by the boat crew and would rather walked herself lol. When we reached the summit we could see the breathtaking panoramic view of the island, where we can see the three turquoise bays.

We went down back to the ship after the sun set and the sky started to get darker. Our boat docked at Padar Island for the night. The wind was strong at night so don’t forget to also pack something warm and windbreaker when you do liveaboard in Komodo.

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