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260 miles from Kupang

KOMODO AND RINCA. 8°34.480S, 119°30.265E

These two islands are the only natural home of the legendary Komodo Dragons. A must-visit when cruising Indonesia.

The islands of the Komodo Group are in the middle of the high-current channels between Flores and Sumbawa. Komodo’s south coast is deeply indented with spectacular steep-sided bays. The National Park Head Quarters (Loh Liang) is tucked away in the calm sheltered Sora Lia Bay mid island on the southeast coast. Anchor near the moorings off the two jetties in 10-16 metres on a muddy bottom in front of the Ranger facility.

Onshore, report to the ranger station to buy your mandatory national park entrance permits. Guides are also mandatory and charges are levied for each camera in your group. When planning your walks, the longer you hike, the greater potential for seeing dragons. Always carry drinking water and wear good walking shoes.

There are many bays in this area, some with moorings (anchoring is mostly prohibited and policed) and some where the fishing, snorkelling and diving are pristine and alive with marine activity.

At the southeast point of Sora Lia Bay you will find the world-famous Pink Beach, named because the shoreline consists of crushed red coral branches deposited by an updraft current in the deep channel area nearby.

There are many local people on boats here wanting to sell you their wares. They can be overly persistent and patience and kindness in your potential rejection of their sales techniques is recommended.

Across at Rinca Island is the very protected inlet anchorage of Loh Buaya. It’s right up the end of a narrow yet safe-depth, 250-metre wide mangrove lined waterway. On approaching the entrance, favour port side to keep well clear of the drying bank off the narrowing mouth. Motor the half mile south to 8°39.227S, 119°42.881E and anchor directly in front of the ranger station jetty in 10 metres on sand and mud.

This Park Ranger office is where Rinca dragon viewing hikes start and finish. In 2018 it was totally upgraded to handle the increasing traffic of dragon viewers. Rinca dragon viewing is superior to that of the Komodo island experience. There are lesser number of daily visitors and more variety and spacious walks allowing better dragon viewing opportunities. Best to anchor as close as you’re comfortable with and take your dinghy, leaving it tied on the local jetty away from the main traffic areas of local day boats.

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While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.

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