Click on the links below for details of our trip and a photo gallery

11 days is quite a long time to spend even on a boat as fine as the Dewi Nusantara. We therefore take advantage of the chance to go ashore at various spots. The rest of the time above water we relax, sleep, eat and read. We are lucky to get three presentations from our onboard fish expert, Mark, and also have a drinks party one night in the master cabin.

Our first outing is to a small settlement on Sangeang Island. This is actually an active volcano but a few people live here, breeding buffalo, goats and chickens and boat building. See Vicky's blog for some great photos of the locals with their toothless grins. The boat under construction is an impressive sight (below) towering over the builders' huts, particularly when you see the primative tools they are using to build it. The hull looks broader than the Dewi. It is sitting on the beach among the palm trees and it would be interesting to see how they launch it.

A few mornings later we are off to Rinca island to visit the dragons. The tender drops us at a pier and we walk to the entrance of the study centre. Here a warden and his young trainee briefs us and warns that we may only see the dragons around the warden's kitchen as most of the others are hiding in the woods. We stop at a nest (big hole in the ground) and learn how the dragons lay their eggs once per year. After they fill it in the rains come and make pools over the nest entrance - a good protection against predators. A dragon wanders by through the woods as we listen to this. Next we walk through some pretty woods by a stream and then up a hill for great views across the islands (below).

We make two excursions at Padar Island. On the way south we cross the island to pretty pink sand beach. The crew bring a cooler and guitar so that they can serenade us as we sip wine and watch the sun go down. On the way back north we climb a small peak for fantastic views (below) across the island and another beautiful sunset.

At the south end of Rinca we make another outing to see the dragons. This time they are lying on a beach, probably attracted by the smell of food on the moored dive boats. Some Russians are also watching from a boat with an annoying drone. Sadly it doesn't crash and neither does the dragon jump into their boat. Still interesting to see Komodo dragons in a more natural setting.

Back on the boat it's great to see Mark in action. Surrounded by bottles of formaldehyde, clove oil for stunning fishes in the water, a spear gun for catching specimens and other assorted clobber he is the complete ichtheologist. A conservationist in his day job, he is off studying potential new species or new distribution on every dive. On this trip he finds eels, dottybacks, clingfish, gobies, fangblennies, triplefins and a rabbit fish! Back on the boat he prepares specimens and emails fish experts around the world for verification and discussion.

Finally the boat is so comfortable and spacious that we simply enjoy relaxing onboard. Sunbathing on the top deck, downloading photos in the saloon or taking a snooze in a hammock on the foredeck. With good food and company we are not short of anything to do and on Friday night we enjoy a drinks party in the master cabin. What a great way to spend 11 days.