Thailand, Bali, Komodo - Spring 2018 PART 2

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Neil M
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Thailand, Bali, Komodo - Spring 2018 PART 2

Post by Neil M » May 4th, 2018, 8:13 am

For those that missed it, here is a link to part 1

http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=24748

Ok, now back to Komodo.

Here is where the Bali Reptile Rescue connection really came in clutch. They were able to give me the phone numbers of rangers on Komodo and Rinca that were into herps other than the dragons. This is huge because without them we may have just walked on trails and looked for dragons. With the right guides, however, we were able to bushwack off trail and look for snakes as well. Plus, we met up with the guides again at night for some awesome night herping.

Our first island to herp was Rinca-
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The only snake we saw during the day on Rinca was the back half of a spitting cobra as it slid down a dragon's nest. The best part about finding a guide that's into herping is you can ask to go back on the island at night. Night herping Komodo and Rinca was so cool - zero tourists, dragons sleeping everywhere, and snakes.

The first find on Rinca at night was probably the find of the trip - our guide said he hadn't seen one in two years. He was more excited than us I think.

Russell's Viper
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Right after that we found two white-lipped vipers within 100 yards of each other. These were the smallest white-lipped vipers we saw all trip. They could have fit in the palm of your hand while the ones on bali were 1-2 ft long.
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We also found two wolf snakes that night
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My brother and I couldn't believe our luck and believe it or not it only continued on Komodo the next day
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The main target and best find of our time on Komodo was this blue phase of the white-lipped viper. Absolutely unreal color. Nothing was enhanced in this photo. Nature is awesome.
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We finished our time on Flores with a trip to Istana Ular. Honestly the two hour motor bike ride there is worth the adventure in itself. Everything else was a bonus. We found some locals that spoke no english but were willing to hike with us. I was 100-200 meters into the cave and up to my waist in bat guano when I looked back and the locals plus my brother were pointing that they wanted to go back. I could barely breath but didn't want to leave without finding a snake. After almost falling over into the poo, plus having the 20th bat hit my head, I decided to go back. As luck would have it, one of the locals found a baby python right at the entrance of the cave! I only had my Go Pro so didn't get any great photos. Here's a shot of a small python I had caught earlier in the trip that was similar in size.
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After Komodo, we had two weeks left of surfing on Bali. We ended the herps for the trip with a couple more lizards and geckos, plus some slug snakes.
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That about ended the trip. It was truly unforgettable. I hope to definitely make it back to that part of the world and I hope many of you can experience it someday as well.

VIDEO

Here is a highlight reel of the trip. It includes some of the python captures plus underwater life and everything else we were doing.



Thanks for reading guys

weigi
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Re: Thailand, Bali, Komodo - Spring 2018 PART 2

Post by weigi » May 4th, 2018, 2:59 pm

Awesome couple of posts. Great stuff.

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John Martin
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Re: Thailand, Bali, Komodo - Spring 2018 PART 2

Post by John Martin » May 4th, 2018, 6:56 pm

Neil, what can I say? You da man!! And your bro too! What an interesting (and perilous) assortment of hobbies you guys embrace - makes me wanna go back to my youth and try more shit than I already did LOL. Your two part post has been one of the most enjoyable I have read. BTW, that head on shot of the Komodo approaching is magic - they are fearsome looking beasts!

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: Thailand, Bali, Komodo - Spring 2018 PART 2

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » May 6th, 2018, 10:48 am

Great stuff, loved the vid too!

Jimi
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Re: Thailand, Bali, Komodo - Spring 2018 PART 2

Post by Jimi » May 7th, 2018, 1:23 pm

Thanks for all the story, pics, and vid. The Lesser Sundas isn't an area I'd go for herping (I really like vipers, so the Malayan Peninsula & associated pulaus would be much likelier destinations for that). But for getting in the water, it's a place I'd really like to go.

Seeing your giant clam, cuttlefish, and manta shots made me reminisce about Micronesia. (Aren't those clams a trip?) Also, being out in a pounding rain with mask & snorkel - I love that feeling. Great memories, I need to make some more! Nice little waves you scored. Just a "nowhere spot" I take it?

Oh yeah - I would say your "white-lipped vipers" are a close relative of that snake - C. insularis. They come in green, "blue", and yellow (those mostly from Wetar, I think).

thanks again

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nhherp
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Re: Thailand, Bali, Komodo - Spring 2018 PART 2

Post by nhherp » May 7th, 2018, 2:39 pm

Fantastic Neil!!

The Bali Retics were a favorite of many I saw in your video-log.

-Notah

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