Monkeys in paradise
30 August 2011 | Gili Bodo
michael and jackie
We have been in 'paradise' for two days now. An uninhabited island in the Komodo isles surrounded by acres of pristine reefs, plus water flat as a millpond and only a light breeze. We just jump off the boat and the best snorkelling ever is all around us at just the right depth. There is a tremendous variety of hard and soft corals of all shapes and colours and a similarly great variety of colourful fish. The anchorage is also brilliant for the kayaks as there is no swell, no strong wind and numerous white sand beaches to explore.
When I say the island is uninhabited, it does have a population of monkeys. It is magic to watch the monkeys come out onto the beach just before sunset and first thing in the morning. They obviously feed on something along the water line, possibly shellfish. Some of the larger monkeys stand up on their hind legs and wade in the water up to their chests.
On our first day here, Michael dropped his crab pot over in the corner by some mangroves and at low tide that evening the monkeys went over to investigate it - obviously something new in their territory. He claims the monkeys have stolen the crabs - anyway no crabs so far.
We went ashore to explore, but in contrast to the white sand of the beaches, the island is sharp black volcanic rocks, not easy to walk on. We did, however, find a temple/shrine on top of a small hill. It has two sets of walls, a high outer rectangular wall, with steps leading up to a gate and a tiled floor. Inside this outer tiled area is a small rectangular pit, surrounded by low walls. The pit has an uneven rocky floor and several dishes where offerings are presumably made. A pristine red mat at the top of the steps and the recent clearance of vegetation around the shrine indicate that it is in use. Maybe a shrine to the monkey god?