Randi Kreiss

Taking on dragons in the southern seas


I think of you as fellow travelers. We are, after all, living our lives in sync, reading the same news, reacting to the same events. We turn the same calendar pages, and our history will be a common record of these days. I think of you as fellow travelers as well because I have shared so much of my life with you on this page. And so, you are invited along on this journey Down Under.

To travel or not to travel; for many folks, it’s a real dilemma. You don’t have to think too long to find reasons not to go: terrorist threats, tsunamis, earthquakes and crime are just the big-ticket items. Then there are the airports, no fun anymore, and the strange food and the expense. And, of course, there are the health issues, both real (New Delhi street food) and imagined.

My husband and I have had our share of health issues, but a long time ago we decided that we either were going to live within a block of a major hospital or we were going to see the world. We chose plan B.

In that spirit, we planned this adventure one year ago, when I was finishing treatment for breast cancer. My husband pushed me to make plans, and here we are, despite my fears that it would never come to pass. I offer this to those of you going through “stuff”: Better days lie ahead. Fight your dragons as best you can. Adventures await.

Speaking of which . . .

We took four boats this morning from our ship, the Seabourn Odyssey, to get to Komodo Island, our first stop in Indonesia since leaving Bali. First was the ship’s tender, then each vessel was smaller than the last until we were just six people in a boat. Not that many people from the ship chose this outing.

We carried backpacks, hats and water, and were told to use lots of bug spray. We were off to see the wild Komodo dragons that live only on this uninhabited island in the Pacific. The literature described them as “weighing in at more than 300 pounds, menacing creatures, with sharp, saw-like teeth — surprisingly agile over short distances.” We could go ashore only with a local ranger.

We were told not to go if we had any wounds or if we were menstruating. They said the dragons are aggressive, and they can smell blood a mile away (remember that part).

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