Diving Komodo, July 2011
Diving Komodo, July 2011
The start of another trip and all the customers arrived on time, thanks Merpati. After settling into their cabins and a spot of lunch it was time to set up their equipment and make our first dive at The Unusual Suspects in Bima bay. This was a very enjoyable muck dive with ornate ghost pipe fish, frog fish, octopus, crocodile fish and nudbrancgs everywhere. We all watched the sun slowly drop into the sea from our very spacious sun deck and then it was time for dinner. With full stomachs and heavy eyes all the guests opted for an early night. We lifted the anchor early in the morning and arrived at Sangeang Island ready for our first dive on Techno Reef. This was a fantastic start to the day with black corals hiding ghost pipe fish and sawblade shrimp as well as finding stonefish, spearing mantis and many different rays sleeping in the black sand that this island is so well known for. We spent the rest of the day diving along the coast line of this still active volcano enjoying the brightly colored soft corals and bubbles coming out of the ocean floor. For our night dive we moved to the island of Gilli Banta and made a visit to The Circus where we were joined by lionfish using our torches to hunt by, sepia, many different varieties of moray eels and a giant black frog fish trying to hide behind a very small piece of coral. After all the divers were back on the boat we cruised on to Batu Moncho where we spent the night ready for our first dive in the morning at coral garden.
After a very enjoyable morning dive with white tips and hump head parrotfish we moved on to Gilli Lawa Laut. We spent the rest of the day here diving at Shotgun and Crystal Rock enjoying all the big fish action. Many white tip reef sharks, giant trevally hunting and even a couple of humphead Napoleon wrasse kept everyone entertained. For our night dive we explored the shallow section of Shotgun Reef finding lobsters, crabs, shrimp, crinoid cuttle fish and moray eels. In the morning after a light breakfast we made a dive at Castle Rock where huge schools of bannerfish, fuseliers and surgeon fish covered the pinnacle; it was great fun just hanging on our reef hooks in the middle of them all. After we surfaced it was time to move south in to current city for our next dive at Batu Bolong and due to the current it was fish soup sharks, Napoleon wrasse, turtles and so many fairy basslets we could hardly see each other. After this it was time to head to the Island of Rinca where instead of making a dive we went ashore for a walk and look at the Komodo Dragons. Next on the agenda was a sunset dive at Dragon Bessar and we were on the hunt for mandarin fish. Not only did we find mandarin fish but we also had cow fish, crinoid cuttlefish, pompom crabs and lots of flatworms and nudibranchs.
In the morning after an early start we arrived in Nusa Koda, the most southeren point of our 10 day livaboard trip, and made our first dive at Torpedo Alley we made our next dive at the famous Cannibal Rock. Coleman shrimp, zebra crabs, frogfish, nudibranchs, turtles and octopus was enough that all the customers requested a second dive at this site. In the morning we left Nusa Koda and headed across to Komodo Island for a day of wide angle at Manta Alley. After 3 dives of big bird action we moved round the corner to Lok Sara for a sunset dive on the shallow section of this very healthy hard coral reef where amongst other things we found a lot of mandarin fish. In the morning we made our first dive here as well but in the deeper section where there is an old Phinisi wreck. We found a lot of nudibranchs, bat fish, leaf fish and spearing mantis. After this we moved to Padar Island and made an exploration dive. This turned out to be an amazing wall dive covered in a huge amount of really healthy and very colorful corals with lots of caves and swim throughs and a lot of marine life.
Next we carried on north to Pink Beach where as soon as we descended we encountered a manta cruising by then as we searched through the reef we found crocodile fish, cuttlefish, stonefish, juvenile white tips and candy crabs. The night dive was also at Pink Beach and we were hunting in the sand finding many critters including bobtail squid, star gazers, flounders and Spanish dancers. The next morning we were in current city and our first dive was at Batu Bolong. There was very little current but a huge amount of fish. At times it looked like the rock was breathing as all the fairy basslets, damsel fish and schools of fusilier and snapper were moving around the pinnacle. Next was Tatawa Kecil. This was a very surprising dive even the sharks and schools of chevron barracuda looked surprised due to the massive lack of current. But on the plus side we were able to explore the whole of this breath-taking healthy and colorful dive site instead of just the one side as usual. After this we moved just round the corner to Tatawa Besar and this time we definitely had current!! We flew along this reef doing our best superman impressions whilst trying to watch the black tips, turtles and manta rays at the same time. We spent all of the next day diving around Gilli Lawa Laut. Castle Rock and Crystal Rock had big fish action with white tips, giant trevally and king mackerel hunting through the schools of fusilier so big that at times we couldn’t see each other. And Shotgun with the current just right for a good shoot through finding sharks, turtles and lobsters as we flew past. For our night dive we moved to the protected bay of Batu Moncho where we explored the shallow section of Coral Garden turning up many different moray eels, nudibranchs, squat lobsters, lionfish and puffer fish. Our last day of diving we only made 2 dives so all our guests had time to off gas before getting on their plane. We chose K2 and Swiss Dream at K2 we had a very curious eagle ray checking us out while we were searching for small things on the reef and at Swiss Dream we made an awesome drift dive along the whole coast line of Gilli Banta. After all the fun it was time to hoist the sails and cruise back to Bima.
Sampai Jumpa Lagi
Photos by AARON WONG