Komodo Liveaboard Indo Siren – The manta diving trip of the season!

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Komodo Liveaboard Indo Siren
The manta diving trip of the season!

photo contest IS-KO-14-11 2nd 1Trip fourteen and we are almost finished with the season in Komodo, Banda Sea and Raja Ampat soon to come! Once on board some of our guests from the Netherlands and the UK tell me how the Indo Siren -our newest liveaboard in Indonesia- is exceeding their expectations… “The boat looks great!” and all this before they have even seen the cabins! With briefings done and a chance to settle in, equipment was prepared, so let’s go dive! The visibility was not bad at the Unusual Suspects, our five star muck dive we were looking for all the tiny creatures and were not disappointed with Thorny seahorses, sea moths and so many other critters that were waiting for us. The morning after we made three dives at Sangeang Island. Techno Reef, The Estuary & Hot Rocks! Our divers saw ornate ghost pipe fish, saw blade shrimps, pink squat lobsters and the colorful bushes of black coral – great for camera practice and for videographer Jan. Gun and Agus, our chefs, prepared some tasty snacks to be strong enough to do our formal night dive on Gili Banta, The Circus. Again during the dive the hunting lion fishes appeared with sea snakes and stargazers completing a perfect dive. Diane and Ane provide nice hot towels again – so wonderful!

 


 

photo contest IS-KO-14-11 2nd 2Monday 12th and our first manta is potted at Coral Garden. This time is a quite a big Manta Tarapacana that caught us on the middle of the dive! As usual, the pristine waters and healthy corals in this dive site surprise everybody. Once in Gili Lawa Laut area we made two dives, Crystal Rock was full of life; sharks, neon fusiliers, rainbow runners, big groupers, schools of snappers, walls of surgeon fishes, napoleons, blue fin trevalies and giant jacks. In the afternoon the current was perfect to dive in Shot Gun. Drifting along the channel between Gili Lawa Laut and Gili Lawa Darat we saw many sharks, mantas, turtles and a giant barracuda. After the dive Christiaan, one of our guests, ask his girlfriend Suzan to about marry him. I had the feeling that the successful dive bore some relation on her decision… he he he. So once again Siren Fleet sees another proposal and acceptance! Castle Rock, the following morning, had a mild current and so much marine life surrounding us, even not too much hunting activity. The huge jacks were swimming between white, black and grey reef sharks and thousands of neon fusiliers were swarming around. Also dog tooth tunas, a school of cobias and some sleeping sharks were in shallow water and underneath a table coral we found a big crocodile fish. On Batu Bolong we made a pleasant dive on the protected area of this submerged pinnacle. Thousands of colorful anthias and damselfishes, healthy hard corals in shallow waters, a few white tip sharks were around and a resident napoleon wrasse that always comes up to say “hello”. After lunch again the current was good for a drift dive and we rolled off the dinghies at Tatawa Besar for sightings of “Big birds” and turtles over the hills of stag horn coral. Driving away from current city we arrived at Rinca Island. Our target for the sunset dive was the Mandarin fish and we got them!

dragon walk top 2The early morning saw us trekking over the hills into the park to find the Komodo dragons. Also we saw two water buffalo and some deer far off. From here we drove the yacht to Padar Island. The water in Tiga Darah was unpredictably cold, 22 degrees (72F)! Surge and a little current, but a great place to dive. We saw fire urchins, sea apple and the sea cucumber pentacta lutea, very similar in look to a nudibranch, all of which are typical of the sites in southern Komodo. Looking for warm waters we did a peaceful dive on Phinisi, where we saw many batfishes, upside down jelly fish, crocodile fish and lots of nudis… For our night dive we headed north, to Pink Beach. Our divers told us this is one of the best night dives of the trip. Thursday 15th, way back to Current City after a great dive in Pantai Merah. On Makassar reef one of the groups saw more than eighteen mantas dancing together! Probably the most mantas we have seen at one time during this Komodo season. On Batu Bolong the current was changing and we could enjoy almost all the perimeter reef. Coming back to Gili Lawa Laut area the place for the night dive was the beach on Gili Lawa Darat, close to Shot Gun.

photo contest winner IS-KO-14-11Friday, last complete diving day! The current in Castle Rock was stronger than first time we did. This meant MANY FISH! On Crystal Rock we did one of the best dives in my life just outside the pinnacles, with a zero current and big schools of fishes. The fusiliers formed a huge ball around us, also the surgeon fishes were drawing nice paths on the water, the gangsters of the sea –trevallies and jacks- were around hiding between the other fish AND the big napoleon wrasse was there! Continuing with a perfect day we dived Shot Gun. The water was flowing strong and this time, even though we saw a manta, was the shark dive. Many of them were lying on the sandy bottom and swimming around. Sometimes it seems that one dive day is so good that can’t be better… but then the next day happens! The final two dives of the trip. We moved to Gili Banta were we did K2, really special for critters, two leaf fishes, cleaner, white and banded pipe fishes, giant and small moray eels, orang-utan crab and the surprise of a huge manta swimming by. On the last dive, Swiss Dream, we had unexpected strong current, but nobody cares about that when four big mantas stay with us throughout the dive. After sails up everybody was busy editing and preparing the pics for our photo contest and starting to pack but they had a little time to share thoughts on which were the best five dives they had made during the trip. They were: 1. Crystal Rock, 2. Castle Rock, 3. Makassar Reef, 4. Swiss Dream and 5. Shot Gun. Many thanks to Jackie and John, Karen and Michael, Monique and Steven, Jeroen, Jan, Helen and Christopher, Jan Daniel, Gerrit, Suzan and Christian, Ursula and Lex. Sampai Jumpa Lagi! We hope to see you on board again soon!

 

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