Liveaboard Diving in Komodo with Palau Siren
Liveaboard Diving in Komodo with Palau Siren
For out 4th charter this season we welcomed our 15 American guests on a sunny day in Bima harbour. After the briefings and obligatory life jacket drill, Captain Daeng moved our luxurious liveaboard “Palau Siren” to our first dive site, “The Unusual Suspects” and what a dive we had! Mimic octopus, coconut octopus, painted frog fish, stone fish and Indian Ocean Walkman to name but a few. Then Iwan and Andri, our chefs, showed off the skills and presented an amazing dinner- this trip was starting off very well indeed! After cruising in the early hours of the morning, we arrived in Sangeang Island for our first full day of diving. The visibility was outstanding and everybody loved the beautiful corals and the black sand. Sightings today included pygmy seahorse, ghost pipe fish, snake eels and a variety of nudibranchs. After our 3rd dive we moved to Gilli Banta for our obligatory night dive at “The Circus”, where everybody had an amazing dive spotting stargazers and a flamboyant cuttlefish.
The first dive in Komodo was at “Coral Garden” where guest Mike was lucky and spotted a group of mobula rays, then everybody got ready to see some larger fish as we headed towards Gilli Lawa Laut and enjoyed diving at “The Shotgun” and “Castle Rock”. White tip reef sharks were spotted along with turtles, Napoleon wrasse and giant trevallies. In the evening we all celebrated Jennifer’s birthday and the crew showed off with a pirate theme.
The next morning the shark action continued as the current picked up a little at “Crystal Rock”. The giant trevallies came for some breakfast and chased the schooling fusiliers whilst the white tip reef sharks lazily cruised in front of us. Moving onwards we made a drift dive at “Tatawa Besar” and were rewarded by a manta ray cruising slowly by, everybody was able to have a great look and take some fantastic video clips. A gentle drift on “Makassar Reef” ended our afternoon before we all went for a sunset dive at “Dragon Besar”. This dive is a special for critter hunters as you can look for mandarin fish, all kinds of decorator crabs, nudibranchs and pipefishes.
The next morning after a light breakfast we went on land at Rinca Island, where the rangers guided us for a short trek through the bush on our customary “Dragon Walk” before we drove to the southern part of Rinca, to dive the famous “Nusa Kode”. Not only the diving is world class in this region but there is plenty of other wildlife including sea eagles, wild pigs, deers and of course the dragons. We spent the afternoon and night here with Tim and me competing to find the smallest frogfish… of course I won with 2 painted frogfish against his oscillated one! Debbie spotted a new species of nudibranchs which got specialist Tim very excited 9 and perhaps distracted him from the frogfish hunt!.
After one more dive at “Cannibal Rock” the following morning with more macro subjects on the agenda, we moved westwards to Komodo Island and enjoyed two superb dives at “Manta Alley”. Even with the strong surge there was still plenty of manta action. Then it was time to head up north but sadly Bill was taken ill with a non-diving related issue, and whilst he and his son Jimmy departed the yacht early under the advice of DAN, the remaining divers explored the reefs around Labuan Bajo.
“Crystal Rock” and “Castle Rock” welcomed us back for another two dives with an amazing amount of fish life including white tip, black tip and grey reef sharks. Tim’s group even got to see some dolphins joining in the hunt of the fusiliers. Gilli Banta was next on the agenda with dives at K2, where Tim showed of his spotting skills and found a little pygmy pipehorse and at the end of the dive a large manta ray waved good bye to us. However, you can’t really trust a manta, because on our next dive at “Swiss Dream” he showed up again and disturb us from looking at leaf fish and ribbon eels! The last dive for the day was a on our special site in Sangeang Island where we once again found numerous species of nudis on “Bonto Reef”. For our final evening, Iwan and Andri prepared a fabulous BBQ for us, after which we enjoyed an evening of games and music. And so ended our liveaboard cruise we say congratulations to Jennifer for completing her EANx course and to Mike, Debbie and Carissa who have become our first PADI Nudibranch Specialists.