Komodo Critters Mantas and More

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Komodo Critters Mantas and More

hairy-squat-lobsterOur Komodo Liveaboard trip was off to a great start… with all the passengers and luggage actually arriving into Bima at the same time Not only that the weather was looking good for some smooth sailing ahead! Our first full day diving took place on the volcanic island of Sangeang with the magic of The Estuary and Hot Rocks, before heading over for a taste of Swiss Dream on Gili Banta and then finishing the day with our night dive on Small World with the star gazers!…. Bargibanti pygmy seahorse, frog fish, xeno crabs, ribbon eel, hairy squat lobster, White ‘V’ Octopus, Bobtail squid and soooooo much more! A great start to the trip!

baby-carpet-sharkThe next day we started with a beautiful dive at Coral Garden before motoring on to Gili Lawa Laut for superb dives at Castle & Crystal Rock. We had the big and the small – sharks, trevally, turtles and even a 2mm lady bug! Who says you can’t see it all in Komodo…. For the night dive we changed it up a bit and headed over to Sebayur Kecil to see what it had to offer! Our first dive on Tatawa Besar the following morning, was a ride and a half! But we were lucky enough to get our first sighting of some manta rays at the end of the dive. We timed Batu Bolong just right – not too many divers and hardly any current for this stunning reef. Back to Tatawa Besar for another drift dive but this time on a rising tide so not quite so fast and for the night dive we calmed things down a notch and went to the very special Wainilu to find the frog fish, bobtail squid, pygmy squid, baby cuttlefish, and we were very lucky to also see a baby carpet shark as well as a halemida ghost pipefish!

Mushroom-coral-pipefishConditions were looking good the next day so we decided to head south to colder climes and worse viz! Secret Garden and Tiga Dara in Padar were first up before heading down to the famous Cannibal rock and Torpedo Alley! We clocked 22C and had a viz of 5-10m!!! but the macro life here is simply fantastic and well worth it. Mushroom coral pipefish, leaf scorpion fish, coleman shrimp, frog fish…… the list goes on….. And yes we had the bobbit worm at Torpedo Alley but he was camera shy unfortunately! Richard celebrated his birthday today and I think was the only one that didn’t get cold during the dives.

manta-in-komodoThe cold waters were getting to everyone so we opted for just 3 more special dives in Nusa Kode before heading back over to Komodo Island for a night dive on the Phinisi wreck. That night everyone was dreaming of manta rays for the following day! Manta Alley… and it would appear that Mik’s dreams had too many mantas in them and he wore them all out! The first dive was another cold water one with only 20C and the mantas stayed away so we decided we’d had enough of the cold water and to head north to Pantai Merah for some warmer waters and to spy on some mandarin fish! Our muck dive at Pantai Merah did not disappoint! Flamboyant cuttlefish Bobtail squid, White ‘V’ octopus, Coconut octopus, Frog fish and an, as yet, unidentified special pipe fish!!!

dargon-in-komodoDay 8 started with our dragon walk and we were lucky to see two baby dragons in the trees and more than 15 deer grazing at the watering hole! But our main thoughts were still on the elusive mantas. Makassar Reef was calling and yes….finally we saw them at last, a superb dive all round!!! At Tatawa Kecil and the currents were looking nice so we quickly geared up and jumped in! Within 5 mins the currents had picked up making us zig zag along the reef as best as possible! A fabulous dive- voted one of the top 5 favourite dives of the trip! Then it was back to Wainilu to give others the chance to check out the critters we saw on the night dive.

IMG underwaterOur last full day of diving was spent at Gili Lawa Laut and Darat! Where we revisited Crystal Rock and Castle Rock and also enjoyed some manta action on the Shotgun! The current was fairly strong but many, including Mik & Kerry held on to watch the show and get some great video! Time flies when you are having fun and the end of the trip was upon us. We cruised back to the island of Gili Banta for a taste of Rollercoster without the crazy currents which was great; 40m+ viz and beautiful walls, leaf scorpion fish, hairy squat lobsters by the dozen, peacock mantis shrimp…. And then our final dive on K2 which did not disappoint – in fact Yvonne didn’t want to come up from the dive – but mother nature was calling! With pygmy seahorse and an eagle ray it was a great way to end a lovely trip!

Untitled-1But stop the excitement was not over yet! In the evening Michael perfromed a very impressive scuba pole dance for the whole group!!! I am not too sure I can say any more…. Let’s just say, what goes on on the liveaboard, stays on the liveaboard…. for now at least! Thank you all for a great trip and also for bringing the nice calm waters with you! It has been a pleasure. Lisa & the Indo Siren Crew.

Photo by Derek Emmett,Manferd,Michael Splitter

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