Komodo liveaboard Adventures
Komodo liveaboard Adventures
Well they call themselves the OAP Brigade but with an average age of 56 this group of divers, who joined the S/Y Indo Siren for a 7-night trip in Komodo, could put you all to shame! Day 1 and we quickly established that MUCK diving wasn’t really their thing and so we tried to focus more on the beauty and fishiness that is Komodo. Early the next morning we motored over to Sangeang Volcano for the first introduction to Komodo currents – at Techno reef and then Hot Rocks. Hot Rocks definitely set the scene, when the currents suddenly picked up a third of the way through the dive and we ended up flying past the very pretty wall over to a more protected side, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying some beautiful nudis, a reef octopus and the very cute hairy squat lobster and orangutan crab! Most of which were big enough for them to see … with the use of our magnifying glasses ;0) The soft corals and colours were certainly easier to enjoy. Afterwards we moved over to Gili Banta for a slightly more sedate dive at K2 and then a night dive at Small World, which was very much enjoyed by everyone, even though it was almost a muck dive as we saw stargazers, snake eels, crocodile fish, big fat stonefish, reef squid and much much more.
Day 3 started with 2 gentle dives, firstly at Coral Garden where we enjoyed a large school of bumphead parrotfish, a friendly black ribbon eel, black tip reef shark and many schooling fish. This was followed by Big Nose full of colour and our first turtle encounter, more ribbon eels and even a banded sea snake… We then moved the boat over to Gili Lawa Darat to pump things up a little and go for an adventure dive through the golden passage of Shot Gun and boy was it a ride!!! Many of us were through the channel in 9 minutes (or less) and then spent the next ten-twenty minutes trying to stay at 5m for our safety stop! The ride was so exhilarating that some guests even wanted to go back and do it again! But we thought best not! After the adrenalin pumping ride at Golden passage it was decided that perhaps having a rest and skipping the night dive would be a good idea! So we chilled out with a very beautiful sunset and called GIN o’clock a little earlier than usual.
On the northern tip of Gili Lawa Laut we checked out The Lighthouse for another relaxed start to the day. We were greeted with giant trevally, schooling longfin bannerfish, hundreds of surgeon fish and red-tooth triggerfish as well as hump-headed batfish. White tip sharks cruised by. With the new moon we were expecting strong currents and so rather than trying out Castle and Crystal Rock we decided to hunt out some dive sites with a little more protection until later in the week, and so we headed over to Tatawa Besar for a fishy dive with reef octopus and hawksbill turtles. Dive 3 was at Makassar Reef – which was expected to be a drift dive and didn’t disappoint! However many of the group unfortunately mainly saw rubble with only a lucky few seeing a manta ray, white tip sharks and some schooling yellow ribbon sweetlips and gold banded fusilier. Our night dive was at Pantai Merah with moderate current but nothing this group of gung hoe divers couldn’t handle! Most things were a little small and the magnifying glass was used a fair bit to see the very special and tiny lady bugs along with bobtail squid and many different crabs – arrow, spider, decorator – you name it… on a larger scale there was the slipper lobster, banded sea snake, cuttlefish hunting and the beautiful basket stars eating
Day 5 and wakeup was a little earlier today in order to walk with the dragons. Tony was determined to get eaten as he strayed off on many occasions but the ranger soon pulled him back inline… We were graced with a few dragons during the walk as well as some at the ranger station. Back to the boat to rest our weary legs before enjoying our special encounter with some beautiful big birds at Manta Alley!! And yes they were there in force performing for us and coming in nice and close! This turned out to be everyone’s FAVOURITE dive of the trip. After all the excitement of the dragons and mantas it was time for another night off from diving so we decided to steam up to Gili Lawa Laut instead of hanging out in the south and moving up in the early morning.
Just two more diving days to go so it was time to experience the very beautiful Crystal Rock, personally favourite dive site in the area and yes our resident eagle ray was there and came to say hello! Currents were strong so we kept to the protected area of the main rock, peaking our heads into the current to check out the black tip and white tip sharks cruising by. The second morning dive at Castle Rock never fails to surprise our divers. We got up close and personal with schools of surgeon fish, snappers, white-tip reef sharks and hunting trevally and hung out in the current for a while before drifting around to the protected side of the rock for our safety stop and to check out the baby white-tip sharks sleeping under the table corals. Crystal Rock was so good we decided to head back for more and this time dive the second pinnacle (currents permitting). We were not disappointed. White tips, an inquisitive napoleon wrasse, dogtooth tuna and yes our eagle ray hung out with us too amongst the schooling jacks, trevally and snappers. We then moved over to Coral Garden for a more sedate night dive with so much to see you didn’t know where to look. Stargazers, bob-tail moray, big fin reef squid, spearing mantis shrimp, massive reed cuttlefish and a Spanish dancer to add to the mix.
Sadly we came to the last dive day to enjoy two quite different dives – especially where water temperature and visibility was concerned! Both dives were at Gili Banta, however the water temperatures differed by nearly 5C between the east and west sides of the island. Star Wars was a little chilly to say the least and caught us all be surprise and was definitely considered a drift dive. Swiss Dream on the other hand really was a dream, lovely visibility, no current, warmer waters and we were graced with a bright orange giant frogfish, yellow scorpion leaf fish, thousands of anthias and damsel dish, beautiful nudis, the hilarious orangutan crab as well as a turtle and sea snake! A very nice end to an enjoyable trip!
For OAP’s you guys know how to rock! And a lot of you did just that on the last night in Bima, to some oldies but goldies! Showing the crew how it was done! You were a great bunch and the crew and I really hope we see you all again soon! Perhaps in Raja Ampat next time ;0)