Critters Galore in Komodo
Critters Galore in Komodo
The Unusual Suspects, which never disappoints, was the first stop on our Komodo liveaboard safari. Thorny seahorse, octopus, pegasus seamoth, frog fish, ornate ghost pipefish…. And much much more!!! Always a superb dive to start the trip and a good place to hang out whilst left luggage is delivered to the yacht! After a further two dives in Bima Bay the following morning, we cruised over to Gili Banta for our first late night dive on Small World before moving in to the National Park.
The day began with a gentle dive at Coral Garden followed by two more beautiful dives on Castle Rock and then Shotgun – where our Bargibanti pygmys seen to have grown bigger and bigger by the day! At the end of the dive we saw a small manta ray hanging out in the currents so a few of us jumped back in and snorkeled with it – with the help of the dingy and a long rope… mantas certainly make the currents look easy! The morning of day 4 was spent with two spectacular dives on Crystal Rock and Batu Bolong where we timed the currents just perfectly; hitting the best current for all the fish action. For the third dive of the day we decided to hunt out some mantas at Makassar Reef… where we got a brief sighting of a couple. Then it was off for an amazing muck dive at Pantai Merah where we saw clown frogfish, ornate ghost pipefish, flamboyant cuttlefish, bobtail squid, starry night octopus, skeleton shrimp and even the bobbit worm. What a dive!
The next morning we enjoyed the dragon walk and even spied a couple of baby dragons in the tree…. There were many deer at the watering hole too, obviously they thought the dragons had already eaten recently and would leave them alone! After a little shopping, it was time to get back to the boat head south to Padar for a dive at Secret Garden where we spied a mobula ray and eagle ray and numerous ornate ghost pipefish. Cannibal Rock was next up… The giant frogfish was still there plus reef octopus, loads of nudis, turtles and peacock mantis shrimp…. This was followed by Torpedo Alley; no bobbit worms but the rays were out as were the pipe fish and skeleton shrimp. Day 6 was spent in Nusa Kode starting with The Boulders, followed by Yellow Wall and Cannibal Rock – naughty nudis, lady bugs, zebra crabs, octopus, frogfish, ghost pipe fish and the list goes on and on! The day ended with a sunset dive on Rhino Rocks; which was a private tour for Tesa who was the only person to complete all 33 dives on this trip! Another visit to the dragon, this time on the beach and we also checked out the sea eagles that were swooping in!!
It was decided it was time to try to check out some mantas at Manta Alley and then seek warmer waters as it gets pretty cold in the south of Rinca Island! So we moved the boat early morning to Manta Alley only to be met with big waves and no mantas! It didn’t take very long for the vote to come in to move north NOW!!!! So we raised the anchor and headed back to Padar for a dive in Padar Bay where we saw a giant frog fish, octopus, cuttlefish, mushroom coral pipefish and a sleeping nurse shark – or at least it was sleeping until certain people who will remain unnamed woke it up! We then headed up to the north of Rinca Island to Wainilu to do a day dive and sunset dive with the mandarin fish and picturesque dragonets. Ornate ghost pipefish, frog fish, ribbon eels, octopus and hundreds of catfish hanging out under a rock… The mandarin fish and dragonets were fighting and a few mandarin fish were mating.
Next morning we started on the protected side of Tengah Kecil before heading back to Batu Bolong by popular request! Then it was time for a gentle drift along Tatawa Besar where we were horrified to see a small yacht had dropped his anchor right on top of the reef and laid down 40M of chain draped all over the hard coral! They had been told to move the boat before dropping anchor by one of our dive guides and blatantly ignored him but did not ignore me when I went for a private chat with them after my dive. Perhaps it was the season for irresponsible yachtsman as in Nusa Kode another yacht had managed to beach itself on top of Cannibal Rock just 2 days before. The crew and guides of the Indo Siren of course helped to float him once again. We then moved the boat around to Gili Lawa Darat and some of us decided to take a stroll up the mountain for the sunset and a few beers. Brian had unfortunately lost a bet earlier in the day and so had to go diving without a wetsuit which he did on the sunset/night dive… his squeal when he entered the water could be heard up the mountain…. He did, however, manage a photo shoot and dived for 40mins; brave or crazy we are not too sure which?
Our last full day of diving was spent on Shotgun Reef, Crystal and Castle Rock where we were lucky to enjoy a pod of dolphins at the end of the dive, a very rare occurrence indeed. It was then time to put the sails up and this was to be a very special occasion as we had two siren boats in the area at the same time the Palau Siren was also heading up to Coral garden and so we both put our sails up together to get a double whammy! Made for some great photos! A fabulous last night dive for the trip on Coral Garden with a walking frogfish, bobtail squid, crocodile fish, stargazer and devil scorpionfish before a final morning of diving the island of Sangeang for some black sand and beautiful corals! Hot Rocks was bubbling away and was voted the no 1 favourite dive site of the trip. This was followed by Techno Reef where we were graced with Halemeda ghost pipefish, ornate ghost pipefish, orangutan crabs, octopus and loads of beautiful nudis. It was then time to kick back and relax – or as these this group does… play card games and give each other dares!
Back in Bima we enjoyed a BBQ and Scuba Chicken made an appearance! And then we enjoyed the best desert ever…. Can’t tell you what it is as it would spoil the surprise for anyone joining us in the future! But it is definitely something for you all to look forward to. The one and only party animal in the group, Aaron, showed the crew a dance move or two (now known as the “Ruslan”), as well as some party tricks! I will never look at a quarter in the same way again!!!! Thanks Aaron! Thanks to you all for a very enjoyable trip! We really hope to see you all again very soon! Perhaps Raja!!!! Leeza & the Siren Crew