It’s Thursday, Nic and I are on the Indo Siren showing our new C.D trainee the yacht, its safety features and the beginnings of the paperwork needed for each charter. Meanwhile Edu went to the airport to pick up our 13 divers, 4 from Spain, 1 from the UK and the rest Aussies. HOWEVER… he only came back with 12! Our Brit decided to be ‘fashionably’ late and miss the plane. Friday kicked off with 2 dives on Unusual Suspects followed by one on Tanjung Nudi (our Brit decided to show up during dive three – Welcome to the Indo Siren Christopher!!!) the dives brought with them a host of frogfish, a thorny seahorse, some pipefish and masses of Nudibranchs. We left Bima Bay at 3:30pm and headed out to Sangeang for the night dive on Bontoh Reef, before sailing through the night to get to the safety of Batu Moncu, our anchorage.
Fast-Paced Action in Komodo
Our divers from Switzerland, The U.S., Spain, Austria, China, Malaysia, Slovakia, The U.K, and France arrived tired but excited, anticipating the diving in Komodo National Park for the next 7 days.After getting everyone settled aboard the Phi Siren and the paperwork out of the way we enjoyed a relaxing dinner and overnight stay in Bima Bay. An early morning start on day two heading to Sangeang at 3am provided us with a 6am arrival at the Island. We did the checkout dive for the group at Bonto Reef and deployed the Emergency Recall Device for the group to experience. The divers with Timo’s group participated in the Decompression Dive exercise. The weather wasn’t cooperating so we were unable to dive Hot Rocks, but the next 2 dives provided plenty of macro critters for the group and photographers. At Techno Reef we saw proof that many of the smaller sea life is coming back into the area for the season with the appearance of an Ornate Ghost Pipefish and at Estuary we found two Hippocampus bargi banti Pygmy Seahorses at only 18m!!!! Diving the black sand area is a great way to start a trip to let the divers get their buoyancy sorted and get relaxed in the water. During the slow trip to Gilli Banta moving against the wind and current everyone enjoyed dinner and cake to celebrate Pui Yee’s Birthday. The night dive at Circus was at its usual awesomeness! Lion Fish were on patrol to make use of our torches to find their dinner, Stargazers and a juvenile orange frogfish (size 5mm) was the highlight of the dive. Everyone retired for the evening as the yacht made its way to Batu Monshu to spend a quiet evening in the bay.
Weird & Wonderful Komodo
Arriving late in the afternoon our International divers arranged their dive gear and cameras in preparation to start our diving the following morning at Coral Garden in Komodo National Park. Beautiful hard and soft corals, huge gorgonian sea fans, plenty of fish and a juvenile frog fish was the order along with an early morning sun highlighting the underwater world and as an added bonus we saw manta rays breaching during our breakfast.
We followed up the morning with a bit of mild current at Big Nose where dolphins were spotted underwater in the distance then during lunch we cruised to Gili Lawa to dive Crystal Rock. Several white tips were on patrol as their young rested under the table corals. The trevally jacks were already hunting fusiliers and 2 leaf fish became a highlight of the dive for the macro photographers. It’s always an amazing dive at Crystal Rock and this week we had the ripping currents Komodo is famous for. We finished the day at Flamenco Reef for our first night dive of this 10-night liveaboard safari.
Dive Komodo ; Rays, Reefs and More…
For once the guest of the Phi Siren and her crew were off to a regular start, no temporary airport closures, large flight delays or missing suit cases. Everything went smoothly; a good omen for this wonderful 10 day trip to the North and South of Komodo National Park. Our divers were a mix of Dutch, Swedish, English and Americans and their ages and experience levels were just as varied, from instructor level to a 16 year old Open Water Diver with just about 10 dives but each have learned something new during the trip and seen some fantastic new creatures under and above the Flores Sea!
A 7- day Adventure in Komodo
The day started out brightly with the crew putting the final touches to making the Phi Siren look spick and span ready for our next adventure. Marie, from Canada arrived first, but as Merpati changed their flight schedule for Ramadan many guests would not arrive until later and 3 sadly missed the flight changed and remained in Bali for a further night. So with a just a few of our guests aboard we settled in with briefings and a few Bintangs and some much needed rest for the jet-lagged divers. Day one of diving turned out to be full of the weird and the wonderful – well in underwater terms anyway. With the Stargazer, Snake Eel, Robust and Ornate Ghost pipefish, a number of different species in their juvenile form being found as well as a host of stunning Nudibranch’s. All this fun diving excitement fitted nicely around some frantic planning to try and arrange a way for our three missing guests to meet the Phi Siren off the coast of Rinca. Fingers crossed for the 14th, which is when we expected them 🙂
Drift Diving in Komodo
Sangeang an almost perfectly round island consists of an active complex volcano with two volcanic cones reaching 1949 meters and 1795 meters. This was to be our first stop on the next Indo Siren adventure. Because of its fresh rain water runoffs, black sand and slight currents it is a true delight to macro seekers. At Bonto Reef we found nudi after nudi, after nudi; all different species. Hot Rocks has bubbles coming from the sand and colorful coral bommies, whilst in deeper water on a gorgonian fan we spotted 5 bargibanti pygmy seahorses! Moving a little closer to Komodo National Park for our night dive at Circus we found stargazers, snake eels, lionfish hunting, a huge triton, spider crabs, nudis and numerous other critters. A great day of macro to start off this liveaboard trip in Komodo, but the big stuff was just around the corner…
Mobulas; Mantas; Macro
For this Komodo trip we welcomed 15 guests from America, England, Germany, South-Africa and Thailand – sounded like an interesting mix – and it was! All flights were delayed by minimum one hour and on to that 2 bags were missing as well. Probably not the best start, but the crew from the Phi Siren managed to get everybody a Bintang and all settled in for what would be another superb dive liveaboard safari with the Siren Fleet. First day of diving got underway with a check dive at Bonto Reef; also known as Nudibranch-City after the dive! We followed with more muck-diving at Techno Reef then switched from black sand to white sand for dives at K2 and Circus where we were treated to Leaf fish, tiny black Frogfish, Hawksbill Turtle, a Stargazer, Indian Ocean Walkman and Baby Crocodile fish; a busy day for our jetlagged guests who were happy to have dinner and then roll into bed!
Komodo – Award Winner Indo Siren is back again!
The water temperature in Komodo has been slowly dropping to 26 degrees Celsius and our dive guides have now exchanged their board shorts for 5mm wetsuits with hood, boots and gloves. But it doesn’t seem to faze our 16 divers from Scuba Life, Melbourne, Australia. On the contrary they are well adjusted to diving in the cold water with low viz and ripping currents before the board the Indo Siren. Our check out dive is as usual at the Unusual Suspects a true test for the macro creature seekers. As we have quite a few new divers, buoyancy control and preventing storm clouds was higher on the priority list than looking for natures finest. Which we did see on our second dive there! With the assistance from the Phi Siren we received the 2 missing pieces of luggage and we went on our way. The night dive at the Circus complete with stargazers, snake eels, blue spotted stingrays and a beautiful full moon brought smiles to our faces.
Whale of a time…
For this liveaboard safari to Komodo we welcomed aboard a group of 16 Americans, who have spent their holidays together since 1994! The Phi Siren left Bima Harbour late afternoon and cruised to Sangeang Island, where we anchored for the night. On the first day of diving we started with a check dive at Bonto Reef, it was a relaxed dive with many of nudibranchs and a huge angry cuttlefish. A dive at Estuary followed and then K2. K2 is a divesite at GIlli Banta, which treated us with Hawksbill Turtles, Juvenile black Frogfish, Orang-Utang Crabs and a Bamboo Shark, meanwhile the night dive at Circus we saw a Bobtail Squid, Squat Shrimp, some decorator Crabs.
Mantas, Sharks & Critters abound…
After all the travelling, our guests for this 10-night Komodo liveaboard safari boarded the P Siren and got settled in. It was already getting dark but several of the divers were keen to get into the water and so we opted for a night dive at the Unusual Suspects in Bima Bay – a superb dive with loads of critters to kick off the trip. For the rest the dives planned for the next day would be their first taster of Komodo’s underwater realm. Starting off at Techno Reef and The Estuary, at Sangeang Island and followed by K2 and Circus at Gili Banta, we were treated to orang-utang crabs, hawksbill and green turtles, tiny frogfish, bargibanti pygmy seahorse, bobtail squid and many special shrimps. The day’s highlight was witnessing a hungry stargazer gobbling up a tiny fish in a millisecond during the night dive.