Komodo… Siren Fleet Back Again!!!
After nearly a year absence from Komodo I returned to my favorite diving destination and like last year on the Palau Siren, I got to enjoy the brand new Siren Fleet liveaboard the S/Y P. Siren. Frank put a lot of effort into the boat building, together with his father Jan and mother Annie – they really nailed it! The yacht is simply stunning.
Our first guests arrived in Bima, having spent a few days relaxing in Bali they were ready to explore Komodo’s underwater realm. After our briefings and the safety drill the dinghies took us out to our first dive site “The Unusual Suspects”. Much to be expected from the last seasons diving here we encountered thorny seahorse, ornate ghost pipefish and many other critters. Captain Daeng had an early start the following day, weighing anchor at 3 am, to get us to Sangeang Island in time for our next day of diving.
I always look forward to see how dive sites change over time; however when we visited “Techno Reef”, “The Estuary” and “Hot Rocks” all the amazing life was still there including pygmy seahorses, a variety of nudibranchs, xeno crabs and octopus as well as the luminous anemones and bubbling sea bed. The weather was as fantastic as the diving and during our crossing to Gilli Banta everybody enjoyed a relaxing siesta. As a change from the dark sand, we spent our night dive at “The Circus”. With its white sandy slope this site is always superb at night with stargazers, octopus, sting rays and hunting lion fish.
As we know from previous trips in Raja Ampat, even a check dive is a great dive and our first dive of this Indo Siren liveaboard safari was no exception. Heading first north to the Dampier Strait near to the island of Waigeo, all the divers were treated to a close encounter with a wobbegong shark who nearly swam into us. This creature already looks special when it’s just lying around, but even more so when swimming. A demon stinger, more wobbegong sharks, turtles, different types of pygmy seahorses and many more interesting sea creatures were spotted throughout, so even on our first diving day, the guests were already able to see the biodiveristy Raja Ampat is so famous for.
Marine Science and Manta Magic
There’s never a dull moment aboard the SY Indo Siren, as those who have already been onboard will surely attest and naturally each trip has its own unique character. This trip we had the honour of welcoming aboard Charlotte Caffrey, Marine Scientist from Aqua-Firma and host of this 10-night odyssey.
Photographing Pygmys in Raja Ampat
Underwater Photography Guide trip led by Scott Gietler, got underway in Sorong as we welcomed our 14 Americans, 1 Australian and 1 English guest. The first day was all about setting up dive equipment and of course most importantly, the cameras! Checking of lenses, strobes, charging batteries and all the other fiddling us photographers like to do was all managed as we started our journey to Misool area aboard the award winning Indo Siren!
Flores-Raja Ampat; Exploring the Banda Sea
October 28 rolled in and it was time to embark on our long transition from Flores to Raja Ampat. The crew and I welcomed our 16 guests from Wirodive Tauch- und Erlebnisreisen, Germany and after the first of many delicious meals; we began on our cruise across the Banda Sea. There are many places with anemones, some are big, some are small, some have clownfish in them some don’t, some are red some pink or green or white but never was I blown away by the site of seeing not hundreds or thousands, but trust me on this one, millions of anemones. Clown Valley or Anemone City, as some call it, deserves its name! The sloping bottom is covered in a carpet of mostly knobby sea anemones in various colors. Funnily enough only one species of clownfish inhabits what seems like a clownfish heaven. The Clark’s Clownfish rule the waters around Pura Island!
12 Nights in Komodo
For the Indo Siren’s final trip of the 2012 season in Komodo before heading back over to Raja Ampat via Alor and the Banda Islands, we were joined by a very international group from Germany, UK, America, Holland, Switzerland and Australia. This trip was a 12-night extension, ending in Maumere, giving us extra time in Komodo! For our check out dive we visited the Unusual Suspects, saying goodbye to the thorny seahorses and 3 different frog fish before spending the evening celebrating Laetitia’s birthday! The following morning we headed over to Sangeang Island, where we managed 3 dives at the Estuary, Techno Reef and finally the very beautiful Hot Rocks, before cruising to Gili Banta for some stargazers at Small World!
Whale Sharks in Komodo
We have had hardcore divers on board the Indo Siren Liveaboard before but never a whole group that loves diving sooooo much that they never miss a dive, especially not the night dives! With very rare exceptions we had at least 11 out of the 14 divers doing the night dive every night!!! You rock! A very international mix coming from Italy, France, Germany, China, America, the UK, Thailand and the Netherlands! And everyone got on like a house on fire from the start! Fantastic!
Our liveaboard trip got off to a great start as it appeared we had a “Manta Magnet” on the boat ; with mantas showing up for all three dives on Gili Banta!!! Amazing!!! We had two birthdays to celebrate on this trip and Peter managed to celebrate his with even more manta encounters at Coral Garden before we headed to the very beautiful Gili Lawa Laut for fishy action on Castle and Crystal Rocks.Currents were playing nicely so Shot Gun was a gentle pistol but still a very beautiful start to the morning …. Then more spectacular manta action at Makassar Reef with 14 mantas dancing and swooping for around 55 mins!!!! …. AMAZING!!!! It was then time to hunt out some critters at Pantai Merah and we had a superb dive with octopus, including a blue ring, cuttlefish, big eye squid, giant frogfish, alien sticks and so much more….. every time we dive here we see something different; it is ever changing!!! Pia’s birthday was spent with the Dragons on Komodo Island, then we headed down to Padar to encounter ornate ghost pipefish at secret garden, finding 4 on one black coral!!!
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.
Palau Siren’s Komodo Season Finale
For our last trip this season here in Komodo we welcomed a group from “Schoener Tauchen” Germany. All of our guests arrived in time and after a light lunch, some briefings and the life jacket drill we visited our first dive spot “The Unusual Suspects” in Bima Bay. What an amazing check dive with sightings of 6 different frogfish in a range of colors and variations. We all awoke the next morning in Sangeang Island where we stayed for two dives on the black sand looking for more macro subjects. With crystal clear water and just a mild current these dive sites never disappoint and everybody came back with a smile on the face after seeing pygmy seahorses, leaf fish and a snake eel buried into the sand. Whilst we had lunch and siesta Captain Daeng sailed the luxury liveaboard “Palau Siren” to Gilli Banta for the afternoon and night dive. The coral formations in K2 are stunning and nearly all our guests got also their first glimpse of the “Big Bird” when a manta ray cruised by. The night dive was more macro focused with stargazers, nudis and all manner of shrimps and crabs.