Diving Komodo National Park on S/Y Indo Siren
Diving Komodo National Park on S/Y Indo Siren
A very multicultural group this time from USA, Spain, Argentina, Switzerland, the UK and Germany, arrived right on schedule to commence our 4th trip here in Komodo this season for the Indo Siren. We also welcomed back some repeat guest Ingrid & Joachim who were with us back in January in Raja Ampat. Once everyone was settled in and rested we started the trip with our checkout dive at The Unusual Suspects and probably our best dive there for some time. We were inundated with Thorny seahorse, frog fish, nudis, not to mentioned spying some ornate ghost pipefish and tiger shrimp, cuttlefish and of course crabs galore. A good start to the trip!
The next day we headed over to Sangeang Island for a bit of techno magic and to visit the Estauary! Currents, waves and the wind picked up during the morning which prevented us from visiting Hot Rocks so we moved the boat over to Gili Banta to try to find some protection. The journey took longer than expected due to the conditions so we had to skip dive three and treat ourselves to a 70 minute night dive on Small World instead, which did not disappoint at all! Stargazers, bobtail squid, pigmy squid, cuttlefish, three different octopus, big eye squid and so much more!
Day 3 and a beautiful relaxed dive on coral garden was followed by the craziness of Castle Rock and Crystal Rock – both voted within the top 3 dive sites of the trip! The next morning we were expecting some current so decided to check out Shot Gun! But in true Komodo style the currents were just not doing what they were supposed to do and we have a very relaxed ride through the passage! Such a beautiful dive site I almost prefer it that way!!! And we were graced an Eagle Ray, two large blotched marble rays and a white tip shark before we even made the fish bowl and this was followed by a small Manta Ray after being gently spat out the other side…. Batu Bolong was not looking quite so calm so it was time to visit Tatawa Besar for a gentle drift dive and plenty of fish and turtles! Sebayor Kecil was also protects and very relaxed and then it was time to battle with the other liveaboards at Wainilu for a night dive slot…. Indian walkman, octopus, crocodile fish, nudis and hundreds or different crabs! In the morning it was time to see some Komodo Dragons at the Rince Ranger Park. A lovely walk but unfortunately all the Dragons were handing out at the ranger station and not in the wilderness where they are supposed to be!
Next stop Padar and the very beautiful Tiga Dara and boy had the water temperature changed!!! Brrrrrr… Currents were also pretty strong but we still managed to find a very cute warty frog fish and giant stone fish with a very unsuspecting blenny sitting in its mouth! :0( Even with the currents this site was vote number 5 dive site of the trip! Next Secret and the visibility was pretty poor but the site pretty and fishy with so many pteraeolidia ianthina’s it was ridiculous!
All the wave charts were telling us that going south was not an option but we thought we would give it one last look as we exited from Padar and kept everything crossed! And we got lucky! Waves weren’t looking too bad so we decided to head down south to Rince for a few days and when we got there we were the only boat around! (I wonder why??? ;0) BLISS!!!! Torpedo Alley was waiting for us! Not only Torpedo rays but also the elusive Bobbitt Worm!!!
So Horse Shoe bay was ours for the taking! Cannibal Rock first on the agenda – and voted the number 1 dive site of the trip! We saw everything there and did the dive 3 times over 2 days, with Pedra even saying she saw a manta ray there! She was the only one that saw it though ;0) The visibility on Rhino Rocks not so great but Jackie did find the very special Ceratosoma Megnificum nudi that is know in that area! Water temp 24 degrees and everyone was wrapped up in layer upon layer of wetsuit for the 3rd dive of the day on Yellow Wall. A gentle drift and so much to see including the minute Lady Bugs, on which Alison spent the next 30 minutes photographing! And a great photo she got too!, Zebra crabs, hairy squat lobster, nudis, sea apples feeding, orangutan crabs, turtles and much much more! The sun even came out for a brief moment for us!
Before our sunset dive on Cannibal rock we decided to go and feed the dragons some chicken! Which apparently they love! This trip they were not so aggressive and didn’t fight over the meat but the bigger dragons did chase off the smaller ones! A few times they tried to come to the boat, but we were ready for them this time around and backed off in plenty of time!
Day 7 and there were still big waves in the south and very strong winds so unfortunately it was not possible to head over to Manta Alley and so we decided to do 2 more dives in Nusa Kode and then head back up north to Pantai Merah. Banana Island proved a little surprising as we were not expecting so much current! We flew by the reef but did get a brief glace at a huge blotched marble ray cruising by. Then we revisited Cannibal Rockto say goodbye to all the fish, turtles, cuttlefish, coleman shrimp and zebra crabs, lady bugs and everything else! It is such a wonderful dive site but boy is the water cold!!!
Up to Pantai Merah and the water temperature was only 1C warmer but the mild current kept us moving and warmer. A very fishy dive especially by the wall with big and small things to be seen throughout the dive including, skeleton shrimp, lady bugs and turtles feeding. We stayed in Pantai Merah to do a night dive at DWI’s secret! Muck/Reef dive with crocodile fish, bobtail squid, huge reef octopus etc,.
Early the next morning we headed further North to Tatawa Besar followed by Makassar Reef in the hope of seeing some mantas! But no luck! Then on back up to Gili Lawa Laut to warmer waters and to revisit Crystal Rock and our resident Eagle Ray who paid a very close visit to Meighan. Just one hardcore diver for the night dive in Gili Lawa Darat Bay and few of the rest of the guests decided to opt for a hike up a mountain for the sunset! With Alan bringing up the rear in bare feet!!! A few beers and bottle of plonk to celebrate Ingrids birthday on the top before heading back down and rejoining the boat to continue the party mood until around 2am!
This trip flew by and our last full day of diving was spent in Gili Lawa Laut on Castle Rock and Shotgun – without the shot!! AGAIN!!! But we did come across an orange frog fish that attached himself to Dwi’s octopus! And of course Crystal Rock! Then it was time for sails up and a photo shoot whilst on our way to North Komodo for our last night dive at Coral Garden where we found the stargazer we have been looking for for ages, along with a pigmy octopus and huge spearing mantis shrimp!
Early in the morning we moved up to Gili Banta to check out rollercoaster! Not too much current but enough to enjoy the ride! A beautiful wall! And to chill out at K2 before making the long journey back to Bima!
Of course no trip is complete without an end of trip party but it was very slow to get going! Perhaps it was the Spanish influence and everyone was having a siesta but by 11pm things got rocking! And I snuck off at 1:30am leaving the rest of them partying til after 2am…..
Congratulations again to Andy and Allison on their wedding! And Ingrid we hope you enjoyed your birthday onboard with us! It was a real pleasure having you all with us in Komodo and we hope to see you all again soon!