Komodo Diving with S/Y Indo Siren
Komodo Diving with S/Y Indo Siren
The Dutch have landed! The Dutch have landed! And what a great bunch they were! I have never met so many divers so keen to get into the water! They had all donned their dive gear before we even called briefing and moved the boat! And this keenness continued right up until the last day! Incredible!
Having a group used to diving in 1-2m visibility was also a bonus especially when we jumped in on The Unusual Suspects with very poor viz indeed! It did not faze any of them and some actually felt it was pretty good conditions! Go figure! They were certainly in for a treat for the rest of the trip! Or so we thought… however, the weather had other plans for us and kicked up a storm when we arrived at Sangeang, with big waves, thunder and lightning. Conditions definitely not suitable for diving! We checked out the east side of Sangeang hoping for smother waters but to no avail so moved on to Gili Banta hoping that the storm would blow over and allow us our first dive of the day… which it eventually did! However Swiss dream was our only protection and even that had moderate currents! But this didn’t stop us from finding our friendly giant orange frog fish and hanging out with large and small orangutan crabs!
So it was time to see what N. Komodo had to offer and hope for some protection from the waves and so we paid a visit to Coral Gardenfor our second dive of the day and followed up with an amazing night dive there with bobtail squid, pigmy cuttlefish, funky translucent squid with solid silver centre, reef octopus and a banded sea snake that followed us around…
Day three and it was over to Gili Lawa Laut for some currents and fish action on Castle Rock and then a more sedate ride through shotgun – even though 30 mins earlier it had looked a little hairy! Viz was great and there was plenty to see including time to check out a xeno crab on the whip coral and turtles galore on the exit from the fishbowl! Our third dive was on Crystal Rock – my personal favourite dive in the area- and voted no.2 best dive of the trip. Our resident eagle ray came to play and checked us all out! Currents were behaving and it was a fabulous dive! This was followed by a night dive on shotgun reef. The next morning we moved over to Tatawa Besar where the schools of fish were out in force! But more importantly we had an eagle ray cruise by just before we saw the large blotched marbled ray and the large sting rays mating! It was all happening on this dive! You didn’t know where to look next! Painted lobster, reef octopus and turtles galore. Afterwards we went to check out Batu Bolong for our second dive and hid in the protected side which was a beautiful sloping rocky reef full of colorful corals and large Napoleon wrasse. Currents were picking up so we headed over to Pantai Merah for dive three and our night dive! Ornate ghost pipefish, cuttlefish, and Kassandra even spied a mandarin fish or two but they soon swam away!
Early the next morning it was time to visit the Komodo Dragons and barter for some souvenirs, before heading over to the island of Padar to visit Secret Garden and Tiga Dara. My group had a rather long swim to visit the wall at Secret Garden but we did find the mushroom coral pipefish on the way which was great! Three Sisters (Tiga Dara) was very beautiful and we even found a giant frogfish on top of the first pinnacle, plus peacock mantis shrimp and a family of khul sting rays getting a clean. We managed to circumvent all three pinnacles with no problems. Beautiful! Then we headed down to the famous Horse Shoe Bay at Nusa Kode the first of which was a night dive on Torpedo Alley, voted the number 1 night dive of the trip with torpedo rays, giant frog fish, skeleton shrimp, bubble snail nudis, cuttlefish, coconut octopus and squid…. And much much more! A great end to a very eventful day!
Day six and time to visit Cannibal Rock, Crinoid Canyon and Yellow Wall before feeding the Komodo dragons some chicken – which they fought over and blood was spilled!!! But the divers remained safe and sound inspite of a few attempts by the dragons to board the dingy! After all this excitement it was time for a sunset dive on Cannibal Rock… nurse sharks, broadfoot cuttlefish, pygmy squid, pygmy cuttlefish, lined bubble snail, nudis mating! It was all happening! The following day we squeezed in one more dive on Rhino Rocks and then headed over to see some manta action at Manta Alley and boy were we not disappointed! On both dives there we were graced with many mantas feeding and cleaning! Not at all phased by our presence! After the second dive we saw at least 10 cruising along on the surface coming to check out the dingy! It was almost unanimous that this was the favourite dive location of the trip! Many of the group wanted to stay and dive Manta Alley for the rest of the trip but sadly it was time to move around the bay for some protection and our night dive on the wreck of a Phinisi boat; where everything appears to be oversized from the huge scorpion fish to the giant moray eel.
Day 8 and time to start heading back to the north but the tide charts were against us with the tides not doing what they said they would and us having to fight a strong falling tide all the way up… so we stopped off at Pantai Merah again for see if we could revisit some of our friends from last time before heading over to Gili Makassar for a gentle drift and then back to Tatawa Besar. Some of the group had previously missed this dive and it was sooooooo beautiful the first time around and the day ended with a night dive at Sebayor Kecil.
Day 9 and our last full day of diving so it was back to Gili Lawa Laut for a second helping of Crystal and Castle Rocks and then we checked out the Lighthouse before heading back to North Komodo for the night dive at Coral Bay. On the way over we put the sails up and cruised around for a little while in the dingys whilst everyone took photos! Our last day started with some strong currents on Rollercoaster but finished with a very sedate dive on K2 with a very skinny and hungry looking juvenile ribbon eel to say goodbye to us before we started our journey back to Bima!
It took this group 8 days to put some music on the stereo system but on the last night in Bima there was no stopping them as they partied all night! And I mean all night! Kess thanks for the pole dancing ;0)
The crew and I all miss you guys you were fabulous to have on board! And we really really hope we see you again very soon!