Fast-Paced Action in Komodo

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Fast-Paced Action in Komodo

Phi siren KomodoOur 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.

fish school KomodoDay three had us waking up for the super relaxing dive at Coral Garden. We delayed the dive to 7:30am to allow the sun to be a bit higher in the sky to illuminate the beautiful underwater scenery. We were treated to the many varieties of aquatic life, and the huge gorgonian sea fans provided a great backdrop for the photographers and their ‘models’. Our second dive in Komodo National Park treated the group to RIPPING currents at Castle Rock. White Tips and Grey Reef Sharks, and GIANT Trevally entertained us for 30 minutes. Even the schools of Fusiliers weren’t present at ‘the point’ due to the impressive current, but we found them hiding behind the bommies as we ascended towards our safety stop up at the top of the rock. Although only about a 40 minute dive, everyone returned to the boat filled with adrenaline and stories of their experience at this famous dive site. The guests had a nice hearty lunch and a bit of a rest before our next dive at Crystal Rock. Just as we thought slack tide was arriving we dropped in to meet a ripping change of current. No one was disappointed as the current brought in the white tips sharks, Giant Trevally, and thousands of fusiliers. Every one of the guests chose to do the mountain trek at sunset, and ascended to the top of the peak at Gili Lawa Laut to take photos of the sunset over Sangeang.

Frog fish komodoDay four diving did not disappoint. After Timo and Alex’s extensive dive briefing on the currents at ‘Shotgun’ the divers only experienced a ‘BB Gun’ current as the ever changing currents weren’t showing us what they had done the day before. Still plenty to see but the jokes were flowing all day regarding the expected but not present current for the ride. Alex took all of the jokes in stride with a big smile on his face as he knew the current would be there for the second dive of the morning. Golden Passage was briefed well as the current swept the group between the islands of Gili Lawa Darat and Komodo, with a stop along the way to ‘swim’ with a medium sized school of Barracuda at only 5 meters deep. Some close enough to us that we could have reached out and touched them as they seemed to be ‘relaxing’ in the strong current. During lunch we headed to Tatawa Basar for our 3rd afternoon dive with the turtles and over the lush beds of golden yellow soft corals, and then on to Wainiloo for the never disappointing dive with the Mandarin and Picturesque Dragonette Fishes, Juvenile Cuttlefish and Pygmy Octopi and various species of crabs at sunset.

croc-fish- KomodoDay five the guests got to meet the Komodo Dragons in the National Park at Rinca during the hour long hike through the forest, and up the hill for some gorgeous views and photos. The day turned out to be one of the most perfect weather days in some time with plenty of sunshine, and nearly glassy calm seas. Diving in the park we visited Makassar for our first dive of the day and although the Manta’s were still on holiday, we saw some nice underwater geography, turtles, blue ribbon eels and many other divers. The guests were thrilled to see a small pod of dolphins off the starboard side of the boat during lunch. Batu Bolong had a strong current in the afternoon, but the visibility was incredible, and we were immediately met by Giant Trevally, a Turtle, and a white tip reef shark when we dropped in. It was unfortunate that we had a large group of divers drop in from another boat about 20 minutes into our dive as we were enjoying the site to ourselves prior to that. A slow trip against the current brought us to Pink Beach for a beautiful sunset dive. The divers were quickly revived from their afternoon naps as the 24C water snapped them back awake. The dive was awesome with all kinds of aquatic life to see. Schools of assorted species of Fusiliers were swimming by as we dropped in, and as we floated along the reef we were all treated to banded cleaner shrimp, blue spotted rays, juvenile cuttlefish, frogfish, crocodile fish, and 3 scorpion leaf fish. Alex with his excellent underwater vision was also able to spot some mandarin fish hiding in the staghorn corals to show a couple of divers that weren’t lucky enough to see them at Wainiloo the night before.

siren divers komodoDay six we repeated the dive at Pink Beach in the morning as there was so much to see on the dive the night before. Heading back north we dived at Batu Bolong where the current was super light and we got to explore the entire reef. Way too much aquatic life to mention here – we could just say we saw a bit of everything! After lunch we’re back to Castle Rock for a second go and the current was once again RIPPING. As a group we saw two sharks, and that was about it. The current was even too strong for the fish. Although a very short dive – many stories about the dive experience were shared back on the boat. The Sunset Dive at Shotgun gave the guests more of a pop this time, and ending the dive at Flamingo Reef there were thousands of Fusiliers that we were using our torches to play with. There were sharks, turtles, trevally, tuna, and many other fish to see on the dive. It was a great ending to the dive day. After dinner, the guests and crew helped me celebrate my birthday with a wonderful cake, and several rounds of Happy Birthday sung in many different languages from around the world. Thanks Everyone!

Our last day had us heading back to Gili Banta for our final two dives at K2 and Ungke’s Coral Garden. It’s a nice place to end the dive week with 2 coral dives and the highlight at K2 was a Manta Ray, and 2 Eagle Rays! Gear was rinsed, and the relaxing afternoon begun as we headed back to Bima Bay. Stories, photos and e-mail addresses were shared. We had a delicious Bar-B-Que for the last evening, as guests then retired, and did the final packing for their trips home or to their next destinations. Thanks to everyone! We had a great time, wished all safe travels, and hope to see everyone again in the future! CHEERS!


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