A 7-day Adventure in Komodo
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 🙂
Day two and our first dive was off of the North Coast of Komodo at Coral Garden before we made the short hop across the top of Komodo to a bay in between Gili Lawa Laut & Gili Lawa Darat. From here we hit 3 of our most popular dive sites, Castle and Crystal rock, both teeming with life from impressive Dogtooth Tuna and Giant Trevallies to the walls of schooling fusiliers and longfin bannerfish. The third dive was optional; our guests chose to either squeeze in Shotgun for a cheeky little sunset dive OR go for a sunset walk on Gili Lawa Laut to take in the impressive scenery with a Bintang in hand. In the end we had 5 divers and 4 walkers with everyone enjoying and glad of their respective choices.
WOW! What a day of diving we’ve just had! Drifting Shotgun followed by cruising slowly through Golden Passage. Being checked out by the bumphead parrotfish and ignored by all the turtles that were busy chowing down on the grasses and corals. Dive three at Batu Bolong was too remarkable for words; there were fish of all shapes, sizes and colour everywhere. Whether they were hiding from the current, or using it to stalk their prey they didn’t seem to even notice us. Let’s not forget, we also met MORE turtles who were once again eating and posing for our cameras! Whilst dive three was going on Andre & Timo left for an arduous journey in one of our R.I.B.S against wind and waves to go and collect (finally) our three missing guests. They made it to Labuan Bajo, swiftly picked up our guests and headed back out into the weather and elements to rejoin the Phi Siren off the coast of Rinca just in time for our sunset/night dive at Wainiloo. And what a treat that turned out to be, with all groups finding the much sort after Mandarin Fish & Picturesque Dragonet as well as a number of other spectacular critters that seem to awaken with the setting sun. Tomorrow we have planned the Dragon Walk!!!
Today, whilst preparing breakfast and getting ready for our excursion Fendy discovered that over night we had gained a guest. Chilling out in one of our R.I.B.S was probably the biggest Banded Sea Krait I have ever seen, it must have been almost 1.5m in length. We gathered the guests so they could have a photo op before the situation was dealt with. We were then ready to head out to the national park on Rinca which we were fortunate to have to ourselves. Arriving a little before 7am we acquired two rangers and proceed on an hour long trek. We were lucky enough to spot a young Komodo dragon sunbathing in a tree only 10mins into our journey. The rangers then took us up a small incline so we could enjoy the view of the bay and some of the neighbouring islands. On our way back down we were surprised to find not one, but two large dragons blocking our way. After a little ‘off-piste’ trekking we made our way back to the Phi Siren so we can dive Makassar Strait in the hope of finding Mantas. Dive one brought us two, the second dive however we were less fortunate. The day ended with a pretty little sunset dive off of Pink Beach followed by a not so smooth journey south so that we were in a better position for Manta Alley in the morning.
The last full day of diving started with a truly stunning run rise, with reds and oranges coming up in the East from behind the Island of Rinca. The captain raised anchor at sun up, about 5:15am and we set sail for Manta Alley. We stayed for two dives gorging ourselves on Mantas, watching them play, visit the cleaning stations and feed before we started the long journey back up North. Our third dive of the day was a repeat visit to Batu Bolong and again it didn’t disappoint. We had numerous Hawksbill turtles, mating white tip reef sharks as well as an abundance of anthias, basslets and sergeant majors. Despite all the travelling already completed we weren’t yet finished. Once again we were on our way further north for our night dive and safe haven for the evening, which was in a bay just South of Gili Lawa Darat. The night dive brought with it a sleeping green turtle, eels and a Spanish dancer nudibranch to name but a few of our finds.
The end of what seemed a very short week… As they say time flies when you’re having fun! We ended today with a double header on Castle Rock with some strong currents and multitudes of fish, schooling, hunting & mating. We even threw another hawksbill turtle into the mix for added good measure. Those who wished to miss dive #2 were able to trek up onto one of the peaks on Gili Lawa Laut to enjoy the views. Once the dive and the trek were finished we returned to the Phi Siren in her full state of glory; her seven sails billowing in the wind looking impressive with the blue skies and Komodo in the background. A farewell BBQ was had before a somewhat early night as we had to bid farewell to everyone in the early tomorrow morning. Flights changing once again our guests had to make their way to Lombok, escorted by Timo in order to make their journey back to Bali. Thankfully all arrived safely together and Thank you all for a great week and some excellent adventures!!!