Liveaboard Diving Trip in Komodo with Indo Siren
Liveaboard Diving Trip in Komodo
With S/Y Indo Siren
Our liveaboard diving trip in Komodo got off to a great start as Merpati Airlines came through and all of the guests arrived on schedule. With everyone on board, we conducted our welcome and safety briefings then headed right out to Bima Bay for a sunset dive at Unusual Suspects. As everyone was settling back into diving and sorting out their weight, they got a chance to see some magnificent small creatures. The seamoth and ringed pipefish were favorites, as was the reef octopus.
On day 2 we arrived at Sangeang, the volcanic island. Dive #1 at Techno Reef, comprised of black, volcanic sand and bommies. Next we made a gentle drift dive at the Estuary, with its beautiful black sand, sloping reef. As we were headed to Gili Banta, we encountered some wind and waves; some of the guests hadn’t quite acquired their sea legs so we elected to go straight across to the protected N. Komodo where we did a sunset dive at Coral Garden. After our sunset dive, we then headed to Gili Lawa Laut and there we met up with the Palau Siren on her return journey to Bima.
Shotgun, between Gili Lawa Laut and Gila Lawa Darat the following morning proved a spectacular dive. Not only did we get to ride the shotgun, but we were also visited by a manta ray, a mobula ray, white tip reef shark and several turtles. Although some guests were a little reluctant to experience the Komodo currents, this trip through Shotgun was mild and helped to bolster their confidence. Castle Rock was next and of course everyone just loved the excitement of the negative entry, swim to the ledge and hooking in to watch the show. Oh what a show it was! White tips and grey reef sharks, giant and bluefin trevally cruising through schools of fusiliers and rainbow runners. Then we unhooked and drifted a little shallower on the pinnacle and began our safety stop.
During lunch I took some of the guests over to the Palau Siren to see Andri, one of the chefs on board. They had sailed with him previously on another Siren Fleet cruise and wanted to go say hello. I also had the good pleasure to run into an old friend (and boss) from Southern California, who was on the Palau Siren as a guest. It was nice to catch up with Hosame and Rika! Diving Crystal Rock is always a treat, with a mild current and schools of snapper, fusiliers and trevally just to highlight a few. Our spotted eagle ray was again stationed above the second pinnacle, hovering in the current and watching the divers, who were watch him. Along the ledge and under the table corals were several small white tip reef sharks. Upon surfacing in were in for another treat; the Palau Siren, looking beautiful with here sails up, was cruising towards N. Komodo. Anight dive in the bay was taken up by several avid divers on board whilst others opted for a sunset hike to enjoy the island scenery. Today was our favorite divemaster’s birthday so all the crew got together and made her feel extra-special. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Dince ! ! !
In the morning of day 4, just because it was so wonderful the day before, we repeated the Shotgun, Castle Rock and Crystal Rock trio. Splendid as ever, full of color and fish, it was a great day and an all-time favorite area for most divers. After that we headed south to Pantai Merah to spend the night and have a night dive. Again, a few people elected to start their party a bit early, but those who went for the dive were treated to a Pygmy squid and painted frogfish. An amazing find by Dwi.
This morning we made our dragon walk in the Komodo National Park, It was a great day for a hike and all of the guests enjoyed the walk and the information the ranger provided. Even though it is mating season, we saw several dragons along the walk… I’m guessing they were the unlucky bachelors! After our walk we made a dive at the three underwater pinnacles known as Tiga Dara (Three Sisters). The current was moderate to strong and the visibility was poor. Most guests surfaced after about 30 minutes without finding the frogfish at the third pinnacle. They did however find the huge stone fish that lives on top of the first pinnacle, a white tip and a leopard shark. The following dive at Pillarsteen Canyon had better visibility and was a gentler drift. Dwi and Benny were busy pointing out nud’s, turtles, bumphead parrotfish and scorpionfish. After which we moved south to Nusa Kode for our night dive at Torpedo Alley. Dwi took the guests on an incredible journey, finding a sea snake, pygmy squid and a clown frogfish. This trip is very special for one couple on board. Today he celebrated his 60th birthday and of course the Indo Siren crew treated him to song and dance along with a birthday cake.
After the evening’s celebrations we rested up for the following day of diving in the colder water. Cannibal Rock was first and as always, it was a wonderful experience loaded with colorful soft and hard corals as well as Zebra and Xeno crabs, ladybugs, Nudi’s and turtles. Our next dive was at Crinoid Canyon, a combination of sloping reef and wall where a black ribbon eel caught our attention and the gentle current helped us along. In the afternoon, the sun came out and the guests unanimously requested to dive Cannibal Rock again. So we did. Just a beautiful dive of filled with colour; vibrant greens, oranges and reds, and the amazing sea life did not go unnoticed either. Some divers that skipped Torpedo Alley the previous evening asked if they could go tonight. Dwi took three guests and headed off to Torpedo Alley. The torpedo rays, octopus and eels always make for a great dive.
With an early start, we are headed over to S. Komodo, keeping fingers crossed that we will be able to make the passage. As it turned out, it was a very smooth crossing. The guests awoke to find themselves at Manta Alley and the excitement was mounting. On our first dive, we settled in at the balcony and waited for the mantas. They showed up just like we hoped and for the next 20 – 30 minutes we watched as they gracefully and effortlessly glided back and forth, all around us at the cleaning station. On the second dive, we headed around to the other side of the rock and found not only mantas, but also bumphead parrotfish and a turtle. For our afternoon dive, we headed around the corner to a beautiful bay and the wreck of a phinisi. Diving on the Phinisi was a change from Manta Alley we were treated to a school of batfish & the resident crocodile fish. Then it was time to head back up to warmer water and the beautiful pink beach of Pantai Merah to spend the night.
Our special couple had yet another occasion to celebrate. Today is their 20th wedding anniversary. We wished them both well and continued happiness.
The dive at Pantai Merah was a relaxing way to start the day. A white tip reef shark topped the list, but there were also schools of fusiliers and several oriental sweetlips. The current was mild and the temperature was beginning to get back to 26C (78F). Batu Bolong was our next stop. What a beautiful dive. The current was stronger and we needed to take care approaching the edges, so not to get caught in the down current eddies. The sun was out and the colors were amazing, with many great things to see; bearded scorpionfish, Napoleon wrasse, lionfish and sea turtles. After lunch we arrived at Tatawa Besar and had a comfortable drift dive down the reef. As always, there were many, many sea turtles and schooling reef fish. We spent the night in Gili Lawa Darat bay. No one wanted to night dive, instead several guests wanted to climb the peak and watch the sunset from the top.
Day #9 – This morning we had a nice gentle cruise through Shotgun. In the back crevice there were schooling snapper and some giant trevally. After the fishbowl and past the rise, we saw Mobula rays and sea turtles. During breakfast we saw the Palau Siren off in the distance headed our way. When they arrived, we traded some supplies. We desperately needed some more peanut butter. It seems that some of the guests have a hollow leg and never stopped eating peanut butter toast. After breakfast we headed off to Castle Rock to watch the sharks and Giant Trevally circle the schooling fusiliers. As always it was a great show. The current was mild and the water warm. Our afternoon dive was at Crystal Rock. After saying goodbye to the Palau Siren, we set the sails and headed towards N. Komodo and Coral Garden for the night Our first dive, at K2, was a bit earlier than normal with the highlight being a pygmy seahorse. For our last dive of the trip we went to Swiss Dream for an easy and relaxing dive. Remember our special couple? Today is her birthday. What a fun filled trip for them to have all of their special holidays on one vacation. We also had yet another surprise. Ed proposed to Amy underwater during the last dive. I think she said yes, but there were way too many bubbles to be sure . . .
After the dive we had lunch and headed back to Bima. Everyone took the time to relax and reminisce about their dives. The afternoon was filled with last minute gift buying and a few massages. Then a nice BBQ dinner followed by a photo show from the guest contributions and an evening of partying….
Thanks to all of the guests for a great trip….Sampai Jumpa Lagi!