Duration: 10 nights
Ports: Bima to Bima
Season: April - October
Located 200 nautical miles east of Bali, the Komodo National Park is nestled between the large island of Sumbawa and Flores in Indonesia, all of which are part of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Officially declared a World Heritage Site in 1991, the Komodo National Park encompasses 132,000 hectares of marine waters making it one of the largest protected zones in the world.
Diving in Komodo National Park is best done by liveaboard, which allows you to explore the area to its fullest. The park and surrounding area boasts one of the world's richest marine environments, with over 260 species of reef building coral, 70 species of sponge, marine worms, molluscs, echinoderms, crustaceans, over 1000 species of cartilaginous and bony fish, marine reptiles, and marine mammals. Some notable marine species include pygmy seahorses, anglerfish, nudibranchs, manta rays, dolphins, whales, napoleon wrasse and groupers.
**PLEASE NOTE** the itinerary below is just an example of the route taken and the order and dive sites are not guaranteed. All dives sites are subject to weather conditions and the final route taken is at the absolute discretion of the captain and dive guides.
Day 1- Arrive Bima - 1 dive
Airport meet and greet, transfer to the port and board the SY Indo Siren. After boarding settle into your cabin and assemble your equipment with help from the friendly crew. The boat and dive briefings follow.
- Dive 1- Bima Bay: This is a great location for a check-out dive with the possibility to find some small critters. Juvenile harlequin sweetlips, peacock flounders, oriental bonitos, frogfish, wire- coral shrimps, pineapple headed shrimps and zebra crabs to name just a few.
Day 2- Sangeang Island & Gili Banta - 4 dives
Up to 4 dives at this small and active volcanic island, where lava ridges can be seen leading to pristine hard and soft corals.
- Dive 1- Techno Reef has dark volcanic sand dotted with black coral bushes and is home to critters such as pink squat lobster, popcorn shrimps, ghost pipefish, garden eels, long nose hawkfish and cuttlefish.
- Dive 2- Estuary: pygmy seahorses can be found clinging to the polyps of the sea fans along the reef slope whilst the sandy patches are a fantastic place to spot sawblade shrimp and a wide variety of nudibranchs
- Dive 3- Hot Rocks: clown triggerfish, box fish, snappers, blue yellowtail blennies and dragonets, brightly coloured anemones really "pop" against the dark sand and the bubbles in the shallow waters are a fascination.
- Dive 4- After 3 dives at Sangeang Island we cruise to Gili Banta where we make a night dive at the "Circus" where stargazers and blue-ringed octopus can be found. Following our dive we cruise a short distance into the Komodo National Park to anchor in the sheltered bay.
Day 3- Northern Komodo - 4 dives
You will spend the next 7 days diving within the Komodo National Park at a wide variety of dive sites - all offering pristine corals and a wide variety of marine life.
- Dive 1 - Coral Garden. The gentle coral slope with huge sea fans and coral bommies mixed with sandy patches makes for a great site for white tip reef sharks and the occasional eagle ray. We then cruise to Gilli Lawa Laut where you will spend the remainder of the day.
- Dives 2 & 3 - Choosing from Castle or Crystal Rocks dependent on the currents. These off- shore pinnacles barely reach the surface and are a haven for schooling fish. White tips and grey reef sharks are common, schools of fusileers, snappers and surgeon fish line up in the currents. Eagle rays cruise by and Napoleon wrasses are often inquisitive allowing divers to approach for a close up.
- Dive 4 - Night dive in the bay - where mobula and manta rays are known to visit!
Day 4- Gili Lawa Laut & Current City - 4 dives
- Dive 1- Shotgun! Starting the day with a fast paced dive we head to the reef formed between the island of Gili Lawa Laut. The reef is formed of vibrantly coloured soft corals, large table corals and sea fans. We spend time at the coral bommies before moving into the channel and the "fish bowl" A deep ravine where the current gathers and schools of trevallies and snappers move in ever tighter formations. After spending time in the Fish bowl divers then face the "shotgun" as the current pushes you up and over the reef slope to drift behind the island and be collected by our attentive dinghy drivers. A truly memorable experience!
- Dives 2 & 3- These can be just as current fuelled as we move into "current city" to dive Tattawa Besar and Tattawa Kecil. As we approach the currents can be seen swirling on the surface and underwater the drift can be fast-paced. White tips, eagle rays, turtles and schools of barracuda and snappers are all to be seen and there are plenty of places to shelter from the current to relax and watch the show.
- Dive 4- Dragon Besar - is where we make our sunset dive to see the mating mandarin fish and picturesque dragonets. Frogfish, pipefish and tiny cuttlefish are also common sightings.
Day 5 - Dragon walk & Nusa Kode, Rinca - 3 dives
Rinca Island is home to various species of wild animals such as black buffalo, wild pigs, deer, monkeys and of course the Komodo Dragons. Spend one morning with a park ranger trekking and learning about these legendary animals. After the dragon walk we cruise to southern Rinca to the small island of Nusa Kode - the water temperature here can drop to 20°C/ 68°F and the water is typically greener than the rest of Komodo National Park. On the nearby beach we also see Komodo Dragons and Eagles nesting in the trees.
- Dive 1- Cannibal Rock another off-shore submerged pinnacle brings sightings of devil scorpion fish, tassled scorpion fish, broadclub cuttlefish, orang-utan crabs, Coleman shrimp, painted spiny lobster, ornate ghost pipefish, turtles, frogfish and if we are lucky rhinopias.
- Dive 2 - Torpedo Alley. The dark sand and coral bommies are ideal for macro critters whilst in deeper water pygmy seahorses can be found in the gorgonians.
- Dive 3- night dive at Cannibal rock or Torpedo Alley
Day 6 - Nusa Kode & Southern Komodo - 4 dives
Making a further 3 day dives at Nusa Kode you will dive again at Cannibal Rock, Torpedo Alley and to Yellow Wall, named for the abundance of yellow soft corals. This is the site to see the microscopic "lady bugs" - magnifying glasses are advised! In the late afternoon you cross to Southern Komodo to make a night dive on the small wreckage of a fishing boat, which attracts sweetlips and turtles.
Day 7 -Southern Komodo - 4 dives
3 dives at "Manta Alley" or "German Flag" - where you can expect to see large numbers of manta rays lining up to be cleaned. Hold on to the rocks and watch the graceful mantas glide by; twisting in the currents and making it all look so easy! Schools of surgeon fish, triggerfish and jacks along with numerous macro critters can all be seen but the mantas really do steal the show. Night dive at Pink Beach where we look for crocodile flathead, longnose hawkfish, Coleman shrimps and devil fish.
Day 8 - Current City & Gili Lawa Laut - 4 dives
- Dive 1 - Pink Beach
- Dive 2 - return to current city to dive at Batu Bolong or Makassar reef. Manta rays, bumphead parrotfish, white tip reef sharks are just some of the fantastic species you may see here.
- Dive 3 - Gili Lawa Laut Lighthouse. Manta rays have made an appearance here, whilst the slopes full with barrel sponges and gorgonians are ideal for finding pink squat lobsters, cuttlefish, octopus and other molluscs.
- Dive 4 - Night dive in the sheltered bay.
Day 9 - Komodo National Park - 3 dives
- Dive 1 - Your final dive at Gili Lawa Laut choosing from Castle rock, Crystal rock, or Shot gun! Before the cruise to Gili Banta to make a further two dives.
- Dive 2- Roller-coaster - Manta rays, dogtooth tuna, rainbow runners, golden and bluefin trevallies. Currents here can be unpredictable and diving here is not recommended for all guests. However the coral garden is fantastic to explore for crustaceans, molluscs and turtles are often seen.
- Dive 3 - K2 a shallow reef slope with bommies and a picturesque coral garden in the shallows, perfect for that final safety stop. Manta rays are occasional visitors so looking into the blue is a good idea from time to time. Ribbon eels, cuttlefish, banded sea snakes and plakobranchs are just a few of the creatures that draw your attention back to the reef. After our third dive we hoist the sails and enjoy a speedy cruise back to Bima Bay.
Day 10 - Bima Bay - 2 dives
- Dive 1 - The Unusual Suspects
- Dive 2 - Nudibranch Reef
Both sites offer such an array of critters that it's difficult to list them all! Frogfish, ghost pipefish, juvenile batfish, harlequin shrimp, zebra crabs, seahorses, mimic octopus and of course nudibranchs are all found here. Shallow dives allow for a longer bottom time and 80 minute dives here are not uncommon! The number of dives you do is dependent on your onward flight arrangements. The afternoon is spent relaxing and kayaking in the shelter of the bay - or try your hand at some water-skiing. In the evening enjoy a BBQ on the boat and start planning your next adventure with blue o two and the Siren Fleet.
Day 11- Disembark Bima
After breakfast say your farewells, disembark the SY Indo Siren at approximately 10am and transfer to Bima Airport.
Castle and Crystal Rocks
Two submerged pinnacles, lying just off Gilli Lawa Laut. The pinnacles teem with life and attract large pelagics including eagle rays, grey reef sharks, Napoleon wrasse and scools of snappers and fusileers. All are seen here whilst we hang in the current and watch the show.
Cannibal Rock and Yellow wall
Just two of the dive sites in the area of Nusa Kode. Colder water, as low as 20°C/ 68°F can be experienced here and the water often carries a greenish tinge. But the diving reward far outweighs the need to extra thermal protection! It is here we find the microscopic 'lady bugs', along with rhinopias, frogfish, pygmy seahorses, mantis shrimps and an array of nudibranchs.
As the name suggests this site attracts the manta rays which come regularly to the cleaning stations. It is common to see several mantas lined up at one time. We watch as 'the black bird' gracefully swoops down or hangs effortlessly in the current.
The Unusual Suspects
A favourite for macro photography, with so many weird and wonderful creatures we will often dive this site more than once! Tiny coleman's shrimp and zebra crabs cling to fire urchins, frogfish can be found grouped together, ghost pipefish, harlequin shrimp, sea horses and mimic octopus make this site a real delight.