Komodo National Park
This is an epic journey around one of the most diverse and unique areas of the natural world, to a land of dragons and dramatic landscapes, fierce currents and sparkling corals in seas teeming with more marine life than almost anywhere else on the planet, a real life "Jurassic Park" above and below the surface of the sea. The itinerary offers world class diving and snorkeling in an amazing variety of sites. Leaving Bali you will voyage and dive through the Nusa Tengarra region, navigating breathtaking scenery such as; volcanoes, mangrove forests and the stunning blue of the wide open sea contrasted with sun-scorched, red earth islands. Moving on to the western outskirts of the Komodo National Park you'll dive at Bima, Sangeang and Gili Banta before spending the rest of the trip entirely in northern, central and southern areas the park diving the best sites available.
The Komodo National Park consists of three major islands; Komodo, Rinca and Padar as well as a number of smaller ones. Only on these legendary islands do Komodo dragons, survivors of the prehistoric carnivores that thrived in tropical Asia some 100 million years ago, still live and roam freely. There are over 50 dive sites to explore, varying from colourful shallow coral gardens to fast flowing drift dives along the walls, pinnacles rising from the deep and calm conditions in the bays for macro photographers seeking rarely seen critters in black volcanic sand . Komodo is blessed by a through flow of currents and cold water upwellings flowing to and from the Indian Ocean providing nutrient rich waters where swathes of soft corals, sponges, ascidians and clouds of brightly coloured fish thrive. When the current´s right exhilarating blue water, fish soup diving with explosions of fusiliers, trevallies, sharks and other pelagic fish will leave you mesmerized for hours. Hang out with congregations of Manta Rays while they feed, clean and dance on the shallow reefs and rock formations.
The Indo Aggressor is a traditionally crafted two masted wooden phinisi, accommodating 16 guests in comfort (including being pampered by a crew of 17!). All cabins feature air-conditioning, private bathroom facilities, a hairdryer and towels. The lower deck houses four twin staterooms with bunk beds and two deluxe staterooms with a double bed, all cabins with a porthole. The two master staterooms are located on the top deck and can be configured for double or twin beds. Facilities on board include a sun deck, wet bar and entertainment salon as well as a camera table and charging station.
The itinerary will vary depend on several factors including, but not limited to, weather, diving ability of guests & the number of other boats already present at the various dive sites.
Sebayor Island: At the start of the trip there will be a check dive in a protected sandy bay flanked by coral reefs and mini walls.
Moyo Island: Here you will see massive elephant ear, barrel sponges, schools of long fin banner fish, red tooth triggers, frog fish, nudibrancs, eels, surgeon fish, snapper and dog tooth tuna.
Gili Lawah Laut & Gili Lawah Darat: Located on the northern edge of the Komodo National Park the Gili Lawah area comprises of two bays on north Komodo and two islands, Gili Lawah Laut and Gili Lawah Darat. The terrain here is rocky hilly savannah and the two islands support big herds of goats as well as the ubiquitous sea eagles and blackbirds. There are some very scenic hikes up onto the tops of the hills here and the climber is rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding islands and waterways, especially at sunrise and sunset. The diving here is some of the very best in the area, if not the world. Spectacular sea mounts, glittering reefs, current swept channels all in a relatively small area make diving here a must on every visit. Recently on two of the sites hunting dolphins have been sighted with an entourage of grey reef sharks and giant travelley. On other sites here there are families of manta rays and even a rare dugong was spotted on one dive site in this area.
Bima Inlet: There are a variety of dives in the calm waters of the Bima Inlet from teeming coral reefs to prolific critter dives to search out some of the more bizzare marine creatures. Fuzzy Bottom looks fairly nondescript from the surface and not much better once you descend, however, this place comes alive once you get to the seabed. Fairly shallow and gently sloping the sand here provides shelter and a hunting ground to some of the rarest cephalopods on the planet. Five of the "Octopus Holy Grails" are here. The long arm varieties Mimic's, White V and Wonderpus are fairly common and Blue Rings and Veiny have been seen on a regular basis. Apart from our eight tentacled friends there are zebra crab and Coleman shrimp in fire urchins, thorny seahorses, various ghost pipefishes, frogfish, strange looking puffers and porcupine fish. Night dives here are a trip - battling crabs and shrimp fight it out on the bottom while trying to avoid the attentions of the other hunters.
Gili Banta, The Sape Strait: The imposing and impressively desolate island of Gili Banta sits in the Flores Sea at the top of the Sape Strait, the current washed channel that separates the islands of Komodo and Sumbawa. There is little in the way of vegetation on Banta save for a few sparse trees and bushes growing on the rocky slopes and ledges above the beaches. Majestic sea eagles have made their homes on the vertical rock faces that plunge into the deep blue sea and are frequently seen soaring, swooping and even fighting with each other while hunting for a meal. Gili Banta's main dive sites are situated in and around this north facing bay close to the edges of what is almost certainly the caldera of a massive but long extinct volcano. There are two points on the east and west ends of the bay; one a picturesque and teeming coral reef underneath a rocky peninsula (Starwars), the other a current swept promontory with breathtaking marine architecture ( Rollercoaster). For divers wanting a more sedate time there are some pretty white sand and coral reef sites such as The Circus and K2. These two sites are inside the bay and regularly come up with unusual marine critters and are ideal for underwater photography and night dives in easy calm conditions. The main attraction at Gili Banta however is the infamous GPS Point, a high voltage coral covered underwater mountain and one of the most unpredictable and demanding dives in the Komodo area; but so rewarding when dived in the right conditions at the right time.
Tatawa, The Linta Strait: Located in the middle of the Komodo National Park, the Tatawa area - sometimes called "Current City" - consists of a group of small islands, rocky outcrops and sea mounts that are constantly buffeted with the strong currents sweeping up and down the Linta Strait that separates Komodo from Rinca. Topside the larger islands of Tatawa Besar, Siaba and Sebayor are rocky and grassy, great for hiking with some striking views of the park from their highest points. There is little wildlife but they do support a number of birds in the shape of sea eagles, cormorants, pelicans and ravens. Current City is home to some of the most thrilling dives in Komodo. Spectacular coral reefs can be drifted over, sometimes at high speed, guided by friendly turtles. The sea mounts, when dived at the correct tide and sea states are among the very best in the world, teeming with some of the park's larger residents. The dramatic slopes, walls, pinnacles and caverns of these dives are covered with marine life and are a photographers dream in the normally great visibility. There is even a manta cleaning station in very shallow water at the island of Mauan that provides thrilling close encounters with these gentle giants.
Horseshoe Bay (Nusa Kode) at Rinja Island: One of the top 10 dive sites in the world and a diver’s paradise. The Yellow Wall of Texas is one of the Komodo National Park's signature dive sites, so called because of the proliferation of robust sea cucumbers - they are all over the place and their bright yellow hue dominates the vista. You can also feast your eyes on clown triggerfish cruising around the reef amongst the thousands of fork-tailed fairy basslets and butterflyfish. Not only does the wall itself promise much in the way of entertainment but sharks, manta rays and turtles are all frequent passers-by. Torpedo Alley is famous for its electric rays and one of the best night dives you will do for critter sightings. Cannibal Rock has been described as being in the top five dives on the planet, the site has marginal visibility but more than makes up for it in terms of density of life. This small seamount rises to within a few feet of the surface, and it is easy to circumnavigate in a single dive. Sea apples and other varieties of the sea cucumber family are especially abundant here, as are nudibranchs, puffer fish, octopus, and all weird and wonderful manner of blennies.
Langkoi: Situated across the extreme southern edge of Komodo Island and facing the open Indian Ocean is Langkoi Bay. This huge area has one large island inside it, Tala, and is dotted with smaller islets and rocks. Great ocean swells break on the palm fringed beaches and there are impressive sheer cliffs with several unexplored caves at the base. The high cliffs surrounding the bay to the north are a haven for sea eagles, particularly on the outer rocks. There are several stunning dives here with a list of marine life that would shame other parts of the world, however, the main attraction of Langkoi are the manta rays. Whether these majestic creatures are feeding in the current swept channels, cleaning themselves at their stations or just flapping around on the surface in the late afternoon sun, they are always one of the most exciting sights a diver can see in the ocean.
Padar Island: Although there are no Komodo dragons here, the island does support a variety of wildlife, including: sea eagles, deer, goats and several gigantic spiders! Padar's dive sites offer great variety; choose between teeming seamounts, sheer wave blasted walls or serene and prolific critters dives. One of the most spectacular features is the pink beach on the island's west facing bay. The sand contains the crushed remains of bright red and purple organpipe coral which doesn't lose its colour when it dies. The particles mix with the sand to create a pink ringed beach which becomes all the more spectacular at sunset.
Loh Liang: Land tours to see the Komodo Dragon start here, the creatures can even be seen around the ranger station offices and museum. Diving here you will encounter curious batfish as well as schooling barracuda, trevally and mackerel swimming at 30- 40m depth. Excellent soft coral growth and numerous seafans hosting pygmy seahorses are to be found and although the site usually has excellent visibility it is prone to strong currents.