7 - 11 NIGHT TRIPS
Emperor requires that you are a PADI Advanced Open Water or equivalent with a recommended 50 logged dives for this itinerary. This itinerary is unsuitable for beginners and most dives will involve going to depth and currents can be strong. If you are Open Water or equivalent you will be required to take part in the Advanced Open Water course on-board. All diving is made from zodiacs to give precise entry and exit points. As with all diving activities, the dive guide has the final decision regarding any divers competency to complete any particular dive.
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 Raja Laut means 'King of the Sea' and stepping on board this 'schooner style' inspired yacht, built from tropical hardwood, you will experience a truly regal sense of sailing the Indonesian seas; freedom, style and comfort. The vessel accommodates 12 guests in air conditioned, en suite cabins. The spacious teak deck is perfect for eating al fresco or just relaxing, diving is from 2 large RIBS. Wine is included with dinner.
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.
Sebayor Island: A protected sandy bay flanked by coral reefs and mini walls.
Sangeang and Satonda: Sangeang Api, a huge twin peaked volcano thrusting out of the ocean is one of the most active volcanoes in the Lesser Sunda Islands. Two large volcanic cones, 1,949m/6500ft - high Doro Api and 1,795m/5980ft - high Doro Mantoi, are in the centre and on the eastern rim, respectively, of an older, largely obscured caldera. Aside from the stunning mountainous scenery, wild horses and domestic buffalo can sometimes be seen on the beaches. The underwater world of Sangeang is every bit as impressive as the island itself with caves, canyons and mysterious reefs bubbling like champagne due to the volcanic activity below. These volcanic islands have ideal muck diving conditions. Bury your head in the sand to find a whole cache of hidden creatures, such as ghost pipefish, seahorses, frogfish, flatworms, arrow crabs and sea moths, plenty to keep photographers happy.
Batu Bolong: At the surface, you can just see a small rock with a hole in it, but underwater it goes deep into the blue down to 70m. The rock is full of marine life with an amazing hard and soft coral cover and numerous cracks. There are some huge schools around the surface, many pelagic fish such as dogtooth tuna, giant trevallies and Napoleon wrasse . Deeper down you can see white tip sharks sleeping on the slope. The current can be very strong and divers must be experienced and take care.
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.
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.
Manta Alley: The water clarity can sometimes be only about 40 feet, but the plankton that clouds the visibility also consistently attracts manta rays. Here divers can see manta rays cruising the shallows along the sloping face of the reef, and with a bit of luck and a careful approach can get fairly close.