KOMODO NATIONAL PARK, Indonesia // We booked a 4D/3N liveaboard scuba boat with Komodo Dive Center out of Labaun Bajo, Flores, Indonesia. It only takes a few hours to get out into the Komodo National Park which has some of the best dive sites in the world. They are known for their pristine waters, strong currents, and vast diversity of marine life.
It was our first live aboard and so we weren’t exactly sure what to expect, but basically it went dive, eat, sleep, repeat. Overall I did 11 dives and Adam did 13. We did an intense 4 dives a day starting with a 6:30 AM sunrise dive and ending with 6:30 PM night dive. Each dive was around 20-30 meters and around 60 minutes. The water was 28 degrees Celsius and we had sunshine all week. Each dive had unique terrain ranging from fields of coral, reef walls, overhangs, rubble, sand, and passages. Our dive master was safe, gave thorough briefings, and loved to joke around. Our cruise director was Adam’s favorite. With over 4,000 dives under his belt, 6 years of experience in Komodo, and accompanied by his dry British humor he left us all in stitches.
We were briefed on current and what we might see before each dive. We saw the healthiest coral with the most vivid colors I have ever seen, and more marine life than I knew could exist in one place. We saw 30+ manta rays from as big as me to larger than a car, with wingspans of up to 20 feet. We watched 15+ white tip, black tip, and grey sharks search for breakfast one morning followed by giant silver trevally looking for scraps. They came so close and could have cared less about us hooked to our rocks. We saw the biggest fish I have ever seen at about 5 feet long and 4 feet wide, the napoleon humphead wrasse, who would swim by with only feet separating us. You couldn’t miss the giant sweetlips either who looked like they had botox gone bad. We saw 20+ sea turtles, giant grouper, lion fish, barracudas, tuna, boxer crabs, unicorn fish, sea cucumbers, batfish, spadefish, needlefish, blue spotted sting rays, eagle rays, moray eels, big red eyes, sea slugs, nudibranchs, lobster, frog fish, a one inch sea horse, christmas tree worms, and a flamboyant cuttlefish. We protected ourselves against titan triggerfish who aggressively defend their nests if you get to close. We found Nemo and Dora and sang, “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming,” under the water. I also found a tank banger that a dive master had dropped, which is basically a metal rod they use to bang their tank underwater to get our attention. I had a lot of fun poking around the coral with it as well as conducting imaginary orchestras under water. I spent a lot of time in reef guide books trying to identify all that I had seen even though there was so much it was difficult to remember anything. A good problem to have.
We also ended up with a great group of 30 something year olds that instantly bonded over a deck of cards and a little Monopoly shuffle. The food was out of this world and I slept like a baby under the stars on the top deck. It will definitely not be our last liveaboard and I don’t think it will be our last time to Komodo.
Oh yeah, and we saw the infamous Komodo Dragons on our last day on a hike through Rinca Island. How often does "Dragon Trekking" make your daily itinerary?
Dive Sites // depths, times, and main attractions
- Sebayur // 32 Meters, 55 minutes // check out dive, Grouper, Blue Spotted Sting Ray, Cuttle Fish
- Tatawa Besar // 18 Meters, 58 minutes // Shark, Trevally, Pufferfish, Trigger Fish
- The Couldron // 23 Meters, 46 minutes // Strong Current and Sling Shot, Gray Shark, Barracuda
- Crystal Rock // 21 Meters, 51 minutes // Napolean Wrasse, Giant Sweetlips, Needlefish,
- Golden Passage // 22 Meters, 45 minutes // Slight down current, Batfish schooling, Moray Eel
- Komodo North Bay // 20 Meters, 55 minutes // Shark, Blue Spotted Stingray, Turtle
- Junkyard // 18 Meters, 58 minutes // Night Dive, Baby Octopus, Moray Eel, Boxer Shrimp
- Castel Rock // 30 Meters, 43 minutes // 20+ Sharks, Black Tip, White Tip, and Grey
- Batu Bolong // 26 Meters, 51 minutes // Coral Aquarium with fish everywhere, Giant Wrasse
- Makassar Reef // 10 Meters, 68 minutes // 30+ Giant Mantas, Tank Banger
- Sabina Bay // 12 Meters, 50 minutes // Night dive, slight current, Lobster, Boxer Crabs, Turtle
- Police Corner // 36 Meters, 44 minutes // Overhang, Current, Cave, Sea Horse, Sea Slugs
- Siaba Besar // 20 Meters, 69 minutes // 15+ Turtles, Frogfish, Flamboyant Cuttlefish
- Dragon Trekking // Rinca Island, 3 Komodo Dragons 10 feet long being lazy in the shade