Friday, May 05, 2017

Komodo Island Dive Trip Report

Dive Report for Komodo Island

If you have been planning to visit Komodo Island for diving, here is my Komodo Island Dive Trip Report based on my recent dive there in September 2016.

For me, this was my second time visiting Komodo Island in 12 months but on my first visit, I did not manage to dive therefore on my second trip in September 2016, I did my inaugural dive at Komodo Island. The main photo in this article was taken by Kiersten during our dive together. 

Before I go on, this Komodo dive was a very last minute arrangement by Skyscanner Indonesia and Wonderful Indonesia as when our group arrived at Labuan Bajo in Flores, it was finalized just before checking in to the Sylvia Hotel Labuan Bajo.

Komodo Island Dive Trip Review

I have also written an article about diving at Komodo Island where all the basic information is shared there and this article will just talk about diving there.

In total, I did three dives at Komodo Island which was all arranged by Orca Dive, a trusted dive operator which is very professional and safety is paramount.

Their dive boat was a twin 150 hp engine speed boat complete with full top cover and the descent was the standard rollback style.

Dive Boats at Komodo Island
The dive boat I used for my Komodo dives
Pink Beach Dive Site, Komodo

My first dive spot was, of course, the famous Pink Beach dive site, together with dive buddies Kiersten from the USA, Henry from Australia and Jac from Singapore, and the four of us were given the mandatory dive check before descending down.

The first impression was wow, super clear visibility and healthy coral life. As usual, my descend is always the slowest due to my sinus problem where I have to equalize every meter on my way down.

Looking below me at a depth of 10 meters, I could clearly see the rest of the divers with the dive master already exploring the corals. Kiersten was trigger happy with her GoPro, shooting away while the rest followed.

As I caught up with them, the pure myriad of colors just kept me in awe as I passed various types of coral life. A beautiful mix of hard and soft corals dominated the sea floor with various types of coral fish swimming around.

Our dive master pointed out a spotted blue stingray, moray eel, turtles and some nudibranchs or sea slugs. Overall, the landscape was beautiful and picture perfect for those who love underwater photography.

Currents were mild during the dive where not much effort was put into finning, and this made the dive very relaxed. Eventually, we surfaced after about 50 minutes underwater with huge smiles on each of our faces.
Komodo Scuba Diving Report
Dive master giving a briefing before going down at Pink Beach Dive Site
Manta Point Dive Site, Komodo 

Next spot was Manta Point, but this was quite debatable due to the off season of Mantas, and since we were already here, the dive master had said that if we were in some serious luck, there could still be a couple of manta rays around, so he left us with the choice, but being a first time for the four of us, why not.

Back-rolled and again, a slow descend for me while the other divers were already on the lookout for those majestic manta rays. Well, not quite as they would be found at various cleaning stations, and these were on a flat terrain therefore, you could see far, providing the visibility was super clear.

For our Manta Point dive, the visibility wasn't that great as it was just past noon and we were getting about 15 meters. Currents were decent and approaching the first cleaning station, it was empty.

Our dive master signaled us to follow him to the next one and to our disappointment, no one was home either. So, throughout the dive, we checked a number of cleaning stations with no luck but corals were pretty and marine life was thriving.

After reaching the end, most of us still had about 120 bar left so I decided to do my safety stop and head on up the boat while the others continued to explore the area.

On the boat, our dive master was pretty apologetic about not being able to see any mantas, but we had already known that it was a 50-50 chance of spotting them in this time of the year, well more like a 90-10 chance if you ask me. However, it was a great experience overall.

Komodo Scuba Diving Trip Report
The dive master briefing us about the Pink Beach Dive Site
Batu Bolong Dive Site, Komodo

This was a bonus since all of our tanks were still with air, our dive master took us to the Batu Bolong dive site as a surprise, which is touted as one of the best dive sites in Komodo Island. He told us that he's taking us to a special place and to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Here, a small rock island divides the strong currents that flow into the channel and from the surface of the sea, you could see the sheer power of the currents flowing, which was scary.

The boatman had to be extra careful, to position his boat in between the current split and asking about the currents, the boatman told me that if we jumped in, we would be immediately carried away really fast so descending down was crucial as if you got caught in the current, you would just have to wait it out.

We were told to gear up for a quick check dive for this site, and our dive master said that you wouldn't believe how rich and beautiful the marine life was down below, so everyone got really excited.

After a few good minutes of re-positioning the boat for a safe descend, we back rolled in one by one and quickly descended, following the dive master.

On my descend, I could already see the fascinating marine life that hung around the base of the rock island with hundreds, possibly thousands of fish swimming in all directions.

Turtles were seen eating off the healthy corals while larger fish were lurking in schools in the deeper areas. Truly, this was a scuba divers haven for photography, and yet, one needs to be extra cautious not to get caught in the strong currents here.

With all the excitement going on, I had trouble descending as when I reached three meters, I could not go and deeper, probably due to my almost empty tank with 80 bar.

I kept forcing myself to go down, letting all the air out of my BCD and exhaling to the maximum, but I just could not and one thing I learned about diving is that when you can't, don't force it.

Komodo Island Live On Board
One of the live-on-board boats at Komodo Island
So I decided to surface back to the boat and kept looking down to see the amazing view. However, I did not immediately climb up the boat when I hung on to the ladder, I kept looking down with my mask to see what else was there.

In general, there was too much going on and I told myself, the next opportunity I get to come back here, this would be one of the must-dive spots of Komodo Island for me.

So there you have it, my little dive report on diving in Komodo Island where I was fortunate to experience three dive sites, well, just two and a brief third site for me.

Overall, the feeling is amazing as there was just so much to see here plus there was no sign of coral bleaching during any of my dives. Marine life is simply incredible and for photographers, this is indeed one of the best places I have seen in my years of diving.

Komodo Island Diving Video by Kiersten of The Blonde Abroad

Final Thoughts on the Komodo Island Dive Trip Report

Huge thanks go to the team of Skyscanner Indonesia and also Indonesia Tourism as this was part of the Wonderful Indonesia campaign to promote these places to the rest of the world.

Skyscanner provides information on the cheapest flights to get via their app or website and for this collaboration between them and Indonesia Tourism. I have also done an article about how to go to Komodo Island for anyone interested.

The main entry point to Komodo is Labuan Bajo and I have also written about a list of things to do in Labuan Bajo for anyone planning to visit this beautiful place in East Nusa Tenggara.

Again, I am just a casual diver and more of a travel writer, therefore this was one of my best diving experiences to date, after diving in Jordan and also diving in Sipadan Island.

I hope you enjoyed my Komodo Island dive trip report and if you have questions, please ask in the comment section.

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