Offering liveaboard diving holidays to Komodo & Ambon, Indonesia, the luxury 33m Cheng Ho has 14 stylish cabins spread over three decks, each equipped with en suite bathrooms and air conditioning
The MV Empress II is a unique liveaboard completely tailored for divers. She has a decompression chamber on board for added safety and dive lift to make life easy. Conducting both diving and land trips, there's something for everyone.
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The Samambaia is a new traditional wooden Phinisi sailing yacht, catering for 14 guests in 6 cabins & 1 master cabin. She cruises to Raja Ampat, Banda Sea, Alor and KomodoSamambaia
What To Expect On A Castle Rock Liveaboard
Castle Rock liveaboards visit this dive site situated to the North of the islet of Gili Lawa Laut, at the top of Komodo Islands. The area is protected by the Komodo National Park and is internationally renown for diving tours. This area is home to some of the richest coral and fish life in the region and beautiful scenery on land.
The islands and the underwater topography, is volcanic. Many of the best reefs, such as Castle Rock, sit atop huge sea mounts formed by volcanic activity. The Castle Rock sea mount is more of a pinnacle, with steep edges and a stunning coral garden growing on the top from around 5 meters/16 ft. downwards.
The visibility is eye watering, often exceeding 30 meters/98 ft. offering a beautiful view over the pinnacle and the fish life. Currents here are however very strong, as the Castle Rock is one of the most exposed dive sites around Gili Lawa Laut. These currents can be several knots and bring plankton rich waters with them which in turn, bring the big fish!
What You Can See
Liveaboard diving at Castle Rock is one of those amazing experiences, where there is a chance to see pretty much anything you can find around Komodo. The reef is beautiful with an array of colourful reef fish living on the hard and soft corals that coat the top end of the pinnacle. The fauna also means great macro opportunities, with critters all over the corals.
Photography here is simply sublime, not only macro, but the number of angel and butterfly fish, often in huge shoals that cover huge portions of the reef, is a sight to behold. Silverside, Jacks, and trevally are all around the reef and out in the blue. The entire reef can sometimes be enveloped in a cloud of different fish.
These shoals also attract bigger animals to the reef, in impressive numbers. Whitetips, blacktips and grey reef sharks can be seen here, and it is not unusual to see all three while diving there. The nutrient rich currents also mean, there is every possibility that divers might see mantas passing by. There are other pelagic fish as well, tuna are frequent visitors and very lucky divers might even be surprised by a pod of dolphins, that is known to come to this reef to hunt.
Getting To Castle Rock
Castle Rock is at the Northern end of Komodo Island in the heart of the Komodo National Park. There are a few options for visiting Castle Rock but by far the best experience, is on a dedicated diving liveaboard tour. There are some day boats leaving from Labuan Bajo though if you only have time for a couple of dive.
There are different kinds of Indonesian liveaboards to suit various needs and budgets. Motor vessels provide a comfortable journey with their custom designed vessels. The most popular diving liveaboards however are traditional Indonesian sailing boats which make for a peaceful and luxurious journey.
Most liveaboards going to Castle Rock embark from either Labuan Bajo or directly from Bali. Often the will start at one port and finish at the other to give you as much time diving as possible during your trip.
Bali International Airport offers flights from many international destinations in Asia and further afield. This is also the place to take a flight to Labuan Bajo as well. For the more adventurous travellers there is also a three-day ferry ride from Bali to Labuan Bajo, although it is not for the faint of heart.
Castle Rock Diving Reviews
Very strong currents here, we hooked up and watched some large reef sharks in the blue,Diving Castle Rock in September on the Empress II
Another amazing dive with a massive wall and soo many fish.Diving Castle Rock in August on the Empress II
The Castle Rock was pretty rad. You'll need to hold on tight during the drift. Don't worry. They'll make sure you get through it and come out a better diver and see some incredible beauty.Diving Castle Rock in September on the Kira Kira
Einer meiner Lieblingsplätze, da durch die Strömungen viel große Fischschwärme, auch verschiedene Riffhaie. Wir waren dort gleich 2 mal tauchen, weil es uns so gut gefallen hat.Diving Castle Rock in October on the Manta Mae
We did this dive twice, the first time was amazing with large schools of fish and all that was needed was to hang on for the show. The second time we did it at a different time and it wasn't as busy but still a great dive.Diving Castle Rock in September on the Kira Kira
Did this dive twice - once on a rising tide, and once on a falling tide, with different experiences for both (both excellent, I should add). The coral here is phenomenal, as is the sea life.Diving Castle Rock in September on the Kira Kira
Great as well. Many sharks (Grey and white tip).Diving Castle Rock in September on the Mari
Fantastic - Sharks & lots of fish lifeDiving Castle Rock in September on the Empress II
La deuxième meilleure après crystal rockDiving Castle Rock in August on the Kira Kira
Excellent - plenty of marine life diversity but going down in strong current can be a challengeDiving Castle Rock in August on the Empress II
The diving on Castle Rock was an adventure, the current, the sea snake...wow!Diving Castle Rock in July on the MV Samambaia
One of my favorite place to dive on earthDiving Castle Rock in July on the MV Empress II