Liveaboard Diving in Komodo
What To Expect On A Komodo Liveaboard
Liveaboards in Komodo are a very popular choice for divers visiting Indonesia and rightly so. Dive cruises will take adventurous divers to some very special dive areas in this region. The islands that make up the area of Komodo include a number of the Lesser Sunda Islands, a largely volcanic chain in the South East of Indonesia. The early significance of Komodo came from the infamous inhabitant the Komodo Dragon, which has been the subject of legends throughout the 20th Century. Liveaboard dive tours will often allow guests to take a land tour to see these amazing Jurassic creatures. Rumours of a fire breathing dragon living on these small Indonesian islands brought this area to international attention. A Dutch expedition even came to the area and captured and took specimens of the Komodos back to be examined.
Of course, the Komodo Dragons were soon discovered not to be the fire breathing monsters they were rumoured. Fortunately, though the lizards and the rich variety of flora and fauna were quickly recognised as being under threat and the islands were brought under the protection of the Komodo National Park.
The waters are also protected by the National Park due to the bounty of life on the reefs and the large pelagic fish which can be seen here. The numerous small islands that can be visited and dived give liveaboard divers here the advantage of being able to take in a hugely diverse number of sites on the different islands. These small islands are quite far flung and off the well-dived path making for some unique experiences.
There is something on offer for all kinds of diving passions on a Komodo liveaboard. Many of the sites are muck diving with so much going on macro photographers better bring as much camera memory as they can. The big fish are in attendance too with mantas being the staple pelagics, in some areas you can hope to see even three or four in one dive making a Komodo itinerary the perfect choice for critters big and small.
Underwater Komodo is what diver´s dreams are made of with visibility up to 30 meters/ 98 ft. and marine life of all shapes and sizes. Plankton rich water that comes in from the deep surrounding waters makes the area thick with life. Huge shoals of fish and pelagics are on offer all around the islands. The protection from the National Park also means that the waters and reefs are incredibly healthy and well stocked with fish of all shapes and sizes.
The topography of Komodo and the shallow waters in between the Lesser Sunda Islands make for some serious current. You can experience up to 8 knots while diving and also highly changeable meaning most dives are drift dives. These currents are what bring the big life to Komodo though, with mantas, hammerheads, dolphins and mola mola making the most of the plankton rich waters.
Macro lovers won´t be disappointed either, with pygmy seahorses wrapped around bright coloured gorgonian fans and a rainbow of different nudibranchs on offer. Photographers can hope to get some great shots in Komodo, whether it is dramatic videos of sharks and mantas or close-ups with the elusive ornate ghost pipefish.
Dive Sites Of Komodo
One of the best things about a Komodo liveaboard cruise is the sheer number of sites available on your dive trip so you never feel too overcrowded despite the popularity of the area.
MANTA ALLEY and MANTA POINT in the Komodo National park offer the chance to dive with manta rays that can number in the double digits and really shouldn’t be missed.
RINCA ISLAND - a trip here gives you the chance to see Komodo dragons on the beach but isn’t the only reason to go there either. The visibility can be slightly less but the sheer number of corals, nudibranch and critters makes this the perfect location for macro photographers.
BATU BALONG, or current city, sits at the top of the list of must see places on a Komodo liveaboard. The corals on the reef are healthy, colourful and teeming with fish life and reef sharks.
BIMA Most liveaboard itineraries also include several dives in Bima which is muck diving heaven with nudibranch and blue ringed octopus on the cards.
SANGEANG Something completely unique awaits visitors at this volcanic island, an active volcano which has erupted several times up until a few years ago. In the black sand here there are bubbles coming out of the volcanic sand at bubble reef, from underwater vents beneath.
Top Tips for Divers
- The official language is Indonesian and the predominant religion is Islam so dressing modestly during any land excursions is recommended.
- The temperature from North to South can vary enormously from 20 to 28 degrees so bringing two suits or multiple layers is wise.
- Photographers should bring as much storage space as possible, there really is so much going on.
Getting to Komodo
There are a number of ways to get to Komodo for diving, but by far the best is by diving an Indonesian liveaboard, which offers you a range of sites in the area and you will be in the water before any day boats arrive. The main two departure points for liveaboards are departing from Labuan Bajo or Bali. Labuan Bajo is where you will find the airport on Flores island. Numerous liveaboards pick up and drop off guests from the port here. Flights to Labuan Bajo are available from Bali International Airport (Ngurah Rai) or if you have plenty of time and an adventurous spirit you can take the several day long ferry ride from Bali.
The other option is to take a liveaboard directly from Bali with departures from Bima and Benoa and disembarking at Labuan Bajo. Some liveaboards also offer the other direction starting in Labuan Bajo and ending in Bali. The itineraries often take in sites around Lombok as well as Komodo National Park.
There are a few different kinds of dive liveaboard boats that visit Komodo, most of them very luxurious. There are a few motor vessels with comfortable cabins and rear dive decks. These are generally slightly more expensive than the sailing boats and so might be a better option if you are working on a budget. The huge Indonesian design sail boats are the height of the liveaboard experience in Komodo, these boats offer a smooth and luxurious sail to the islands.