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Liveaboard Diving in Manta Point
What To Expect On A Manta Point Liveaboard
Liveaboards to Manta Point and the tiny island of Kurang Makassar, which sits close to the coast on the east side of Komodo Island in the heart of the Komodo National Park, are visiting one of the famous reefs in the area. Lying beneath the water is a chance to dive with a large number of Manta Rays. Although protected by the National Park, there has been some damage done to the reef and fish life in this area despite this protection. The fish life on the reef was adversely effected by illegal cyanide fishing. This method of poisoning the water to stun and capture live aquarium fish means that there is damage not only to the fish but also sponges, sea fans and coral.
However despite the reef being perhaps less rich with life than other areas, Manta Point is known as one of the best dive sites in Komodo. The bottom topography of the shallow reef, funnels strong currents through the dive site acting as a highway for pelagic fish. These currents bring cold nutrient rich waters with them which means the main attraction, no surprise, is mantas.
What You Can see At Manta Point
Numerous Komodo liveaboards will visit Manta Point as part of their dive schedule in this area.
The currents at Manta Point mean that most dives here are drift dives like much of the diving in the Komodo Islands. The area covered can be huge with the reef area covering almost 2 square kilometres. The water is shallow, around 15 meters in most places and home to a large number of manta rays. These huge, strange creatures come here to feed on the nutritious waters the currents bring up from the deep. It is not unusual for divers to be able to swim along with a small group of mantas here. It is also possible to see them gliding above you closer to the surface as the visibility is excellent, sometimes over 30 meters.
Although the poaching of aquarium fish from the Manta Point has left the reef a little sparse, there are some other creatures that can be seen here. Whitetip and Blacktip reef sharks are often spotted patrolling around during the dive along with the occasional turtle searching for food. The volcanic rocks and the corals make the perfect home for mantis shrimp which seem to be all over the reef. Macro photographers will never be short of opportunities to snap them hiding in little alcoves in the rocks.
Getting To Manta Point
On the east side of Komodo Island Manta Point is just under an hour’s journey from Flores island. There are some short day trips to Manta Point from there but the most popular and enjoyable way to visit Manta Point is by diving liveaboard. Indonesia’s diving liveaboards come in all shapes and sizes and there is something to suit a range of tastes and budgets.
Motor vessels customised for liveaboard diving are available for a comfortable and enjoyable diving cruise with purpose built dive decks and luxurious cabins. Traditional Indonesian sailing boats that have been redesigned for diving are however the most popular type of liveaboard in Indonesia. These beautiful ships offer a peaceful and authentic cruising experience. Luxurious with a touch of tradition, phinisi as they are known locally, are an amazing and unique experience.
Most Indonesian liveaboards depart from either Labuan Bajo in Flores or Bali, some depart from one and disembark at the other giving you the maximum number of diving days. Bali International airport offers flights from numerous major cities in Asia and further afield as well as connecting flights on to Labuan Bajo. If you are feeling brave it is also possible to take the three-day ferry ride from Bali to Labuan Bajo.