Exploring Indonesia – Below the surface and above – Komodo National Park

You wonder where they came up with nemo!

I really looked forward to this leg of our journey as it would be on a live aboard boat for three days. Being on a boat going from one adventure to the next can’t be beat. After a long 2 day journey from Raja Ampat we finally arrived in Komodo. We boarded Vita with iDive Komodo. The other half of the group boarded Lalunia. Together we would journey throughout the Komodo National Park Islands for the next few days! We started the journey being assigned our little cabins below deck. My roommate Mike and I would take over a tiny cabin (with one bed) with tons of cables, chargers, batteries, hard drives. You name it. I still had a sinus issue so I could not dive. Our first spot was my favorite. As the rest of the crew jumped in I explored and magical shallow water spot with the most diverse collection of reef I have yet to see. With all the places I have been around the globe, it is the best I have seen. Sunset would cut my dive/snorkel to about 1.5hrs. That evening we would eat our first meal on the boat and motor to our next location to sleep. The next morning we woke to Crystal rock dive. I once again explored the bay reef area and was not disappointed. Amazing untouched reef!

We then headed to Manta point! Manta! Yes, we jumped in what seemed to be the middle of the ocean and drifted along the currents until we saw them, just flying along! They were pretty deep. This is one of the dives I was bummed to not be able to use scuba as I couldn’t go down past about 8ft from my sinus. Still though it was amazing to see them! Saw about 5 mantas! Everyone was stoked!

From there we would continue to Komodo Island, the largest island of Komodo National Park. Time to see the largest and one of the most deadly lizards in the world! Our group would be led by 4 rangers who carried large sticks in case of a komodo getting too close. I kinda laughed at the stick… I mean… these lizards get up to 9ft long and will kill you if they bite. They kill their prey by biting them while the saliva is the true killer. Their saliva has so much bacteria that it kills everything! The guide took us on a small trek up into the island. We saw about 4 dragons. Definitely a little scary looking! After our hike we headed back to the boats and headed to a place call pink beach. The sand it supposedly pink but it really wasn’t. None the less it was beautiful. Almost all locations like this I fly my drone up to explore! After we all took in the sunset at pink beach we headed back to the boat in the tender boats where we would have a briefing. Some of the group would do a night dive. I decided to get permission to go along and shoot some long exposures from the shoreline. I brought Alfie with me. Conditions were great except there was a full moon! Not the best for shooting stars. Being on the beach in the dark was a little intimidating, knowing that Komodo dragons live there. Luckily the locals claimed they were asleep. lol

That evening we would cross the channel and head to Padar Island. During the crossing we went through large swells. First part of the trip to hit any waves as all the islands we have visited the last few weeks were sheltered from the open ocean. Our call time the next day was 4am! We would all get in the tender boats in the dark and hike up to the top of Padar island to watch the sunrise. Vistas all around the islands for miles! We all explored the area for a couple hrs! The drone images and video were awesome! Back down the mountain and while we motored to the next dive site, we all had an amazing breakfast! Definitely best one of the trip! The last dive of Komodo was Batu Balung. It is a rock in the middle of the huge channel between islands. The current moving around the rock was massive. We were all instructed to stay on the leeward side, sheltered by the small rock island. Below was an aquarium of fish, so many! I found that while free diving my sinus was still not healed enough to dive :(. Getting back on the main boat was a mission for most as the currents were so strong that the tender would constantly swing back and forth. Once we finally were all loaded back on the boats safely we would head back to harbor. About a 2.5 hr journey and we were taken straight to an ocean front hotel to stay for the night. No one wanted to get off those boats. I wish we could of done the live aboard then entire 2 weeks! So nice! We would have about 1 hr break before we headed to a beach club location were we would see a traditional dance. Part of it was a fierce fighting dance where the males would jump up and whip the other. The dancers had scars on their back and arms from performing. They would present us with a terrible tasting concoction traditionally given. You had to chew it until your mouth turned red and then spit it out. You were warned not to swallow it! It made my gums numb! The taste lasted a while before eventually fading away. The dance was followed by dinner at the beach club. After we would head to the hotel and then finally some sleep! The next day we would rise early for our flight to Bali were our final leg of the journey would begin.

 

For more on where I went and how you can go visit: indonesia.travel