Komodo National Park
Trip Start Jul 08, 2011
11Trip End Aug 24, 2011
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Where I stayed
Bajo Dive Club Liveaboard
After the overnight bus from Mataram, Lombok to Sape, Sumbawa and then an 8 hour ferry, I finally arrived in Labuan Bajo, Flores, the jumping off point to Komodo National Park. I was lucky enough to get on a 3 day/2 night liveaboard for a decent price that left the next morning. Also on the boat was a French couple and a Canadian couple.
Should I start with the good news or the bad news first? Alright, the good news...the diving was absolutely amazing!! Other than diving in the Galapagos Islands, this was by far the best I've ever seen. We did 9 dives and on just about every dive we saw sharks (mostly white tipped, but also black tipped and gray reef sharks), turtles, blue spotted sting ray, moray eels, frogfish, sweetlips, lionfish, trevally, napolean wrasse, bumphead parrotfish, blah, blah, b;ah. We also saw two octupi (very special to see), a pygmy seahorse (my first ever, only about 3 millimeters long), a mantis shrimp, and most impressive was the 4 manta rays. Most of the reefs were simply stunning to add to the experience. Luckily the French couple had an underwater camera and let me copy their pictures onto my flashdrive.
Now the bad part. I'm used to diving in strong currents, but I have NEVER seen currents like these. Not only are there horizontal currents, but there are also vertical currents which are extremely dangerous. A down current can bring you down 30 meters in just seconds, and then an up current will then shoot you back up in a few more seconds, thus giving you decompression illness or even making your lungs explode. The divemaster on the boat was telling us a couple of stories...one diver a few years back was lost in a current and found, luckily alive, two days later. Another diver was caught in a down and up current and his body was found 3 days later. You might be thinking why dive in such dangerous currents? Well, the answer is more currents, more fish. Especially the big shit...sharks and manta rays love currents.
On one dive our entire group was caught in a current and we missed the "good" side of the dive site. Luckily the "bad" side was not too shabby. On another dive, we just jumped in and were descending and everything was fine. But then all of a sudden I was being pulled away from the reef and into the blue. The other divers were fading away quickly as I fought the current as hard as I could. All of these horror stories about past divers were rushing through my brain as I seriously thought that this was the end. All of a sudden, Gustavi, my hero divemaster, saw me and came to my rescue. The other divers held onto rocks on the reef while Gustavi flew like Superman towards me. As soon as I could tell that he saw me I knew I was safe, but in those few seconds before that, I seriously feared for my life.
One afternoon we stopped on Rinca Island to go searching for komodo dragons. After an hour of trekking with a park ranger we didn't see any komodos, but there were about 8 hanging around the ranger station. The males were about 6 feet long including the tail, and are quite impressive animals. One male was in the mood for some lovin' but after mounting and being denied by 2 separate females he gave up.
I was hoping to stay here a few days but the next island I want to visit is Sulawesi and there's a 20 hour ferry leaving in the morning. If I don't take this ferry my only choices are to fly which is very expensive, or wait 2 weeks for the next ferry.
Until next time...