Komodo Diving Part 1 : On manta trains and how to rock it like a giant guitar fish

Ever wondered what it’s like to join a Komodo Liveaboard with Wicked Diving Komodo? Read this insider perspective from one of our dive guides, Fareez for a window into the wonder and excitement of Komodo Diving. Better yet, experience Komodo scuba in person on a Wicked Diving Liveaboard trip. Now is the time since a deposit placed before April 15 will earn you 20% off for any liveaboards before December 21st, 2017. Place a deposit now, plan later and save big!

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A diverse coral reef in Komodo National Park

Our Komodo scuba adventure began on a full moon and as we headed out to sea along a path of silver light, we smiled to ourselves knowing what was in store for us over the next week – possibly exhilarating currents, and with them, perhaps some very intriguing sightings. Who could say?

Komodo diving day 1: vibrant nudibranchs, bubble coral and anemone shrimps

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An other-worldly nudibranch of Komodo

We kicked things off in Sabalon Kecil, where our guests were introduced to the local marine residents – many nudibranchs, including Ocellated phillidia and Kubaryana’s nembrotha, as well as Bubble coral, Mushroom coral, and other kinds of anemone shrimps. Afterwards, we spent the evening chatting and getting to know one another over food and drinks, for this Komodo Liveaboard was to become our home and family for the next week!

Komodo diving day 2: Leaf Scorpionfish, moral eel and orangutang crabs

 

On Day 2 we started our diving in the North at a site called China Shop. I found seven Anna’s chromodoris, cleaner shrimps working on a moray eel, a leaf scorpionfish and an orangutan crab! A hawksbill turtle even graced the waters around me as I did my safety stop.

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A Leaf Scorpionfish in Komodo

Next, we adventured on to Castle Rock, where the full moon current made for a bountiful dive with at least 4 white tip reef sharks swimming restlessly amongst the schools of bannerfish and surgeonfish. Barracuda, Spanish mackerel and schools of tuna joined the frenzy as we held on to rocks, our masks and our regulators, all vibrating vigorously in the rush of the splitting current.

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Schools of fish in Komodo

A big grey reef shark, usually spotted a distance away from the reef, came in really close, as its eyes met all of ours. The current of a full moon current did not disappoint us at the Golden Passage, where we did our third dive of the day. We swam against the current for a little bit, and it was not long before a school of fifteen devil rays crossed our path. We were then greeted by many white tip reef sharks and giant sweetlips, appearing one after another.  A baby grey reef shark swam just before us before disappearing into the abyss beyond. We dropped all resistance and let the current take us at high velocity through the channel between Gili Lawa Darat and Gili Lawa Laut, as though traveling through a kaleidoscope seascape in Komodo National Park.

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A resting reef shark in Komodo

 

Komodo Diving Day 3: Bluespot Stingrays, Pygmy Seahorses and Manta Rays

 

Starting nice and early on Day 3 of our Komodo Diving at The Witch’s Hat, we descended amongst a school of chevron barracuda and red snappers. We spotted a couple of sharks on the seabed and a countless number of bluespot stingrays dwelling along the sandy bottom, some being cleaned, others just lay still in the sand, impeccably camouflaged. Some of us were having a look at a pygmy seahorse in one of the sea fans, when a manta appeared near the cleaning station. I looked up to see several more flying in grace near the surface.

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A Pygmy Seahorse in Komodo

Just when I had decided to go have a look for the Jenkin’s rays, which have been rather elusive of late,  I heard loud tank banging and looked around. There must be something big hanging about here, I thought to myself!

When I saw it, I couldn’t believe my eyes… A giant guitarfish…swimming across the sandy bottom, just long enough for us to get a good look at it, before it disappeared into the blue. We remained there, motionless in disbelief long after it was gone. I remembered a friend of mine telling me that in December of last year, a guitar shark was seen in Komodo, and that the dive guide was shocked. Well, on this day, I was that guide.

When we thought our Komodo Diving adventure could not get any better, we chanced upon a manta ray playing about the surface on our way back to the Jaya. Ferry, our dinghy driver joined in the excitement and brought us closer to it. It didn’t seem intimidated, and in fact it approached even closer. We gently eased ourselves in with our masks and fins, and soon discovered that the manta ray simply did not want to leave, and kept circling around us. A couple of times it came within arm’s length!

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Up close with Manta Rays in Komodo

It was a glorious morning, and we returned to the Jaya with big smiles on our faces, to tuck ourselves into a satisfying breakfast prepared by our chef Yunus.

During our Gili Lawa Darat night dive, crocodilefish were found in abundance – little ones, juveniles and big ones. We had quite a bit of fun spotting their beady eyes in the sand and feeling mighty chuffed because we knew where they were, despite their flawless camouflage. We didn’t find any basket stars on this night but we did find two large, fearsome looking stonefish sitting together under a rock, being cleaned by shrimps. I guess the most venomous fish in the world also need a trip to the spa, eh? As we made our way to the safety stop, a pair of green eyes darted about, and we saw a blacktip reef shark, restlessly swimming away at first, and then it came in real close before disappearing into the night again… the entire trip was magical! Komodo Diving is the experience of a lifetime.

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Masses of fish in Komodo