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Published: August 10th 2014
Or is it maybe dive and dive and no connection to internet for a few days...
There are places in the world that all divers should try to dive once, and Komodo is one of them. I have dived before few times in Indonesia....Bali for the Mola Mola, Pulau Weh as well as the Gilis next to Lombok. But this time it's serious diving, and my first liveaboard in Indonesia. Bear in mind, I know I still have to do a liveaboard in Raja Ampat...as well as diving Lembeh/Bunaken/Bangka and Sangalaki to have done the full list.
Lembeh will come, with Leslie and Tiffany...one of these years during the April holidays, when I will be convinced that they are happy with hunting macro while diving. For the none-divers...macro is all those tiny little creatures that you find underwater....and that need some effort to spot, I name for example the nudibranches and all those shrimps/crabs and little lobsters...
There are few ways to visit the Komodo National Park. Not everyone is a diver and most people will primarily come to spot the dragon, those giant lizards that you find only here, mainly on
Komodo island and Rinca island. Most people will fly to the Island of Flores and do day trips, or even few days on anything from a basic boat, to a luxury crooner...
I went the other way, and board the Mermaid 1 in Bali for a 10 day trip leaving and back to Bali. Not much stay in Bali this time, landing at lunch time, and by 4pm we were cruising to the East...and we came back to Benoa port at 7am...just on time to catch my next international flight at 10am.
I already went on a short trip south of Phuket on the Mermaid 2 back in 2008. The Mermaid 2 is taking 20 guests, while the Mermaid 1 is only taking 15 guests...this is one of the roomier liveaboard I ever took. Note, to book this, you need to start early...I was lucky to find a spot...back in January. August is truly the high season around here. It may be windy, but there is close to no rain...and some amazing sunsets!
The advantage of a liveaboard is you dive more...and more...and we can also access further sites. Bali to
the South of Rinca island is a good 30 hours cruising...well, we stopped on the way for few dives. The first stop was on Moyo, than diving the volcano island of Sangeang. So much fun to dive a volcano, I mean an active volcano...with the fumes just few hundred meters from the dive site. They had to by-pass those for the last few weeks as the volcano had erupted a little too strong. They had to evacuate the local population, and even divert flights from Australia to South East Asia. So under water, we also enjoyed the bubbles coming out of the sand, and the yellow rocks full of sulfure...pretty cool experience!
After this, we spent few days in the Komodo National Park between the islands of Komodo and the one of Rinca. The walk with the dragons is actually happening on Rinca Island. For the diving, just look at the pictures...there were mantas, sharks and a lot of turtles, but the highlights may have also be the macro life. Oh, and don't forget, so many dives also pretty cool for serious drift, even from time to time with some down current. At the end of the
day, I did 26 dives out of the 27 proposed. Did a total of 6 amazing night dives...well, at least on this trip I can say I had my best night dive ever (beside the manta one in Kona, Hawaii). But the true beauty on this boat is that no two dives are alike. We dived in blue water with 28 degrees...in green water with amazing macro....and 23 degrees...and when it came to the mantas...it was 22 degrees...so exciting that you don't really feel the cold.
I was seriously lucky on the mix of guests too. Well, it was the usual 4 couples and 7 singles men...yes, the usual. We had a shy german couple with limited English, doesn't make things easier...beside that...between the Indonesia couple, the 4 NewYorkees....and everybody else coming from somewhere and being from somewhere else...Great match! Funny also to think that my dive buddy, a dive instructor is actually living 300 meters from my place and have his children in the same school as mine...it's a small world! That was truly a fun cruise and I would love to dive again with some of them. The mix was anything between divers with 50
dives...to the one with nearly 2000...but the crew paired up us properly so everybody had a great time.
The crew...well, on most liveaboard the crew is super nice...here, they were simply amazing. I love when the dive leader announced...here a day dive is maximum 70 minutes, and a night dive is 60 minutes...these guys dive with a passion! I ended up diving with the two local DMs, Suky and Dolphin...great time.
As on most liveabaord...you dive...than you eat...and here too the crew did a great job...fun guys...great guys! Than as always, in between dives, I either sleep or read...first few days read a lot...last few days, sleep a lot...normal!
So back to Bali for my 2 hours international flight for a place you may not really be able to point on the map. But funny me...I do get older, and I write this on antibiotics with a proper sinus infection...come on...it had to happen one day!
For the underwater pics..my camera and the housing that allows me to go to 40 meters did freezing...no more macro, no more zooming, no more flash...not the ideal, specially when it does
happen on the first day of a liveaboard. So most of the underwater pictures are actually taken with my new toy, a Cannon that is waterproof to 25 meters...well, I didn't go below 26 meters t check. Not that bad for a camera without a housing, and therefore also the cheapest ever option available to do underwater photography. So fun to see my little toy, compare to the big expensive toys of some other divers...
Enjoy the pictures, I did enjoy the trip...now I need to find some space to get back on the Mermaid 1 to Raja Ampat...one day...
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