Diving Liveaboard at Komodo National Park
Komodo Liveaboards are a great way to dive and explorer the Komodo islands.
Mention Komodo to most people on the planet, and the first thing that comes to mind are images of a lethargic lumbering giant lizard, more at home in a horror film or in the pages of a comic book. What does not immediately jump to mind are images of pristine stunning coral reefs, of sharks hovering in the current stalking their prey, or even manta rays gracefully gliding through the water. Komodo is not only home to their namesake dragons – its features some truly world class diving. Also listed in Unesco Wordl Heritage
How to get there?
Komodo Islands lies at the eastern tip of the Indonesian archipelago. Immediately to its east, you’ll find the much bigger island of Flores. On the west coast of Flores lies the small town of Labuan Bajo, the main gateway to the wonderful Komodo National Park. While there is a harbor in Labuan Bajo with some ferries stopping over from other Indonesian islands, the main route into it is via Labuan Bajo International Airport. There are plenty of flights on a daily basis arriving from multiple destinations.
When to go?
There are two best times of the year to visit Komodo National Park. The best periods to visit are from April to June and from September to November, although the high season actually runs from April to November, it’s the opposite of the Similan islands season. During those two time periods the place is not overcrowded and the diving is at its best with plenty of interesting stuff in the water, including mantas.
The area of Komodo suitable for diving is very large. From Labuan Bajo, the park can be divided into a southern and northern diving area. The key difference is access! The norther dive sites are near enough to be able to be accessed by day boat from Labuan Bajo. The southern dive sites are a little too farther out, and can only be reached by taking a Komodo liveaboard trip.
The northern dive sites of Komodo are spectacular and every bit as good as their southern counterparts. Some the best are Manta point, Batu Bolong, the Cauldron, and Castle rock.
Manta point is exactly what it sounds like, a spot visited by plenty of mantas. This long shallow plateau is about a mile long, and in the right season has plenty of manta rays travelling up and down while feeding in the current. It is relatively shallow with a maximum depth of around 12 meters.
The Cauldron is another great bowl shaped dive site with plenty of marine life and coral reefs to enjoy. Castle rock is an outlying reef with a small plateau on one side at around 22 meters. Thanks to its strong current hitting the reef head on and splitting to either side, this plateau is a great location to just stay put and watch the thousands of fusiliers and Jacks hovering in the current, while lots of White tip reef sharks dart in and out of the clouds of fish.
The southern dive sites are less visited than the northern ones and are truly spectacular. Some of the most amazing are Manta alley, End of the world, and Langkoi rock. Manta alley is similar to manta point, a long shallow path that has tons of visiting Mantas.
The dive site known as End of the world is the most southern dive site in Komodo, it is a 40-meter deep wall of rocks with absolutely pristine untouched reefs and tons of overhangs and caves. The marine life is rich and diverse with plenty of White tip sharks, morays and rays. Langkoi rock is simply put crazy! It is the best dive site to encounter sharks in Komodo.
This small pinnacle is home to a healthy population of all kinds of sharks. You have a great chance of encountering Hammerheads, Bronze whaler, White tips, Silvertips, Blacktips, and even the odd Leopard shark. The currents here are extremely strong and can reach up to 8 knots, this is not a dive site for the faint-hearted.
Don’t forget the dragons!
Before you head off home, don’t forget the dragons, you have after all probably traveled a fair distance to come here so it is worth the detour. While there are several trips available to Komodo and such, the more committed divers can still fit them in without losing out on too much diving. Most northern dive operators offer the option for divers to swap on of the afternoon dives with a visit to Rinca Island to see the dragons. This is a great option to combine a day’s diving and seeing the dragons rolled into one.