Komodo diving - general information
Diving in Komodo is not a new idea but recently it’s being recognised as a premier destination due to the awesome variety of diving to be had. Crystal clear water and dive sites where you never see another diver provide a little something for everyone whether it’s macro or massive you love. One day you can be crawling along the bottom looking at pygmy seahorses, frogfish and unusual nudibranch and the next you are in the big blue on an open water pinnacle as the mantas fly by, the sharks circle and the dolphins hunt and the next day diving a live volcano!! For sheer variety there is no better place on earth.
Komodo is one of the few places left in the world where sharks are not rare and down south is one of the places where manta rays have their legendary aggregations, meaning they are here in the area in their hundreds!!!
One of the highlights of these trips is the rare opportunity to walk with the lengendary Komodo dragons. These truly awesome beasts can reach 3 metres plus and can reportedly run at 20km an hour chasing their prey. It’s the icing on the cake, Stunning diving and one of the world’s last surviving dinosaur descendants all one amazing package.
Covering the best of both worlds, from up close and personal with aggragating mantas to shy pygmy seahorses and rare nudibranches Komodo diving has it all. The beauty of Komodo liveaboard diving is in the balance between the large and small animals. One day you will be in the blue swimming with mantas and sharks and the next swimming along a bubbling volcanic reef covered with venting submerged fumeroles blowing bubbles into the water and hiding one of the worlds best kept secret macro dive sites.
In North Komodo the water temperature is normally 27-29°C. Around Southern Komodo and Rinca Islands the water temperature drops can drop a bit to 22-26°C. A 5mm long suit is advised and hood and booties are strongly recommended for the southern area.
These are some of the top sites that most liveaboards visit.
Angel reef, Moyo, Sumbawa diving
We start our Komodo liveaboard with the first dive of the trip and the check out dive. This dive site doesn’t disappoint. A beautiful wall stretching down to 50 metres covered in hard and soft corals very reminiscent of Bunaken in North Sulawesi. Schools of bannerfish and trevally patrol the walls with the occasional reef sharks making an appearance. Ribbon eels hide in crevices and many different nudibranchs crawl over the vast elephant ear sponges that hang from the beautiful soft coral infested wall.
Satonda island bay
A protected bay on Satonda island north of Sumbawa hosts a treasure trove of macro critters, the more we dive here the more we find. The rare Denise pygmy seahorse lives in fans here, frogfish hang out in big barrel sponges and ghost pipefish hide amongst the featherstars that cover the reef slope. In the sandy bottom you can find jawfish with their mouths full of eggs, myriads of anemonefish, mushroom coral pipefish and spearer mantis shrimps.
Sangeang island diving
Sangieng island is a perfectly round volcanic island jutting up from the sea bed. Still active and last blowing in 1996 this well kept secret is one of the world’s finest macro dive areas. With diving available all around the island there is not one specific spot but always new ones to be discovered. Bubbles of volcanic gas seep through the sand creating a surreal atmosphere and a warm black sand bottom hosting rare and unusual nudibranch. Pygmy seahorses, frogfish, Pegasus sea moths and carnivorous shells and all common here, this is my personal favourite dive site as every time we dive here there is a surprise in store of something new that is often not in the books - this site is why you go Komodo liveaboard diving.
Gps point - Gili Banta diving
Gps point is an open sea mount prone to strong currents at certain times of the day. This provides prolific hard and soft coral growth that is home to hundreds of different types of reef fish. Loved by sharks, white tip sharks cruise around the whole dive in amongst the hunting giant trevallies and schooling jacks and surgeon fish, an exciting dive.
Takat Toko, Gili Lawalaut diving
This is one of my favourite sites on the Komodo liveaboard itinerary and is very similar to Gps point this site takes it to the next level. Grey reef shark, white tip sharks, occassional dolphins and a literal fish soup created by jacks, surgeonfish, giant trevallies and bannerfish surround this large sea mount as you hang on to the reef edge and watch the action. Again this site is prone to strong currents but we time our dives to hit around slack tide and a little current brings in the big fish. Great pelagic action, my favourite blue water dive.
Lighthouse reef, Gili Lawalaut diving
An adrenalin pounding drift dive along the wall and around the corner under the lighthouse. Sharks, mantas, dolphins are all frequent visitors on the dive with some of the best coral reef top in the area around the corner out of the current at the end of the dive you can hunt for porcelain crabs, cuttlefish and unusual seahorses whilst waiting for the adrenalin to funnel out of your system and your heart rate to return to normal-this is what Komodo liveaboard diving is all about!.
Crystal rock, Gili Lawalaut diving
A stunning soft coral and sea fan covered pinnacle with crystal water clarity this is a great site for those magazine cover wide angle shots. With at least 5 different types of angelfish, 4 types of trigger and butterflyfish everywhere it is a excellent reef fish dive with frequent visits from eagle and manta rays and the resident sleepy hawksbill turtle.
Pink beach, Komodo diving
Colder water and lower vis here due to the huge amounts of organic matter in the water due to the southern currents but this is more than made up for by the astounding life available to see here due to this phenomenon. Normally done as a night dive it also makes a good day dive with everything from white tip sharks to pygmy seahorses; zebra crabs, Coleman shrimp, many coloured frogfish, xeno crabs, Spanish dancers, and unusual nudibranchs are hidden amongst the dense coral growth.
Cannibal rock, Rinca island diving
Colder water than the north but touted by many as one of the worlds best 10 sites, yes I know there seems to be way more than 10 “top 10 sites” but this one really is one if you like macro. Everything is here even the rarest of the rare, the Rhinopias scorpionfish. It’s nudi heaven with only the special and the rare getting to appear here, more species than I care to mention along with large and different frogfish mixed in with schools of fish and the resident dopy turtle we do 2 dives here and it’s still not enough!! You will love it, I personally adore this dive site.
Torpedo alley, Rinca island diving
Just next to cannibal rock and where the boat moors is a beach that has wild pigs, monkeys and Komodo dragons in the daytime and hosts a myriad of critters in the waters in front if it at night. Named for the large amount of torpedo rays found here, a member of the electric ray family- no touching! They cover the sandy bottom along with loads of nudis obvious on the black sand bottom along with bizarre crabs and octopus.
Manta alley, Komodo diving
In the cooler waters in the south of Komodo there is a bay in which there are a series of pinnacles that seem to be a magnet for aggregating mantas. They are here in their tens, often we come up having seen over 20 different individuals. Often a little shy, their evasive spins and pirouettes makes the watching of them that much more enjoyable.
Takat Makassar, Komodo diving
This is our other manta site. A little bit more of a risk to see them as it is a huge area and we drift along the bottom in about 10 metres but along the way we always run into loads of turtles, napoleon and humphead wrasse, white tip sharks and very very occasionally you will be incredibly lucky and run into the resident dugong that inhabits this area along with scores of mantas as they migrate north.
3 sisters, Padar island diving
A series of underwater pinnacles reaching nearly to the the surface off the coast of Padar island next to Komodo this site constantly springs surprises on you from silvertip sharks and mobular ray schools to marbled rays and rare nudibranchs.