Dear Dive buddies,
Just finished the first Komodo cruise of the 2008/2009 season and the dives were great, some beyond expectations. Seven Seas performed beautifully and so did Komodo! Our guests made some great pictures, and you find some of them below. The dives and the above water scenery inspired us to write out a Seven Seas Photo competition where the winner of each category gets a free spot on our 2009 August 6-18 cruise in Komodo. Read more below.
Dolphins, Sharks and Giant Trevallies hunting together on Castle Rock!
We wrote about this earlier, when we first witnessed it last year. Now the dolphin family has grown and on one of our dives we counted 5 adults and 1 baby dolphin. They came close and checking us out, see Craig's pictures, and then continued hunting for fish, together with the trevallies and white tip reef sharks. This dive you must do with some current to get the best fish action and the dolphins won't be there during the slack tide. You'll know when they are around as they "chat" constantly, and their high squeaks can be heard already long before you see them. Start the dive into the current at about 35 meters to get some really good grey reef shark action. The hunting packs of giant trevallies, white tip sharks and dolphin usually work the reef at around 20 meters depth, where you also find some great hard coral formations and thousands of fish.
Manta mania at Manta Alley!
Komodo diving is famous for its manta ray encounters, and depending on the season you'll find them up north near Karang Makassar (December-April), or down south near the "German Flag" and Manta Alley (June-September). This season down south, the mantas were there in time for our first cruise of the new season and surprisingly in relatively warm water with excellent visibility! Several animals displayed their impressive mating behavior. While lining up beautifully to feed at the German Flag, and for our pictures while snorkeling, at Manta Alley they were not even the least disturbed by our dive bubbles, and the smaller males tried to intimidate the larger males, to get a chance at mating with the females this year. Circling around each other, up and down, it looked like a dance and even while they never touched us, the flapping of their wings, especially when they were from the all black males, was intimidating to us as well. Exhilarating manta dives, combined with incredible fish life and color!
Also see the article Movements and site Fidelity of the giant manta ray in the Komodo Marine Park, Indonesia (PDF file, 751 kb)
The sharks seem to be getting back in Komodo. On our dives at Castle rock we counted at least 25 white tips and some 5-6 grey reefs. Also on Cristal Bommie, and many of our snorkels though the golden passage and at the fish bowl, we came across plenty white tips. A couple young pups under almost every table coral where we looked! However, Indonesia is still the number one exporter of shark fins, as we reported a while ago in our newsletter.
After watching Sharkwater, the excellent movie from Rob Steward, kindly donated by Tony and Christina Hepburn to Seven Seas, we appeal to all of you to go see the movie, check out the website www.savingsharks.com and help do something! Donate to a cause that tries to save sharks, learn more about the work of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Organization, talk to people who you know would order it in restaurants and tell whoever needs to hear it that sharks are in dire need of protection! In Komodo itself we were disappointed to some extend when we heard (while diving) some very loud bomb blasts in the North of Komodo (the first we heard in many years!) and we saw many fishing boats in the no-take zone while the patrol boats from the park did not seem to be checking them.
Inspired by the beautiful photographs taken during this first cruise of the new season by guests on board, we decided to open a photo competition where the winner of each category gets a free spot on our 2009 August 6-18 cruise in Komodo. Pictures must have been taken on a Seven Seas cruise, and the date for final submissions will be April 1, 2009. Please submit files of your pictures, not larger than 1 MB in size, to [email protected] with a brief description of where you took them. There will be two categories, one underwater and the other above water, with Seven Seas in there as a theme. All submissions will be featured on our website in the photo gallery, but you will maintain full ownership of the photographs of course, and we can accommodate links to your website if you aim to sell your photographs. Only the winning photographs will have to be donated to Seven Seas for promotional use. We will keep you updated on the competition as it gets further underway, and details will be on the website as well. Don't forget a regular visit to www.thesevenseas.net which will soon be sporting a completely new look!
The Seven Seas - Kuta Poleng D7 - Jl. Setiabudi Simpang Siur - Kuta 80361 - Bali - Indonesia