Seven Seas - East Indonesia Liveaboard
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Newsletter August 2008
Dear Dive buddies,

Seven Seas' website had a make-over! Check it out via and tell us what you think.

Please note that there is a Last Minute Deal on DiveFishSnow charter Komodo August 22-31. If interested please contact Mike Budden via [email protected] in New Zealand. Please contact him directly.

Komodo July 2008 - Robert Delfs

As the saying has it, "it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good". The south-easterlies were blowing up a storm in Komodo last month, making it impossible for any boats to reach any of the southern dive sites for more than a week.

As if in compensation, however, the northern sites were offering spectacular conditions for wide-angle photography, including 30 plus meters of viz (that's more than 100 feet for you North Americans), and clouds of fish.

In addition to Castle and Crystal in the far north, diving conditions and fishlife were also excellent at such high voltage sites as Tatawa Kecil and Batu Balong. As usual, it's vitally important to dive these sites at the right time to avoid dangerous currents.

In addition to the usual schools of surgeons, unicornfish, jacks, snappers and rainbow runners, divers on the SevenSeas enjoyed close encounters with mantas and large schools of black snappers at the justly famous Fish Bowl. There were several eagle ray sightings, lots of white tipped reef sharks and a few nurse sharks. The resident Bottlenose Dolphins at Castle Rock were even willing to spend time with divers.

Another great (drift) dive in the North is Tatawa Besar, recently in the international news when a local dive operator started offering specials on express trips "sans boat" from Tatawa to South Rinca, including a free overnight in the park featuring an exciting dragon encounter. Seriously, it's a blessing that all the divers blown off Tatawa and lost in this incident managed to make it ashore in South Rinca and that they were all finally rescued alive and in good health the next day, thanks in part to guidance and advice from Mark Heighes.

The lessons from this incident aren't new, but they always bear repeating:
  1. Carry an SMB (Submersible Marker Buoy, or sausage) on every dive. With SMBs, size really does matter - the bigger, the better. If you don't have any experience using SMB, ask your SevenSeas dive guide to demonstrate the method of deployment and practice it during your check-out dive.
  2. Carry an emergency signaling strobe or a powerful dive light dedicated to emergency use and a loud whistle or horn on every dive;
  3. Don't dive high-current sites in dangerous conditions beyond your personal level of training or fitness; and
  4. If you are blown off the reef (or rock, or seamount), surface as quickly as safe and practicable and deploy your SMB. Do not deploy your SMB underwater unless you have received specialized training.


Destructive fishing practices like bomb fishing and fishing with cyanide or poison to catch reef fish is prohibited throughout Indonesia. In Komodo National Park, the sea patrols need to ensure that these illegal methods are not used on the reefs. Also, all activities in KNP are managed with a zonation plan. Fishing is allowed in the pelagic zones, and not on the reefs. If implemented effectively, this zonation will ensure healthy reefs with abundant and diverse reef fish populations. Communities living in and around the park can continue to fish for pelagics and squids, making a living as they have for many years.

On our July trips, we noticed that blast fishing had started to occur again, hearing 5 explosions underwater in the first 15 minutes of our very first dive in the park. Also, fishing boats were fishing with lines on many of the reefs in the north of the park, and one boat even had set several hundreds of meters of gillnet on the reef at Gililawa laut. Reports to the park authority and enforcement team, unfortunately did not result in action, even while the floating ranger station was moored in the actual area. Only towards the end of our second cruise, after continuing to send our reports over radio to the enforcement team, we witnessed the floating ranger station interacting with a fisher and explaining about the zonation regulations.

We will see what Seven Seas can do to help the managers of KNP enhance effectiveness of the implementation of the regulations. We like to call upon you and others who care, to let the authorities and managers know that it is important to you that the rules and regulations are implemented seriously in Komodo and that the expectation of visitors to KNP is that your paid park fee is contributes to protecting this beautiful park:
The Seven Seas - Kuta Poleng D7 - Jl. Setiabudi Simpang Siur - Kuta 80361 - Bali - Indonesia
[email protected]