The Seven Seas News - July 2012
Trip Report Komodo, 4-14 July 2012
By Karl Klingeler, Cruise Director Seven Seas
Back in our favorite Komodo for our first cruise after 2012 docking! We started the diving this time at Gili Lawa Laut: our check-out dive in front of Fish Bowl was beautiful - nice reef, good fish life, a white-tip shark and a manta at the end of our dive - not a bad start! Castle Rock was loaded with groupers, coral trout & fusiliers. The next day we moved to Batu Monco and had some great critters: orangutan, xeno & porcelain crabs, nudibranchs, pygmy seahorses and a warty frogfish, as well as a jawfish with eggs, blue ribbon eels and flatworms. Also some bigger things too: sharks & turtles.
Then we moved to West Komodo where the currents in the Sape Strait were cranking, but we managed to do 2 of our favorite big dives with good fish life, beautiful corals & lots of color. We did 1 exploratory dive which turned out pretty productive: 2 big cuttlefish, 2 gymnodoris aurita, ribbon eels and our snorkelers saw nice reef, 4 species of anemone fish, a white-tip reef shark and bump head parrotfish. Later that day we went ashore to the ranger station at Loh Wenci, where we were greeted by 2 Komodo dragons who announced mating season open.
Back to Lawa Laut, where we had a great drift through the Fish Bowl, full of fish, we also saw mobulas and Javanese cow rays. Our second dive was at Crystal Bommie, with schooling sweetlips & humphead snapper, 5 white-tips, a hawksbill turtle and the hightlight: 6 eagle rays swimming in formation - we knelt down and watched them for 15 minutes. For our third dive, we went out to Castle Rock and saw a white-tip, hawksbill turtle, GT's , 6 tuna hunting fusiliers - spectacular! - also a few smaller critters, including 3 blue ribbon eels. We finished the day with a hike up Gili Lawa Darat for spectacular views over Komodo and surrounding islands.
The following day we spent in the Linta Strait, starting with a fast drift on Tatawa Besar that ended with 2 pairs of leaf scorpionfish. Then we snorkeled Karang Makassar and saw around a dozen mantas, 3 of which barrel-rolled & looped around each other. Keeping our wetsuits on, it was time to dive Batu Bolong - awesome! Timed perfectly, with hardly any current and great visibility, there were loads of fish, including a huge napoleon wrasse and white tip reef sharks. We did a late afternoon walk at Loh Buaya, where we saw a number of dragons, some in the courting stage now it is mating season. A night dive at Wainilu completed a perfect day!
Next we moved down to Horseshoe Bay, where we had calm weather & beautiful reefs with good visibility and finally a break from the wind. Snorkelers had a great snorkel on Pulau Pisang, with loads of baitfish in the water - we actually observed tuna hunting in 10 feet of water. We also saw hawksbill turtles and a huge cuttlefish. The highlight of the diving was a slow drift down the Yellow Wall of Texas with all its soft corals fully open. Topside we had plenty of dragon activity on the beach, and a close look at the white-bellied sea eagles & Brahminy kites as they swooped down to feed close the boat. From there we moved to Manta Alley, where we did 2 dives. The second dive was incredible - we had 7-8 mantas around us for the whole dive. Snorkelers witnessed mantas feeding on the surface with mouths wide open. We finished the day in Padar on beautiful Pink Beach with cocktails & aperitifs.
The following morning we did a walk at Loh Liang, where we saw dragons, sulphur crested cockatoos, green imperial pigeons, deer, a baby dragon, flying lizards and the highlight was a green tree viper. After a great dive & swim on Pantai Merah, we moved back to the North to do another phenomenal dive on Batu Bolong, which included mating octopus. We finished the day with an exodus of tens of thousands of flying foxes and another great night dive on Wainilu. On our last day we did our last dive on Tatawa Kecil, where we had great fish life and vibrant hard corals. We finished our trip on Kelor beach with a beautiful sunset, BBQ dinner, music from the crew and dancing - a great time was had by all. Komodo just NEVER disappoints!