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|Newsletter April 2014|
Komodo March 2014 - Trip Report by Riona Freeman
Photos by Behnaz Afsahi & Jeff LaFrenz, Kinetic Balance Photography
It is day 2 of our cruise and this morning we started out with a surface tour of the National Park at Rinca. It was amazing. Just at the 'gate' of the park was an actual live Komodo dragon waiting for us! My first 'in the wild' dragon! It was almost like it was planned. There was another on the flats - much larger and painted with a light stripe. Those dragons deemed overly aggressive are identified this way so as to warn rangers and tourists. Further on we saw many more of the reptiles. They are just like the pictures and stories I have seen as a kid. I couldn't believe that after all these years I was here at Komodo Command Central! How cool is that! (...)
Another morning we awoke to find ourselves moored in a spectacular location off the south coast of Komodo Island. We were here specifically to see the giant manta rays, diving at a place called The Alley, where manta rays come to be cleaned and to feed when the conditions are right. If you hover at 30 feet, they usually can be found either feeding above you or resting at the cleaning stations below. However, just because they frequent places doesn't mean they are guaranteed to show up when you do! As our cruise director, Karl, said, 'they don't put the name of the animal on the dive site (eg. Manta Alley) because they aren't always there'! We had to try but our expectations had been "managed". (...)
Later in the trip, we moved to the north part of Komodo Island near Gili Lawa Laut, diving at the Fish Bowl in the morning. We descended onto a sandy slope and were almost immediately greeted by large numbers of garden eels, a couple black tipped reef sharks and a blue spotted stingray. Large bump headed parrotfish, huge Napolean wrasses and schools of fusiliers, small barracudas and surgeonfish circled the inner 'bowl' as we hugged the edges, which were built up with hard and soft corals and filled with their usual denizens. We slipped into a short alley and anchored ourselves to the sandy bottom, reclined back and watched the huge giant trevallies and drummers hover above us in the strong current. When it was time to leave we exited back into the main thoroughfare and were quickly caught up in the 'shot-gun'. The current here was very fast and trying to hug the left side, we were whipped through at amazing speed. Expecting this from the briefing, we were able to keep close to the floor and tried to avoid getting caught in the middle of it. It was very exhilarating! An Indonesian rodeo under water. Yee haw! Once back on board the tender, everyone heartedly agreed that this dive was definitely in our top 5 dives - ever!
Seven Seas in Raja Ampat 2015-2016
Seven Seas will be doing a Raja Ampat season again in 2015-2016. That got decided recently because some good old friends and multiple return charter clients, who have been everywhere else with us already many times, asked us to take them there in February 2016. We agreed to that charter request and so we pretty much had a decision to do a full season there from December 2015 through March-April 2016. We have developed our cruising schedule up to early 2016 and charters or individual berths in Raja Ampat are now available for that season starting in December 2015. You'll find the detailed schedule here! The crew is looking forward to take you there once more or for your first time ever!
An artist's impression of Cannibal Rock...
Wetpixel artist's impression of Cannibal Rock, South Komodo, February 2014...
"Return to South Komodo" Expedition, Jan./Feb. 2015
Trip Dates: January 31-February 13, 2015 (14 days/ 13 nights)
"We've recently returned from two back-to- back trips aboard the wonderful Seven Seas liveaboard, exploring the southern sites of Komodo National Park. The diving was so incredible, the amount of sea life so astonishingly varied, diverse, and exciting, and the Seven Seas crew so gracious & fun that we just have to go back! The beginning of the year brings clear currents and wonderfully warm temperatures into the South, affording us an opportunity to focus on southern sites that are nothing short of lush underwater gardens full of color and life.
Join us for this terrific adventure in a stunning location that we have virtually all to ourselves, sharing fun times and great diving with friends on the Seven Seas liveaboard!"
The Seven Seas - Grahalia Tiying Gading 18, Suite 1 - Jl Tukad Pancoran
Panjer Denpasar 80225 - Bali - Indonesia