The Seven Seas News - August 2014
Komodo Family Trip 2014 - Report by Luke Bassett & Phoebe Wells
Photos by Katherine Wells & Robert Delfs
Prior to venturing through Komodo National Park with the Seven Seas, her crew, and my lovely fellow passengers, I had never before dived in the Pacific Ocean. My past diving experience had only been in the waters surrounding the Caribbean Island of Bonaire. Bonaire, to me, had always represented a tropical hot spot of reef biodiversity and although I had heard incredible stories of the Komodo reefs, I expected the two areas to be somewhat comparable. However, I quickly realized that not to be the case.
Throughout the trip, I was consistently astonished by the sheer biodiversity as well as density of life on the reef. A myriad of coral, anemone, and sponge species, the majority of which I had never encountered before, colored the reef. Areas left uncovered by sessile invertebrate life were difficult to find on most dives. More surprising was the fish life. Schools of reef fish were often five or six fold larger than those encountered in the Caribbean. Fish diversity was also staggeringly different between the Komodo and Caribbean reefs. For example: while I could usually count five species of angelfish during a dive in the Caribbean, it was difficult to find under fifteen species during a dive in Komodo. Every dive I also encountered new species and it was difficult to decide what fish were worth alerting my fellow divers over. This was made more difficult by the fact that certain fish considered rare or special in the Caribbean were regarded as commonplace among the Komodo reefs. Spotting a reef shark or manta ray on a dive in the Caribbean could make an entire trip, but depending on the dive, getting in arms reach of seven different mantas or spotting over five reefs sharks could be expected. As the trip progressed, I could feel myself becoming gradually more spoiled by the incredible dive sights and the impressive abundance of life.
Of the many dive sites we visited, Batu Bolong was one of the more popular among the guests. Here is a recounting of a snorkel trip to the site by one of the younger divers, Phoebe (age 12):
"Just as we dropped into the water, fish of all colours started swimming around us. The light perfectly lit up the coral beneath. The reds and yellows glowed in the sunlight. A school of rainbow runners passed us, only showing bellies as they swam into the depths of the adventurous ocean. The waves washed up on the rocky island swaying the oceanic creatures from side to side. An inside out anemone perched in a corner of a rock was bulging with its little tentacles. Close by was a beautifully camoflaged scorpionfish. Only not camoflaged was its eye. Two long white antenae were poking out of a small hole, both belonging to a lobster. In the end we saw two lobsters.
Towards the end of the snorkel we experienced a couple of extraordinary nudibranks, one of wich had viberant green coulr called Nembrotha kubaryana with fiery red detailes on the bottom. The other Nudibrank was called Blue dragon with purple caratos. Soon we decided to explor the rocky island. We took of our fins and masks and walked towards the arch. Feeling rather special, we steped through but not going much further because the rockes dipped into the water. So instead we walked round the corner and found crabs quickly scuttling away from us. We ventured farther finding a small window and a middle sised hole, we went closer and found a small hole in the ground with four sea snakes in it, all curled and piled on top of each other. We turned round and stumbled back speadily. After the drama we decided it was time to go back to the boat and jumped back in the water to do so."
Incredible experiences such as this occurred on a daily basis throughout the trip and many times they were not solely related to diving. We were also able to visit various beaches, hike through the Komodo dragon sanctuary, and witness the flight of legions of fox bats from a mangrove forest. The incredible staff, crew, and guests also added an essential part to the vacation and everyone seemed to have something valuable to teach or interesting to tell. I will remember this trip for years to come as well as everyone that helped to make it so wonderful and hope to one day return to Komodo.
Komodo, July 2014
» Click here to see what our guests had to say about this trip.