Batu Tara, Komba Island

The Seven Seas News - October 2015

East of Flores - Report, Photos and Video by Robert Wilpernig

"Above & below the surface, one of the very best days in my life."

Komba Island, 60 km, off Flores - in the back of beyond (22nd September 2015)

"It's at day break, when we get sight of the 748 m high Batu Tara. Still with sleepy eyes, we actually all get to witness the spectacle of an erupting volcano for the first time of our lives. Boom!, and the mountain ahead of us spits fire! The strombolian eruption skyrockets the lava.

Batu Tara, Komba Island
Batu Tara, Komba Island
The super steep coast line of Pulau (= Island) Komba makes going ashore virtually impossible. Thus, the island is left uninhabited. We are far away from civilization and way beyond common waterways, admiring such a bizzarre sight, which keeps on repeating about every 20 (!) minutes. The James-Cook in us is right awake!

The explosions shoot red-hot basaltic lava into the sky, followed by a huge ashcloud in shape of a mushroom. Some of the lava rocks crash down on the steep slopes just about a couple of hundred meters away from where we anchor. They're rolling and sliding down into the ocean, while the ash cloud start looming over the islands. It can easily reach as high as air traffic and has the power to disrupt modern life.

Then the diving at ‚Alice in Wonderland', which we would re-name into "Gorgonian Wonderland".

East of Flores
Imagine yourself looking into a caleidoscope … the same way those reefs burst of vibrant colours, bizzare shapes and diversity of life forms. Our ID-skills especially for nudibranches and pygmy seahorses get pretty much challenged here.

Second dive is at "Smokey Point", a rugged steep face wall packed with fan corals, sponges and covered with hard corals. I've seen a lot, but diving at reefs created by the lava rocks, really ROCKS!

Batu Tara, Komba Island
A sight even more magical than the finest New Year's Eve fireworks. This is nature's pure force at work … and we have the honour to witness it from a box seat.

During fine dining on the sundeck, right before our night dive at "Ash Point", we watch volcano Kumba doing his magic again right in front of us. This day is certainly one of the best days in my entire dive career!

The straight talking you need to know: Nature is not a zoo (Thank God!). However, although we all came home with a permanent grin in our faces, we also had to digest some disappointment. The vast schools of fish were out of our sight, and also, we had on this particular trip no luck with the resident sperm whales. The three families with their about 60 members each, had just not surfaced during our whale watching session.

Facts & Credits: In our 13 days, we covered a route of 680 nautical miles, which equivalents 1.260 kilometres. The trip enabled us to go diving at a dozen of different islands way off the usual safari routes. All discovered by the team of the Seven Seas during their explorer trips over the past years. These guys found top dive spots with healthy, vibrant biospheres in supersized lush coral reefs.

Group photo
Sorry for repeating myself: The 15 crew members of The Seven Seas is the best crew in the world! (...and I have travelled quite a bit.) They are SO attentive! If service had a name, it would be Seven Seas. There is nothing, absolutely nothing we had to do by ourselves. Taking a time-out with them, means being pampered to the max, while indulging my passion for diving, exploring and photographing new worlds. 2 weeks of pure restoration, absolutely worth its money, returning a value to me that has no price tag.
East of Flores
My strong advice for 2016: Make sure you come with us to East of Flores, if you love critters, vibrating reefs bursting of colour, vitality and abundance of reef fish. Also expect to experience yourself in wonderland-like landscapes totally unspoilt by humanity and with active vulcanos awaiting you. And, as the cherry on the cake, there is a fair chance that the resident sperm whales show up, just for you!

Get touched by nature on our next East of Flores trip in September 2016. Better secure your space now! Info (in German) at wirodive.de/eastofflores-SEVENSEAS2016.php. Contact [email protected] or call him for more info under +49 (0) 8761 724 8000, also in English.


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