Newsletter July 2019
By Mark Heighes. Photos by Foued Kaddachi and Alex del Olmo.
There is lot to be said about diving in Komodo and believe me, a lot has been said lately, not all of it good. As marine tourism continues to boom throughout Indonesia we are experiencing increasing pressure on not only the top destinations but on many of the newly emerging areas as well. There has been talk about temporarily closing Loh Liang on the island of Komodo, and that has made International news recently. Nobody seemed to know any details, and there have been a lot of rumours flying around. But in my humble opinion it simply will not happen. Even if it does though, none of the rest of the Park or any of the dive sites will be affected.
Other issues such as management, overcrowding on some dive sites, diver impact, carrying capacity, fishing impact, increasing park fees, etc. have all been raised over the last few years. None of this however has had anything near the impact caused by the destructive fishing practices such as blast fishing that took place the past. When you take everything together that been thrown at Komodo National Park in the past few decades, you start to realize how incredibly resilient Komodo really is. The marine environment in the Park is actually in really good shape right now, and still producing some of the best diving that Indonesia has to offer . When I compare Komodo with all the marine life found at other destinations in Indonesia, I can't think of anything that would be missing from Komodo, apart from perhaps Ambon's famous Psychedelic Frog Fish and maybe Saltwater crocodiles...
We just spent 12 days in and around Komodo National Park with a small group of very experienced divers who have be joining us annually for the last 10 years. Most of the time was spent in the Wild South, avoiding the other boats. The diving wasn't easy but we were generously rewarded for our efforts and had some of the most exciting dives of our lives. Working with a small group of very experienced divers with a keen sense of adventure, and the will to explore new sites, made it possible to visit places we normally would not attempt to dive with a regular group.
» CLICK HERE FOR MARK'S FULL REPORT AND MORE PHOTOS
By Hannah Lee. Photos by Katherine Wells.
My time on the Seven Seas to Komodo was amazing. Incredibly, the two weeks of seemingly endless days still felt too short. Simultaneously relaxing and exhilarating they were filled with diving, snorkelling, paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking and reading. Although diving was a big part of the experience, if it is not for you, or you wanted a break, there were countless other options to keep you busy. The boat is beautiful and luxurious while still comfortable and practical. The 360 views go on forever and make it hard to look away. Before arriving, I was having some anxiety about being on a boat for so long, but I can say with full confidence, anxiety was not an emotion I felt once on this trip. During the day you get to distract yourself by staring at rolling hills and volcanos, while at night, the stars in the milky way are all you see. Your surroundings are just too beautiful to feel anything but happy.
The crew is amazing as well. They're so kind and experienced and really are at your beckon call. Alex, the cruise director, is so helpful and organized and makes sure the day's plan has something for everyone. Jeffery and Irwan, the dive masters, are always looking out for everyone both above and below the surface. The crew members on the speedboats are ready to help with any issues prior to dive and are right there to pick you up as you surface. The food coming out of the kitchen is something I think everyone looks forward too. The cooks, little John and Yofin are amazing and never let anyone go hungry. The food is one of the highlights of this experience. The crew is really what makes the Seven Seas special.
» CLICK HERE FOR HANNAH'S FULL REPORT
By Karen Iizuka. Photos by Katherine Wells, Eva Pet and Alex del Olmo.
We all looked to where Pete was pointing and sure enough, there were some dorsal fins and flippers at the surface. We ditched our breakfast and rushed out to the deck to get a closer look. There were about 8 Risso's dolphins that we had mistaken for Melon-headed whales at first glance. We all marvelled at the rare sighting of these beautiful creatures. It was at this moment when I felt so connected to everyone aboard - we all share a love for the ocean. This was the morning of day 3 on the Seven Seas and as the days passed, there were plenty more memories made, stories told, and laughs shared as though we have all known each other for years.
From laying on the ocean floor and looking up to see giant trevallies passing by at fish bowl, to snorkeling with manta rays up close, to going on my first night dive, to dancing around the bonfire, to looking up at stars illuminating the night sky - these are all memories I'll cherish forever.
» CLICK HERE FOR KAREN'S FULL REPORT
A Surprise Encounter with a Heavily Pregnant Manta
By Rod Salm.
Snorkeling and diving with mantas at Manta Alley are always very rewarding and I always do both. Diving gets us down to the cleaning station where, if one is careful and patient, the huge mantas will come in close and hover as they are stripped of parasites by a host of fishes.
Our visit in May 2019 was no exception. We entered early when the low morning light filtered weakly through plankton rich waters. It gave a ghostly effect to the giant mantas gliding effortlessly down and around us. But for the rasp and rattle of our regulators and the persistent pull of current in places, it was a serene scene. We needed to be deep for that.
Nonetheless, I prefer snorkeling. I love to float, sink, wait, and leave the mantas to wing their way to me unencumbered by a wall of bubbles between us. Hovering just above the rounded rock boulders on the bottom, I had a huge black manta glide straight toward and only inches above me time and again. I marveled at the sheer bulk of the animal, not realizing then that she was heavily pregnant.
» CLICK HERE FOR ROD'S FULL ARTICLE
"What a wonderful time! This was our first liveaboard dive adventure and it couldn't have been better. One of us was an inexperienced SCUBA diver (but certified) and Alex and Jeffry did everything (from hand holding in current to helping me with weights and buoyancy) to enable me to enjoy and experience the underwater wonders from the surface to 20 meters! The other of us was a snorkeler and had a fantastic experience as well. Alex is the perfect Cruise Director, simply the best. The crew was really really good. The Seven Seas is a happy ship. And by the way, the biodiversity, coral, sponges, tunicates, anemones, echinoderms and fish were beyond stunning. Terima kasih!"
Lynne and Stephen Hale (Komodo, May 2019)
» Click here for more testimonials.
East Flores to Komodo - Some Personal Reflections
By Rod Salm.
The variety of sea life supported in and around the reefs of Flores island and Komodo National Park is always so interesting. In large part, this is because of the Indonesia Through Flow, a strong and global climate influencing transfer of water from the Pacific to the Indian Oceans through Indonesia and the complex mixing of these waters within the Indonesian seas.
We certainly experienced this directly in the straits and narrow passages among the islands of the Lesser Sunda Islands (Bali eastwards). These constrictions squeeze and accelerate the currents and force the mixing, drawing up cold water in the southern straits and along the south side of the island chain.
As the Earth spins from west to east, the ocean waters pile up in the western side of the ocean basins. The strong easterly trade winds and west flowing equatorial currents under their influence contribute significantly to this. Consequently, the sea level in the west of the vast Pacific Ocean north of Indonesia is higher than that of the extreme eastern Indian Ocean below Indonesia. It is also warmer, less saline and packed full of eggs and larvae of Pacific organisms that are carried into Indonesian waters. Here, these drifting eggs and larvae settle on Indonesian reefs, maintain a continuous replenishment of the reef fauna, and contribute to the high assortment of species in this bull's eye of biodiversity.
» CLICK HERE FOR ROD'S FULL REPORT
The Seven Seas - Pertokoan Simpang Siur (Kuta Poleng) C1 - Jl. Setiabudi
Kuta, Badung 80361 - Bali - Indonesia