The Republic of Indonesia, spread on over 17,000 islands, has one of the richest marine environments in the world. The Komodo National Park is located in the center of the Indonesian archipelago, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores, at the heart of the Coral Triangle.
The entry point to the national park is a small sleepy town Labuan Bajo with a modern airport which is a testimony of ever so increasing tourism in this part of Indonesia. Labuan Bajo is easy to reach by plane with domestic flights from Jakarta and Bali, operated by Garuda Indonesia (20 kg check-in luggage that accommodates dive gear) and Wings Air (10 kg check-in luggage, any additional weight is charged for).
Made up of three large volcanic islands Komodo, Rinca, and Padar, the Komodo National Park is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only place in the world where the Komodo dragons live in their natural habitat. Boasting variety of healthy colorful coral reefs, large pelagic and macro marine life alike, it is one of the most beautiful and fascinating spots in South East Asia to scuba dive.
The Komodo National Park is best explored by a liveboard. I dived Komodo on board of Cheng Ho, belonging to the Sea Safari Cruises. Cheng Ho is a luxurious Phinisi dive vessel which can comfortably accommodate up to 20 divers. Comfortable en-suit cabins, dining room, several sun decks, large dive decks and wonderful crew make diving on board of Cheng Ho comfortable and fun. Divers’ safety comes first with Cheng Ho using the Electronic Rescue and Locating System (ENOS), world’s first unique rescue system for divers who became swept away by currents to spot them on the surface. This is very important as the Komodo is infamous for strong currents. This is why diving in Komodo requires certain skill-level and experience and is certainly not advised for the novice divers. Komodo is best to dive from April to October. The water temperature varies from 28-29 Celsius degrees in the north to 23-24 Celsius degrees in the south, it is therefore advisable to pack both 3 and 5 mm wetsuits (I took my own 5 mm wetsuit and rented a 3 mm on the boat).
The dive sites with strong currents include Batu Bolong, Tatawa Besar, Gili Lawa Laut (Castle Rock, Crystal Rock, Shotgun) and Siaba Kecil. In addition, Tatawa Kecil, Batu Tiga, and Current City are dive sites only for the real adrenaline junkies. When diving Komodo, it is advised to have a reef hook, mirror, whistle, and glows, as safety items. Strong currents, however, attract large pelagics, such as manta rays, sharks, barracudas, jacks and other fishes which are amazing to observe and photograph.
See for yourself! 🙂