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blueline

Komodo diving in Feb/March

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Hello,

 

After researching info on Raja Ampat, my buddy an I think it's way too remote(will need at least 3 weeks to venture that way - currently don't have that time), so after some thinking I started checking Komodo. I have an idea about liveaboards there(was looking at MV Bidadari), so I wanted to know if anyone had any experience with that boat and the diving in the Komodo straights?

 

How does that compare to Raja Ampat? Does anyone know if you can stay on Labuan Bajo city/Flores(where this boat departs from), instead of Bali? My friend has dived Bali before and would probably want to see something new.

 

Any info would greatly be appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Blueline

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My wife and I did a trip to Komodo in April. I have a trip report of it here. We loved it, as we had the small boat to ourselves and the crew. I loved sleeping outside on deck every night, and the diving was very good.

Edited by gravity

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I was on the Peter Hughes Komodo Dancer last March. Great boat, excellent crew, delicious food. The cruise director Gary has outstanding experience in the area which is key as tides can be tricky and currents ripping if dives aren't timed right, esp. on the exposed pinnacles (remember the folks who got blown off and had to be rescued a year or two ago?). However, diving was limited to 4 dives/day (3 + a night dive). I really liked the diving there and would happily go back any time - lots of variety, including big schools of fish, mantas, great macro and even one dive with several sharks. And of course, dragons! Plus, I'm always happy to fly through and have the chance to spend time in Bali ;)

 

You can see my pics from the trip here: http://gallery.me.com/philsokol/100150

 

I agree Rajah Ampat is a pain to get to/from, but it's worth it as well. You will love either.

 

Phil

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My wife and I did a trip to Komodo in April. I have a trip report of it here. We loved it, as we had the small boat to ourselves and the crew. I loved sleeping outside on deck every night, and the diving was very good.

 

Thanks for replying.

 

Those are some real nice pictures with healthy coral. Did you stay in Bali and then flew to Flores for the liveaboard, or did it depart from Bali?

 

I've seen some underwater video clips and it looks like the coral/sea life is prolific, very similar to Raja Ampat, so given it's easier to get there, it sounds like a plan.

 

Blueline

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I was on the Peter Hughes Komodo Dancer last March. Great boat, excellent crew, delicious food. The cruise director Gary has outstanding experience in the area which is key as tides can be tricky and currents ripping if dives aren't timed right, esp. on the exposed pinnacles (remember the folks who got blown off and had to be rescued a year or two ago?). However, diving was limited to 4 dives/day (3 + a night dive). I really liked the diving there and would happily go back any time - lots of variety, including big schools of fish, mantas, great macro and even one dive with several sharks. And of course, dragons! Plus, I'm always happy to fly through and have the chance to spend time in Bali ;)

 

You can see my pics from the trip here: http://gallery.me.com/philsokol/100150

 

I agree Rajah Ampat is a pain to get to/from, but it's worth it as well. You will love either.

 

Phil

 

 

I think conbining sea life and the dragons, is enough to make me visit. Thanks for the info.

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You can stay on Labuan Bajo but the resort that's decent is a bit out of town. Everyone just flies in on the day from Bali and boards the boat. Boarding the boat from Bali allows you to dive the islands of Sumbawa, Sangeang, Moyo etc along the way BUT you also spend less time in the park area and you don't usually get to go far south. For Komodo, I like a minimum 10 day trip to "do it" properly.

Many of the better boats are up in R4. The Bida Dari is a nice boat but smaller and more cozy. It's not a luxury boat like the 7 Seas, the Adventurer II or the Ombak boats. Typical phinisi/schooner fare.

The good thing is the BidaDari was run by Mark Heighes. He is one of the pioneers of diving the Komodo area since he consulted with TNC. There were times when the liveaboards would follow his boat around just to find dive sites. This was all in the 90s of course and a lot has changed. Mark is now the cruise director/partner of the 7 Seas. However, many of the marquée sites are still from his run with the BidaDari and used today.

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You can stay on Labuan Bajo but the resort that's decent is a bit out of town. Everyone just flies in on the day from Bali and boards the boat. Boarding the boat from Bali allows you to dive the islands of Sumbawa, Sangeang, Moyo etc along the way BUT you also spend less time in the park area and you don't usually get to go far south. For Komodo, I like a minimum 10 day trip to "do it" properly.

Many of the better boats are up in R4. The Bida Dari is a nice boat but smaller and more cozy. It's not a luxury boat like the 7 Seas, the Adventurer II or the Ombak boats. Typical phinisi/schooner fare.

The good thing is the BidaDari was run by Mark Heighes. He is one of the pioneers of diving the Komodo area since he consulted with TNC. There were times when the liveaboards would follow his boat around just to find dive sites. This was all in the 90s of course and a lot has changed. Mark is now the cruise director/partner of the 7 Seas. However, many of the marquée sites are still from his run with the BidaDari and used today.

 

Thanks Drew.

 

I think the trip I was looking at is 8 days, 26 dives. I'd rather spend most time in the park. My friend has done Bali before, so we may do a few dives there as well( Liberty wreck etc...)

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Excuse me for resurrecting this topic...

 

We finally booked with KM Bidadari for the Feb 6th-13th trip in Komodo. I have read that weather can be a bit rough on northern sites but Canniball Rock South Rinca sites offer clear water/warmer temperatures.

 

Booking in February was the only way to do this trip due to work restrictions but what kind of weather should we be expecting? How rough can the waters be or how much does it rain? It'd be weird to be there and dive in overcast/rainy weather all the time. Is that the case?

 

I've read on some local websites that last 2 years have offered nice weather/calm seas in February? (I know it's tough to predict the weather).

 

Any info on this would greatly be appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Blueline

Edited by blueline

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Komodo was great in January of this year when we went. We had beautiful weather the majority of the trip. Unfortunately, I can't say that's a guarantee since Garry on the Komodo Dancer told us that the last year, they had a hard time just getting to some of the spots, and some areas weren't possible due to weather. We did the Bali-Komodo roundtrip. While I would rather spend more time in the park proper on a new trip, we only lost about 1.5 days on either end for transit. However, we would have missed one of the most beautiful spots of the trip: Moyo reef. It's an area watched over by a local village and we hit it with great weather. So many fish, so many different fish, colors, colors, complete with minifeeding frenzies all in the shallower sunlit water. Topping it off with a big beautiful seasnake there.

 

You have got a good trip booked, but yeah I have been to Komodo and RA in the same year, and Raja Ampat is worth the extra expense. Just got back, and I felt like I saw more schools, bigger schools, more large fish, and full out activity spots, where lots of different fish are schooling and feeding. Rays on multiple dives. I know that Komodo can be that great but but RA definitely had more for my trip. I had to expand my "top 5 dives" to more than 5, including bumping Cannibal Rock to equal.

 

BTW, remember rain is the name of the game out there. Most mornings before 6, there is a short torrential downpour, followed by beautiful sun, with possible rain in the late afternoon. Repeat.

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Komodo was great in January of this year when we went. We had beautiful weather the majority of the trip. Unfortunately, I can't say that's a guarantee since Garry on the Komodo Dancer told us that the last year, they had a hard time just getting to some of the spots, and some areas weren't possible due to weather. We did the Bali-Komodo roundtrip. While I would rather spend more time in the park proper on a new trip, we only lost about 1.5 days on either end for transit. However, we would have missed one of the most beautiful spots of the trip: Moyo reef. It's an area watched over by a local village and we hit it with great weather. So many fish, so many different fish, colors, colors, complete with minifeeding frenzies all in the shallower sunlit water. Topping it off with a big beautiful seasnake there.

 

You have got a good trip booked, but yeah I have been to Komodo and RA in the same year, and Raja Ampat is worth the extra expense. Just got back, and I felt like I saw more schools, bigger schools, more large fish, and full out activity spots, where lots of different fish are schooling and feeding. Rays on multiple dives. I know that Komodo can be that great but but RA definitely had more for my trip. I had to expand my "top 5 dives" to more than 5, including bumping Cannibal Rock to equal.

 

BTW, remember rain is the name of the game out there. Most mornings before 6, there is a short torrential downpour, followed by beautiful sun, with possible rain in the late afternoon. Repeat.

 

Hi Shasta man.. (name brings memories of Siskiyou pass) :wacko:

 

Actually, just as expected, me and my dive buddy have been debating for a while which trip (RA or Komodo) is a better value, given we only have 15 days to venture that way. I wish we had more time so we can include a trip to either the Banda islands or RA. :) I guess that will have to wait for some other time.

 

How do the Komodo reefs compare to RA(healthier, less/more diverse?) I know Cannibal Rock must be a very unusual reef and looking forward to diving it.

 

The weather pattern sounds similar to FL weather in the summer(minus the big storms). :)

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