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South Komodo in December

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Would anyone NOT recommend that I dive South Komodo in mid to late December? If so, why or why not?

 

Also, what liveaboards have you had good experiences with diving South Komodo?

 

Thank you!

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Liveaboard: KM Black Manta www.whitemanta.com

 

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Thank you for the feedback, Peter!

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Only 2 reasons not to:

 

1. Dec-March is generally cyclone season in Australia. Cyclones can form in North West Australia/NT that can impact sea conditions in S.Komodo. I went on a S Komodo trip in March that was impacted by bad weather/cyclones in Australia. However the chances are very low and there is a lot of shelter around S Komodo.

 

2. You may miss out on some of the sites in the north! North Komodo can be off limits at that time of year.

 

 

Otherwise Dec is a great time to go.

Not many boats around at that time in the South, so you may have horseshoe bay to yourself.

Water is warmer & better viss.

 

My trip was on the Damai 1 , fantastic liveaboard.

Edited by Kevster

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I won't go back their until the fishing/dynamite is under control. We headed south after hitting a few sites north, we pulled up in a bay to dive cannibal rock to find a cheeky little fisherman trying his luck on the dive site. We didn't really think much of it, the usual was said amongst ourselves "this is a protected area, he shouldn't be here" "what are we paying our fee for". Regardless our group headed out to the site, 25 mins into the dive we were cowering behind a boulder protecting ourselves from the blasts he was creating. After 3 bombs went off my buddy and i surfaced to find he had moved a hundred or so metres and was bombing the reef. I have never been so frightened in all my life, ive heard bombs diving before in S.E Asia but to feel them was another thing.

 

The group was furious, the owner wouldn't do anything though as he feared retaliation (basically being shot or a bomb, thrown on his boat).

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So besides cyclones coming in from Australia and fisherman dynamite bombing the Komodo reefs, it's a fantastic dive destination? :blink:

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

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i've been twice, as part of a liveaboard. On both trips I enjoyed sites like batu bolong, tetawa kecil, crystal rock and GPS much more.

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Are batu bolong, tetawa kecil, crystal rock and GPS in the north or South Komodo?

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sorry, they are north. Here is a list of sites and a brief description.

 

http://www.reefseekers.net/about-2/dive-sites/

 

 

I wonder what is going on with the fishing there, it was all over the news a year or two ago, coverage seems to have gone quiet. Really is a shame if it's still being exploited.

 

I should add, they are my favourite sites of komodo (Batu bolong etc). Groups have spent a whole liveaboard at cannibal rock before. I'd suggest if you're going to Komodo to do a liveaboard that does the North and South.

Edited by kun1

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As mentioned, South Komodo in Dec is a great time for MUCH better viz and warmer water but the caveat is wind/rain as it's the transition period for the main rainy season (NW Monsoon). Weatherwise, it's a warmer and muggier but topside the Southern islands are also lusher and greener than during the "high" season.

The sites down south like Cannibal Rock can be wonderfully colorful due to the better viz. Wide angle is much more conducive with better viz. The warmer water will also mean that one gets a slight change in species found. Obviously my dives are just a few points on the life cycle of the Lesser Sundas. I also checked with Mark Heighes of the 7 Seas, one of the dive pioneers of Komodo National Park as well as the dive guides of various boats over the years. Obviously colder water species like Rhinopia move deeper and the thicker schooling fish aren't as numerous, as the warm water has fewer nutrients. Still, better viz and very good fish life can be as good as thick fishlife and not so great viz. Of course, many enjoy the Mantas of Langkol, but I think Karang Makassar would be more happening in Dec as they tend to aggregate during the wet season. Rinca's Horseshoe Bay is still pretty world class for critters and flora.

As for boats, I personally recommend the 7 Seas (note: I have not been on it when Karl and Linda are cruise directors. I charter and Mark Heighes always comes out on my charters) as the crew are top notch. And I know they do deep south itineraries, since the owners Jos and Mark scoured the area for years establishing the KNP. It isn't as new or as luxurious as other boats of similar price range, but for me, I personally rather have knowledge of areas than a newer luxo boat, who follow a standard itinerary.
My advice is compare itineraries. Staying south in Dec is better for viz, and more experienced boats go out to Mota (Motong), South Sape etc.

Komodo National Park has gone through a though period after recovering under the TNC umbrella. Mismanagement, corruption and bad decision making has led to irregular patrols and more illegal fishing in the park area. There are regular reports of illegal fishing by liveaboards.

Having dived since the 90s, going back now is just a painful reminder of how bad it can get (like in the mid-late 90s). Still there are some wonderful dives to be had if you are new to the area.

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