Komodo diving - general information
Diving in Komodo is not a new idea but recently it’s being recognised as a premier destination due to the awesome variety of diving to be had. Crystal clear water and dive sites where you never see another diver provide a little something for everyone whether it’s macro or massive you love. One day you can be crawling along the bottom looking at pygmy seahorses, frogfish and unusual nudibranch and the next you are in the big blue on an open water pinnacle as the mantas fly by, the sharks circle and the dolphins hunt and the next day diving a live volcano!! For sheer variety there is no better place on earth.
Komodo is one of the few places left in the world where sharks are not rare and down south is one of the places where manta rays have their legendary aggregations, meaning they are here in the area in their hundreds!!!
One of the highlights of these trips is the rare opportunity to walk with the lengendary Komodo dragons. These truly awesome beasts can reach 3 metres plus and can reportedly run at 20km an hour chasing their prey. It’s the icing on the cake, Stunning diving and one of the world’s last surviving dinosaur descendants all one amazing package.
Covering the best of both worlds, from up close and personal with aggragating mantas to shy pygmy seahorses and rare nudibranches Komodo diving has it all. The beauty of Komodo liveaboard diving is in the balance between the large and small animals. One day you will be in the blue swimming with mantas and sharks and the next swimming along a bubbling volcanic reef covered with venting submerged fumeroles blowing bubbles into the water and hiding one of the worlds best kept secret macro dive sites.
In North Komodo the water temperature is normally 27-29°C. Around Southern Komodo and Rinca Islands the water temperature drops can drop a bit to 22-26°C. A 5mm long suit is advised and hood and booties are strongly recommended for the southern area.
These are some of the top sites that most liveaboards visit.
Angel reef, Moyo, Sumbawa diving
We start our Komodo liveaboard with the first dive of the trip and the check out dive. This dive site doesn’t disappoint. A beautiful wall stretching down to 50 metres covered in hard and soft corals very reminiscent of Bunaken in North Sulawesi. Schools of bannerfish and trevally patrol the walls with the occasional reef sharks making an appearance. Ribbon eels hide in crevices and many different nudibranchs crawl over the vast elephant ear sponges that hang from the beautiful soft coral infested wall.
Satonda island bay
A protected bay on Satonda island north of Sumbawa hosts a treasure trove of macro critters, the more we dive here the more we find. The rare Denise pygmy seahorse lives in fans here, frogfish hang out in big barrel sponges and ghost pipefish hide amongst the featherstars that cover the reef slope. In the sandy bottom you can find jawfish with their mouths full of eggs, myriads of anemonefish, mushroom coral pipefish and spearer mantis shrimps.
Sangeang island diving
Sangieng island is a perfectly round volcanic island jutting up from the sea bed. Still active and last blowing in 1996 this well kept secret is one of the world’s finest macro dive areas. With diving available all around the island there is not one specific spot but always new ones to be discovered. Bubbles of volcanic gas seep through the sand creating a surreal atmosphere and a warm black sand bottom hosting rare and unusual nudibranch. Pygmy seahorses, frogfish, Pegasus sea moths and carnivorous shells and all common here, this is my personal favourite dive site as every time we dive here there is a surprise in store of something new that is often not in the books - this site is why you go Komodo liveaboard diving.
Gps point - Gili Banta diving
Gps point is an open sea mount prone to strong currents at certain times of the day. This provides prolific hard and soft coral growth that is home to hundreds of different types of reef fish. Loved by sharks, white tip sharks cruise around the whole dive in amongst the hunting giant trevallies and schooling jacks and surgeon fish, an exciting dive.
Takat Toko, Gili Lawalaut diving
This is one of my favourite sites on the Komodo liveaboard itinerary and is very similar to Gps point this site takes it to the next level. Grey reef shark, white tip sharks, occassional dolphins and a literal fish soup created by jacks, surgeonfish, giant trevallies and bannerfish surround this large sea mount as you hang on to the reef edge and watch the action. Again this site is prone to strong currents but we time our dives to hit around slack tide and a little current brings in the big fish. Great pelagic action, my favourite blue water dive.
Lighthouse reef, Gili Lawalaut diving
An adrenalin pounding drift dive along the wall and around the corner under the lighthouse. Sharks, mantas, dolphins are all frequent visitors on the dive with some of the best coral reef top in the area around the corner out of the current at the end of the dive you can hunt for porcelain crabs, cuttlefish and unusual seahorses whilst waiting for the adrenalin to funnel out of your system and your heart rate to return to normal-this is what Komodo liveaboard diving is all about!.
Crystal rock, Gili Lawalaut diving
A stunning soft coral and sea fan covered pinnacle with crystal water clarity this is a great site for those magazine cover wide angle shots. With at least 5 different types of angelfish, 4 types of trigger and butterflyfish everywhere it is a excellent reef fish dive with frequent visits from eagle and manta rays and the resident sleepy hawksbill turtle.
Pink beach, Komodo diving
Colder water and lower vis here due to the huge amounts of organic matter in the water due to the southern currents but this is more than made up for by the astounding life available to see here due to this phenomenon. Normally done as a night dive it also makes a good day dive with everything from white tip sharks to pygmy seahorses; zebra crabs, Coleman shrimp, many coloured frogfish, xeno crabs, Spanish dancers, and unusual nudibranchs are hidden amongst the dense coral growth.
Cannibal rock, Rinca island diving
Colder water than the north but touted by many as one of the worlds best 10 sites, yes I know there seems to be way more than 10 “top 10 sites” but this one really is one if you like macro. Everything is here even the rarest of the rare, the Rhinopias scorpionfish. It’s nudi heaven with only the special and the rare getting to appear here, more species than I care to mention along with large and different frogfish mixed in with schools of fish and the resident dopy turtle we do 2 dives here and it’s still not enough!! You will love it, I personally adore this dive site.
Torpedo alley, Rinca island diving
Just next to cannibal rock and where the boat moors is a beach that has wild pigs, monkeys and Komodo dragons in the daytime and hosts a myriad of critters in the waters in front if it at night. Named for the large amount of torpedo rays found here, a member of the electric ray family- no touching! They cover the sandy bottom along with loads of nudis obvious on the black sand bottom along with bizarre crabs and octopus.
Manta alley, Komodo diving
In the cooler waters in the south of Komodo there is a bay in which there are a series of pinnacles that seem to be a magnet for aggregating mantas. They are here in their tens, often we come up having seen over 20 different individuals. Often a little shy, their evasive spins and pirouettes makes the watching of them that much more enjoyable.
Takat Makassar, Komodo diving
This is our other manta site. A little bit more of a risk to see them as it is a huge area and we drift along the bottom in about 10 metres but along the way we always run into loads of turtles, napoleon and humphead wrasse, white tip sharks and very very occasionally you will be incredibly lucky and run into the resident dugong that inhabits this area along with scores of mantas as they migrate north.
3 sisters, Padar island diving
A series of underwater pinnacles reaching nearly to the the surface off the coast of Padar island next to Komodo this site constantly springs surprises on you from silvertip sharks and mobular ray schools to marbled rays and rare nudibranchs.
Komodo - faqsInquiry
Please note these are generic FAQs about Indonesia in general and not always boat specific.
If you are unsure about something please ask us to get confirmation.
What documents will I need to show on the boat?
Dive certification cards and dive logbook.
What money will I need?
Most boats accepts payment by Visa or Mastercard, Indonesian Rupiah, Euro or US Dollar. Please be advised that foreign notes should be clean, new and crisp. Indonesian banks and money changers will not accept old notes or notes which are damaged in any way. You can also use your credit or debit card at ATM machines in towns prior to boarding the boat to withdraw Rupiah, which is better should you wish to purchase local souvenirs or for tips. It is advisable to inform your bank or credit card company that you will be visiting Indonesia prior to your departure, as it is not uncommon for the bank to put a block on the card if they suspect it has been misappropriated.
What type of food is available on board?
Meals are prepared by the onboard chef and consist of a delicious mix of international and local dishes. Please advise us as soon as possible if you have any special dietary requirements. Certain special dietary requests and beverage requests may not be available on a consistent basis due to the remote nature of the locations.
Will there be any opportunities to go ashore during the cruise?
There are many different land excursions which are dependent on the schedule and guest preferences. Some land excursions available are beach visits, village visit and other treks dependant on the area, weather and local conditions.
What if I am prone to sea sickness?
If you are prone to sea sickness we strongly urge you to bring some motion sickness medication.
Will I have to share a cabin if I am travelling as a single?
All rates are quoted on a share basis therefore, unless you require a guaranteed single room and pay an additional supplement you will share your cabin with one other guest.
What is the voltage on the boat?
Voltage in Indonesia is 220-240 V.
If you feel you will need an adaptor please bring one.
Does the boat provide any toiletries?
There is soap, shampoo, hand wash and towels.
What time zone is Indonesia located?
Komodo, Flores, Derawan and Sangalaki, Kaimantan and Sulawesi are 8 hours ahead of GMT. Raja Ampat is covered by Eastern Indonesia Standard Time which is 9 hours ahead of GMT.
Is smoking permitted?
A designated area on the boat is available for smoking.
Smoking is not permitted in any other area for any reason.
What about crew gratuities?
Gratuities for the crew are not included in your trip price. If the crew performs to your expectations, we suggest a gratuity of approximately 5-10% of the published package price per person be considered normal aboard a liveaboard dive boat.
All tips are generally split equally among the boat crew. Personal tipping is frowned upon. Payment of gratuities can be by cash or credit card.
Do I need evacuation/dive insurance?
It is mandatory that each guest purchase comprehensive evacuation and dive accident insurance.
The boat will be operating in extremely remote areas. Emergency evacuations from remote locations can cost in excess of USD $100,000.
We recommend Divers Alert Network (DAN): www.DiversAlertNetwork.org (in USA), www.daneurope.org (in Europe).
How many dives will we do each day?
There will be up to 4 dives per day with 3-4 dives being normal dependant on the distances travelled between sites and possibly at nightime but this is dpeendant on the boat and route being taken.
Are there any limitations or restrictions on the diving?
You should stay within the limits and standards of your qualifying agency.
All dives should be no- decompression dives. Solo diving is not permitted.
What dive equipment do I need?
Tanks, weights and weight belts are provided onboard. Divers will need to bring BCD, regulator, wetsuit,fins, mask, snorkel and dive light.
Rental equipment is available and will need to be ordered in advance.
What can I expect the water temperature to be and what wetsuit do you recommend?
This is always a difficult question to answer because people have different reactions to temperature.
Typically temperatures range from 25-30C or 80-86F so usually a 3mm suit or even a skin is fine. The southern waters of Komodo can be colder with 20-25C or 70-75F so a 5mm suit with a hood is recommended.
Do you have Int or DIN valves?
We have tanks with Int and DIN valve adaptors.
How do we dive from the boat?
All dives will be made from the tenders. Equipment will be transferred to the tenders and guests will board the tender with only their wetsuit on.
Can I drink alcohol and dive?
No. Drinking alcohol and diving can increase your risk of decompression problems.
You can drink alcohol once your have completed your last dive of the day.
Can I fish or spear fish?
Fishing and spear fishing are not available onboard. We will be diving in marine protected areas where any type of fishing is prohibited.
What facilities are available for photographers?
There are ample camera tables and cubby holes with charging stations with 110V and 220V above your dive gear.
There are ‘camera only’ rinse buckets for the exclusive use of photographers onboard.
Can I pay by Credit card on board?
For most things yes you can but there is a bank charge of 3%, normal in Indonesia. Please check with us beforehand about this.
Depending on the season the visibility range is between 10-40 metres or 30-120 feet.
All diving areas are subject to currents that range from slight to extremely strong.
Dive sites are selected according to currents with some great year round drift diving opportunities.
An opportunity to see some of the world’s most unique marine species that emerge only after the sun has set.
The areas where you will dive are unmatched for small and unusual marine wildlife. The species list is endless and new ones are still being discovered in these areas.
The average air temperature in the regions you will visit ranges from 25 - 35 Celsius or 77-90 Fahrenheit.
Health and innoculations:
Vaccinations for typhoid, paratyphoid, tetanus, Cholera, Polio, and Hepatitis A are recommended but not mandatory.
Malaria is endemic in many parts of Indonesia, please check with your local Tropical Disease Centre for anti-malaria/diver friendly medication.
The Indonesian currency is Rupiah. Rates fluctuate enormously, please check with our cruise directors for your cruise exchange rates.
Population and people:
Regarded as the fifth most populous nation in the world, there are approximately 200,000,000 in Indonesia. The majority, around 60% reside on the island of Java.
An amazing diversity of religions exists. Predominantly a Muslim nation, islands like Timor, North Sulawesi and Flores are Christian.
Hinduism is found mainly in Bali.
Scattered throughout the region are a variety of other beliefs.
Bahasa Indonesia, almost identical to Malay is the one national language.
Several local dialects exist in each region as well. English is widely spoken in the more popular tourist destinations such as Bali.
Out of 14,000+ islands in the archipelago, there are a plethora of exclusive dive locations in Indonesia, boasting up to 80% of the worlds species of undersea life. With Indocruises we take you to pristine spots not that known in your average dive travel guide and which are still being explored.
Dive conditions in Indonesia
- Diving all year around is possible.
- Watertemperature 24°(75°F) to 30°C(86°F) (In the south of Komodo it drops down to 21-23°C (70-75°F)
- Visibility is mostly very good (up to 30m)
Safety Procedures and Emergency Evacuation Information:
There are 6 recompression chambers in Indonesia to treat decompression sickness
Bali: Sanglah General Hospital (in Indonesian language) USUP Sanglah Denpasar JI. Diponegoro, Denpasar 80114 Bali, Indonesia Phone 62-361-227911 through -15 ext. 232 (hyperbaric medical department) Fax 62-361-22426 Run by Dr. Antonius Natasamudra and Dr. Etty Herawati
Manado (Sulawesi): At the Malalayang Hospital (chamber for 3 to 4 persons) Phone: 0811430913 and ask for Dr Jimmy Waleleng (Phone home 860953). Makassar (Sulawesi): Rumah Sakit Umum Wahidin Sudirohusodo. Contact person: Pak Daniel Address: Jl. Perintis Kemerdekaan Km. 11, Tamalanrea Kampus UNHAS Indonesia TEL:++ 62 - 0411 (584677) , 584675. Said to be for 3 to 4 persons.
Jakarta (Java): Rumah Sakit Angkatan Laut (Navy Hospital) in Jl. Bendungan Hilir No.17, Central Jakarta (see text in italian with some addresses - list of help) Kalimantan: The Borneo Divers have the only professional recompression chamber located on Sipadan island (Borneo - Malaysia)
Surabaya (Java): Rumah Sakit Angkatan Laut (RSAL) (Military Marine hospital) Jl. Gadung no. 1, SurabayPhone 031-45750 and 41731 (another number given was 031-838153 and fax 031- 837511) Run by Dr Suharsono Available SAR (search and rescue) contact information:
- SAR Bali : ph 0361 - 751111 Radio : 13545.0
- SAR Lombok : Ph 0370 - 633253 Radio : 13545.0
- SAR Makassar : Ph 0411 - 554111 Radio : 13545.0
- SAR Manado : Ph 0431 - 825986
- SAR Kupang : Ph 0380 - 831111
- SAR Ambon : Ph 0911 - 351111
- SAR Sorong : Ph 0951 - 323816
**Available SAR (search and rescue) contact information: Medivac facilities from Travira Air www.travira-air.com