November 16th, 2016
This year in the month of July, we had the pleasure to organise back to back trips on board of the MSY Wellenreng Liveaboard in Komodo. Both trips were 9 Nights/10 Days long and started and ended in Labuan Bajo.
This time, we decided the itinerary for both trips to focus entirely in the Komodo National Park, skipping the islands of Gili Banta and Sangeang.
At 22m in length, the MSY Wellenreng is a smaller boat than the ones we normally use, however, as it has only 3 cabins, accommodating 6 passengers, and a very well designed outdoor area, it has plenty of space of everyone. All cabins are well designed and have AC plus ensuite bathroom.
The chase boat is very spacious and well designed to suit the purpose of diving and the food on board was very tasty and well presented.
There was also space inside the salon to place our big cameras and a charging station.
Both trips were led by Luca from the Underwater Tribe. Both of the Komodo trips we had less than 6 people on board. In fact we had 3 guests on the first trip and 4 on the second. This worked out quite well given the size of the boat.
Gayus a.k.a Ungke, the Divemaster on board, is a very experienced guide who learned his trade many years ago in the Lembeh Strait. As expected, he did not disappoint and could show us a great variety of critters throughout the voyage. Whether we were in the North or in the south of Komodo, Ungke found us many different kinds of frogfish and leaf scorpion fish. Thanks to his eagle eyes we saw even the tiniest hairy shrimps and in Horseshoe Bay he even found a blue ring octopus!
Manta wise, the first trip was incredible with several Manta in both the north and south areas of the park. In Manta Alley we had a very good display of manta action. Unfortunately, for the second trip we couldn’t make it to Manta Alley due to weather. During July, the action in Manta Alley is typically very good, however, the weather during this period can be inconsistent and on the second trip we a big swell that forced us to move back up north for safety reasons. Having said that, we had great Manta Dives at Karang Makassar (Manta Point in the North) so all of our guests participating in our trips had the chance to have some great Manta interactions.
On both trips we covered the best sites in the North of Komodo, including Castle/Crystal Rock, Shotgun and Golden Passage. On the second trip we had some brilliant dives at Castle and Crystal Rock, where we hooked in at the right spot facing the current and had several white tip and grey reef sharks with us during the entire dive. Towards the end of the dive we had a fusilier bait ball which was being chased by predatory Giant Trevallies.
There were many different exciting and beautiful moments underwater and on land during both trips. I cannot forget the time on the first trip when we were diving at Mauan and all of a sudden Kabir and Luca were dive bombed by 4 male mantas chasing a female and one of them almost caught her for for mating! Check the video clip below to see this action.
On the second trip it was really great to position the whole group in the perfect spot in Castle Rock and enjoy the shark action.
Another incredible moment was when we were diving Tatawa Kecil on the first trip, and Batu Bolung on the second trip, in perfect conditions with great visibility. There is nothing to compare to a great dive like these which shows the beautiful colours of the healthy coral reef in the shallows.
On both trip we made it down to Horseshoe Bay in the south of Rinca Island and had a close encounter with Komodo Dragons. We took the speed boat and went to meet the dragons on the beach. Some of us also walked on the beach. This was the first experience we had with the dragons on the trip and probably the most exciting. As usual on the last day of the trip, we trekked on land in the North of Rinca and paid a visit to the Ranger Station base. It is from here where one of the Rangers took us for a walk into the Forest and Savanah of Rinca to look for native flora and fauna.
During both trips we had the chance to hike a few hills in the Komodo National Park. We conquered the summit of Gili Lawa Darat and enjoyed the beautiful view overlooking Golden Passage and the northern bay of Komodo island. We also climbed Padar Island and watched the stunning panorama from both sides of the island. On this trip we also took advantage of the minimal light pollution in Komodo to head to land at night to photograph the starry night sky.
Both of our trips were great and we look forward to repeat these adventures in 2017. If you are interested in joining us on an adventure like this please be sure to sign up to our Newsletter and stay tuned for our upcoming trips to be announced.