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Definitely Divine Diving!

3days and 2 Nights Liveaboard trip, Komodo Marine Park

We left our main bags as Casa Selini and walked down to the Divine Diving shop to begin our liveaboard trip. It was a god send that we had small bags as it was another scorcher of a day. Upon reaching the shop we found we were the first people there but it wasn't long before we met our ship mates Rinze, Denise, Cobi and Remis who were from Holland as well as Micheal who was from Australia. Walking to the pier we made our introductions and took a small boat out to 'Weta Mola' (Beautiful Sister) which would be our home for the next 3 days. Labuan Bajo is not unlike other harbours around Indonesia with trash being prevalent, and with trash comes rats so which is why they normally anchor their liveaboard boats away from the harbour. Although despite this preventative measure Sarah had a visitor in the cabin on the last night that tried to eat her contact lenses!

Reaching the boat we were both excited by the look of it. We hopped onboard and were introduced to the crew which was made up of local fellas from Labuan Bajo and other villages in Flores. We also had Juvens and Niels who would be our Divemasters. Niels was the group leader and gave us the rules of the boat and where we would be sleeping. Our cabin reminded us of our room in Hong Kong but with port holes but it suited fine.

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On deck we had a chill out area with beds which is where we would be briefed for our dives and at the back would be where we would get kitted up. The dining area was situated in the middle of the boat where we step down to our rooms.

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Whilst we pulled up anchor and set off to the marine park Niels gave us some information on the Komodo Marine Park, which became a park area in the 80s to protect the Komodo Dragons and it wasn't until later that people realised how good it was underwater too!

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During the trip we would dive 3 times a day and cover the following dive sites: Sebyur Kecil, Bengah Kecil, Wainiol, Karang Makassar aka Manta Point, Batu Bolong, Lawadarat, Crystal Rock and Castle Rock.

Our first dive site was just outside the Marine Park called Sebuyur Kecil and would give the Divemasters a chance to assess the groups abilities before going into sites that had stronger currents. We teamed up with Micheal to dive with Niels and the Dutch guys went with Juvens. We later found out during the trip the Remis had done over 3000 dives so I think it was just a formality for him. We didn't have the camera with us as Niels wanted us to get used to diving here first and that there were better dive sites to photograph. Having said that it was still very good and the visibility was 15 metres and we saw plenty of marine life including a Peacock Mantis Shrimp which Sarah found. Because we had seen most of the common fish you find in the Asian seas in this dive there wasn't much to write home about.

Our second dive was at Bengah Kecil and was going to be our first encounter of the currents. The dive site had a large coral wall that we would descend near but the rock itself had currents whizzing past either side of the wall meaning it was important that we stayed behind our dive-master as they could read the waters and judge when we would have to turn back to avoid being swept away. As we pulled up to the site you could see the currents on the surface and they were quite choppy. But we were confident in our own abilities and couldn't wait it get underwater even when the scenery on the surface was as good as this during the day.

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The dive was good experience in terms of learning to follow close to the reef wall and we got to some nice fish in large groups with a few bat fish and even a turtle chomping at the coral.

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After those dives we had a nice break to take in the scenery, chat and enjoy and hearty lunch made by the excellent Jefferey (they all changed their names I think from their local ones). As part of the trip we would be anchoring near a mangrove where flying foxes bats would leave to hunt for food every evening and provide us with a great show whilst the sun set.

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After the show I joined in with the crew in a sing a long of one of the local bahasa songs. It took me a while to learn the pronunciations.

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The last dive of the day was the night dive which we did near the mangrove at a site called Wainich.

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It was an ok dive with some interesting macro diving like shrimps and crabs but unfortunately Sarah had some trouble and had to surface 25 mins into the dive. Her weight belt had slipped round making her lopsided in the water, that factored in with being disorientated in the dark, coping with a current and not being able to get the attention of the group by waving her torch, meant her breathing and so her buoyancy went out the window. It meant she was exhausted and had to re-surface after I had tried to help her sort her belt out. She decided not to continue the dive and later we talked about it and learned a bit more of how to deal with that kind of situation and be more communicative as buddies rather than relying in the Divemaster.

After a nice dinner we were ready for bed as we had an exciting day ahead of us...Manta Rays and the Komodo Dragons!!

The sleeping arrangements didn't suit me, it was too hot, so I decided to sleep on the deck. This meant I woke to a fantastic tranquil sunrise over the sea and hills which was an added bonus to an already fun first day.

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With pancakes for breakfast and eggs we were ready for our walk on Rinca island to the Komodo Dragons. This was a whole blog in it self so we will fill you in separately on this. After the Komodos we went on to do our first dive of the day at MANTA POINT!! This was turning into one of the best days we have had. Sarah and I had been waiting for this moment. We had seen wonderful things on our dives and been amazed but the big stuff we had yet to fully experience. This site, also known as Kanang Makasar

We had swapped groups so we would now be diving with Rinze and Denise, and Juvens would be our dive master.

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As soon as we had the brief we were hopeful of seeing Manta Rays but you never know when diving. But as we boated out to our descending point Sarah suddenly shouted out "Mantas!" and we watched three huge rays gliding right past us and under our boat! They were as big as the boat! You can imagine the excitement that rippled through all of us as we quickly got on our equipment keen to get in the water!

Diving with Manta Rays was breath taking! These species grow up to 7metres wide and you feel like a spec in the water next to them.

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And boy did we get next to them!

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The current was strong so you had to try to grab hold of a rock or dig a pointer in seabed and really hold on to be able to hang in the current with them. They make it look so easy, gently wafting their wings up and down to stay in one point feeding in the current. We must have seen at least 10 of these gentle giants during our dive.

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I was taking a photo of Sarah doing the Manta signal when suddenly one came out of the blue behind her, amazing! They were so close to us and not phased at all by having us join them.

When we surfaced we all just exhaled with joy and couldn't stop smiling :) It had been an incredible show and we were thankful for Juvens our Divemaster to have steered us to right place in time to experience these wonderful creatures of the seas.

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For the trip we were on cloud 9. Enjoying the scenery and sun, having fun with the other guys onboard and if you can believe it even more fantastic diving culminated in both Sarah and I agreeing that this was one of the best things we could of ever done on this trip.

And here's why...

Beautiful bays...

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More sunsets...

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Songs on Guitars...

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Silly dresses...

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Sleeping on deck....

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Carved Komodos for sale from locals who joined us via their boats (I got a bargain!)...

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And so much Marine life....imagine the bustling colourful scenes from Finding Nemo and you begin to get the picture...only its so much more beautiful and amazing that photos would do it justice (well ones we could take anyway, we had a few camera issues!).

White tip sharks...sharks and more sharks!

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Baby sharks under coral...

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Schools of fish everywhere....

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Huge balls of Fussliers that whisked around you at speeds none of us could compete with...

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On one of our last dives at Castle Rock we were lucky enough to witness a huge ball of fussliers that was so big you could swim at least 5 or 6 divers into the middle and have enough space...seriously it was as tall as a house! It was like being in an episode of Blue Planet!

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Giant Napoleon Wrasses, it was ttthhhhiiiiisssss bbbiiiigggg!...

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Fighting Moray Eels...

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Smiles all round.....

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Up next is Komodo Dragons which was part of this trip...so keep on reading and thanks for staying with us.

Stay tuned for more tales..

Dan

Posted by doyledan 20:31 Archived in Indonesia

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