It’s a remarkable position – a hothouse for evolution and house to an amazing array of underwater life. Of the 500 or so barrier species within the Indo-Pacific, Komodo has 260. It harbours a lot more than 1,000 species of fish and 70 species of sponge. Acre for acre, it is one of the very most varied barrier reef environments in the world.
My trip started on the 42m Kararu, a traditional rigged cruising vessel which serves as an acutely large liveaboard. It works from Bali, 160 miles to the west, nevertheless the journey to and from Komodo is punctuated by dive sites which are interesting in their own correct, and offer as a build-up to the world-class diving at Komodo and their neighbouring area, Rinca. My variety was the boat’s co-owner, Tony Rhodes, a Brit with an simple fashion and a knack for distinguishing near-microscopic animals. komodo day tour
On an early jump at a website called Mentjang Wall, we were finning along in mid-water when Tony abruptly swooped right down to the reef. I used, squinting at the scrappy spot of coral to which he was pointing. At first nothing, then I could make out a tiny brown nudibranch (of the Flabellinidae family). He had observed it from 10m out! Dubious, I wondered if he had sneakily placed it there when I wasn’t seeking, probably encouraged by Donald Pleasence’s similar secret in The Great Escape.
As I was to discover, his spotting skills were quite genuine. While there are plenty of sizeable creatures to marvel at in Indonesia, the area does tend to entice divers with a penchant for the diminutive. These are rich seas, and there’s a perpetual struggle for place on the reefs. After only a couple of days, your eyes become familiar with the environment, to ensure that semi-camouflaged critters start to reveal themselves. Professional plunge books become perfectly attuned to the sort of diving.
Komodo National Park comprises the seas about the islands of Komodo, Rinca and Padar, and some smaller islands. It’s a two-wetsuit journey: on the upper part of the islands, the water is warm, and many people jump comfortably with the thinnest of skins. Cool, nutrient-rich upwellings dominate on the southern part, where 5mm matches, hoods and gloves are the get of the day.
These islands behave like a dam, holding back the hotter Pacific waters, which are then forced through different straits, producing a pressure emptiness across the park’s southern side. This enables cool water from the Sumba Beach to increase up, effectively changing the water eliminated by the currents at the surface. With the cool water comes a blossom in phytoplankton, growing the basis of Komodo’s super-charged food chain. It is a really, very special place indeed.
The results of those mad upwellings are most readily useful skilled at Horseshoe Bay on Rinca’s southern side. These are the absolute most packed reefs I have ever seen, but the payoff is reduced visibility brought on by dozens of nutrients suspended in the water. Horseshoe Bay’s popular website is a peak called Cannibal Rock (named after having a monstrous Komodo monster seen consuming one of its own sort nearby), where thick swathes of black, yellow red and crinoids jostle for space.
It’s a good place to check buoyancy abilities, since crinoids stick to neoprene like stuff; any contact whatsoever and you’ve got yourself a hitchhiker. After, after getting head-on images of an implacable lizardfish, I seemed down to locate I had acquired two featherstars detailed with clingfish and crinoid shrimps – a whole ecosystem! I guiltily set them back on the reef.
Just outside Horseshoe Bay is a fascinating site referred to as the Great Orange Wall of Texas, distinguished because of its delicate corals. Exposure here was reminiscent of British shore-diving requirements, and the coral polyps were all retracted, so I rarely saw the reef in all their glory. However, I really could appreciate the large power of the place. Nestling on the list of crinoid forest were some intriguing animals, including brightly colored beach oranges, a spectacular person in the ocean slug family. Tiny hawkfish located between the fronds of soft corals, while gobies darted around their small territories.
Evening dives were even more atmospheric. The currents significant around Cannibal Rock were a lot to cope with after black, therefore we sought out evening animals in the shallows. At first glance, the sandy expanses were without living, but a deeper inspection unveiled a wealth of nocturnal drama. Octopus each how big a child’s fist moved on the sand, extending their tentacles into microscopic holes because they hunted for suitably small prey. Every now and then, they’d withdraw their foraging limbs in suffering, having received a nip from some concealed sand-dweller.