Scuba diving in Komodo National Park may be one of the wildest dreams any diver can have. I have met a lot of divers that have told wonderful stories about Komodo with so much zest and intensity. Finally, the time came that I dragged myself to the paradise for divers.
Where are the Komodo Islands?
The Komodo Islands are part of the Sunda Islands archipelago in Indonesia nestled in between Bali and Lombok and Flores. The waters surrounding the Komodo National Park form part of the Coral Triangle, which contains one of the richest marine biodiversity on earth.
How do you get there?
The easiest way is to get there from Bali and to take a plane to the only airport in Labuan Bajo in Flores. The view during the flight is just breathtaking!
From Labuan Bajo, you can then catch a liveaboard or stay put and take daily dive trips. The day trips leave Labuan Bajo at 7.10am and return before 6pm.
With the raving reviews on TripAdvisor and recommendation from my Dive Master husband, I decided to book with Uber Scuba.
What are daily dive trips?
A normal day at Uber Scuba consists of 3 dive day trip or 2 dives + a viewing to see the Komodo dragons.
They choose the dive sites each day, and revolve them every 4 or 5 days (they do not offer dive and dragon trips every day so please enquire to find out about the availability), based on diver certification levels and experience as well as conditions for that day (e.g. tides and currents) to ensure that the sites are suitable for the drivers’ ability level.
To ensure the safest experience possible they have a rule that limits the groups to a maximum of 4 guests (2 buddy pairs) allocated per Divemaster/Instructor and we will match similar ability levels within the same group. Their boats carry all the essential safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, emergency oxygen, life jackets, GPS, VHF radio and many emergency exits
We were on board ‘KLM Iona’ which is 24 meters in length and 4 meters wide. With 2 large shaded areas, a dining area, two sun decks, a spacious dive deck for gearing up, a fresh water shower and a western toilet…with flush!
They have a full-service concept, from Chef’s freshly cooked food, prepared and made on board to the assistance with gearing up.
The food and drinks
There was always something to fill our stomach in between dives. They served fruits, snacks and self-service coffee and tea. Lunch was definitely heavenly.
What’s the diving like?
It’s surreal because I don’t think I have ever seen so many big fish as far as I can see. There are tons of pelagic fish in all dive sites but the major stars of the show were the giant trevallies, long solitary barracuda and huge dogtooth tuna erupting among the shoals of sardines. There is too much to feast my eyes on!
To add to this spectacle, a group of white tip sharks stayed sleeping on the bottom, and we were very lucky to see a rare black grey reef shark. A highlight of scuba diving in Komodo National Park has to be the magnificent Manta Rays, I am still amazed just thinking about them while writing now.
What also makes this spot unique is that the current is VERY strong which makes for impressive diving and I must say can be quite technical. You get used to it after a few days but I definitely felt adrenalin rush through my body during these dives. I think you need to be aware of the elements surrounding you and be able to hide behind boulders if need be to beat the current. In this respect, I completely understand that diving in Komodo is great
but it’s not for everyone. I recommend at least a good level 2.
The Komodo fame categorizes this place for being a ‘currents heaven or hell’ however this has lead to a misinterpretation of what Komodo diving offers. Komodo is not only for experienced divers. The wide variety of dive sites offered across the Komodo National Park, including new sites being discovered all the time, means that diving can be offered to all levels of diving experience. Any responsible diving operator will, of course, adjust the dive sites to suit the level and experience of their customers, conditions permitting.
The advantage of having an ocean with currents is that it carries more nutrients which brings more fish (both small and large) and can bring more action to a dive experience. However, as with currents and tides, there are times when the currents are slack (little to no current) and the advantage of the Komodo National Park is that with so many nutrients even slack current brings with it lots of exciting fauna for less experienced (or experienced) divers to enjoy!
As per other places in the world, there are dive sites where the beginners are not allowed to join as per the North but it is quite common in many diving destinations.
Uber Scuba is able to run Open Water Courses, Discovery Scuba Diving plus Advance Open Water Courses as they believe it can add value to the dive training. Not only are students spoilt with some other f most stunning dive sites it also prepares students for a variety of diving conditions worldwide!
From the comfortable boat, helpful staff, delicious food, and stunning diving organization — I can see why Uber Scuba is ranked as one of the top 10 diving centers in Komodo!