Komodo Diving Guide

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A Lovely Planet contributors Sarah & James spent Christmas and New Year in Komodo, home to the largest land dragons in the world and thrill-seeking diving!

 

Komodo, Indonesia

We’d heard from so many people on our travels that we must go to Komodo for some crazy current dives and to swim with the Mantas. When we realised Komodo is only a one hour flight from Bali we were there in a heartbeat.

 

Who To Dive With

There are tons of dive shops that line the main streets, but diving with Wicked Diving was a no brainer for us. We had joined their liveaboard before in Thailand, (check out our article).

 

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

Wicked Diving liveaboard boat

 

Diving In Komodo

Komodo can have VERY strong currents especially around a full moon which affects the water flows. We would suggest being a confident or experienced diver to really experience what Komodo has to offer, but of course, any level of diver can dive here too.

Dive site “The Cauldron” can catapult you like superman through the water. Sometimes you’ll need to hook into a rock (with a reef hook) to hold your position otherwise go with the current and enjoy the ride.

 

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

Flying like Superman in wild currents

 

Mantas tend to hang out in strong currents whilst they are cleaned by smaller fish so it’s your best chance of seeing them. No currents often mean no Mantas.

Encounters can happen at any time though, and take you by surprise. One manta was enjoying the bubbles so much that he sat on Sarah’s head, a very funny site to see.

 

 

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

Huge Manta Ray passes over

 

Dive site “Manta Point” was AMAZING! We saw 26 of these stunning creatures on ONE dive!
During peak season May – October the visibility is a good 20m+, but you’ll see fewer mantas. If mantas are what you are here to see, then go in October – December.

 

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

Beautiful Manta Rays

 

There’s nothing quite like an encounter with the Manta’s as they are incredibly curious and reach up to 5 meters. It’s something you won’t forget easily!

 

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

 

Beautiful sunsets, sparkling stars at night and dive sites on your doorstep really make staying on a liveaboard the best way to experience Komodo.

 

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

No filter needed for beautiful sunsets in Komodo

 

One reason we love diving with Wicked Diving is that they are very environmentally conscious and we believe strongly in protecting our oceans and the marine life in it. We were very happy when we stopped off at an island for a beach clean and a sunset beer!

 

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

Helping out the environment with beach clean-ups

 

Komodo Dragons

Unique to the Komodo area, you can see the largest Dragons to still walk this earth.

We joined XPirates Camp, which has an awesome ‘shipwrecked’ feel on Sebayur Island within the National Park. Basic but comfy cabins overlook the private beach making it a really great alternative stay from the main town of Labuan Bajo.

 

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

XPirates Dive Camp

 

Here you can arrange trips, snorkel their house reef and even learn to dive.

 

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

XPirates dive camp has an awesome shipwrecked theme

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

Luckily there aren’t any dragons on this island…phew!

 

A walk around Komodo and Rinca islands is where you’ll find them. In our opinion, Rinca was much better than Komodo Island, as it is much quieter.

 

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

Komodo dragons taking a break in the heat

 

The Komodo Dragons can run and swim but are unlikely to move too quickly once fed as they are quite lazy. So don’t worry too much, but always stay with your guide….just in case. Most of the ones we saw barely moved, but meant we could get a good look at these awesome creatures.

 

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

Komodo dragon camouflaged at Rinca island

 

 

Our boat trip also visited Pink Beach and snorkelling spots as part of our itinerary, which was a nice stop between island trekking and diving.

 

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

Boat life with X Pirates Dive Camp

 

If you don’t scuba dive you can still see the Manta’s as they play and circle below in only 6m of water in a fantastic snorkelling spot.

 

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

Curious Mantas circle around at a cleaning station

 

Incredibly curious, they swam up to many of us, returning again and again for another look.
It’s important to judge the situation though. If the mantas seem spooked or unsettled give them more space and respect their habitat.

 

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

James Freediving to say hello to the Mantas

 

Where To Stay

If you are staying at Labuan Bajo we recommend Wae Molas. It has a great pool, great food and they even have movie nights showing awesome documentaries such as Blue Planet and other ocean-related films.

 

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

Wae Molas cafe and hotel

 

Getting There

A well connected 1-hour flight from Bali to Labuan Bajo airport means it’s a great side trip if you’re visiting Bali too.

 

Diving Komodo - A Lovely Planet - Sarah & James

Flying over the beauty below

 

 

When To Go

Peak season is between May – October and is very busy, so just outside of these months would be our recommended time to go. We were there at the tail end of the dive season in December, with some operators closing completely from Christmas to March because of rough seas.

Thank you Wicked Diving and XPirates Camp for hosting A Lovely Planet.

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