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Scuba Diving in Komodo

Anyone for an underwater jacuzzi? At Black Forest,  one of the Sangeang Island dive sites, that’s exactly what you get!

The black, volcanic sand is warm to the touch, bubbles are popping out of the sand, and the water is quite warm. It’s actually rather eery knowing that there is an active volcano, Gunung Api, rising to almost 2000m above, and dropping off far below you. Of course, you are diving around Komodo, and your time here is going to be one of memorable experiences.

Whether you have come to see pelagics, or you are into muck-diving, or both? By the time you finish diving in this part of the Indonesian archipelago, you have seen it all. Nudibranchs which can’t be found anywhere else, sea apples, mantas, and if you are lucky, mola-mola. Frogfish, so well camoflaged in sponges of the same colour, that it’s almost impossible to see them.

Batfish, scorpionfish, long and short nosed hawkfish, sharks, pigmy seahorses, and incredibly beautiful soft coral – the list goes on and on. Of course diving here is not without it’s challenges, and is neither for beginners nor for the faint-hearted. The currents can be quite ferocious and unpredictable, and  it’s a good idea to carry a reef hook with you. Glittering water just below you, warns that you are about to enter a thermocline which, no doubt, will make you shiver in your shorty. The water temperature can drop from around 27C to 19C or less, but luckily these “freezing” conditions usually don’t last too long. Back on your boat, you can warm up with a hot chocolate and a snack, review your pics from the last dive, and anticipate what the next dive will bring.

In my opinion diving around Komodo is best done from one of the many liveaboard boats which ply these waters. However, if you prefer land based diving, there are a number of well established dive operations in Labuan Bajo which offer dive day trips to a good variety of dive sites. Divers who would like to see something of Flores, as well as diving here, should maybe consider visiting Maumere on the North-East Coast of the island. Getting to Maumere takes you through some breath-taking landscape, and once you have arrived you can also do some diving around this part of the island. A couple of local dive resorts, one a short way from the town, offer dive day trips.