Meet the mantas and other megafauna of Indonesia on our 8, 11 or 13-night

Special MANTA & MEGAFAUNA Cruises with Dr Andrea Marshall

2014 Alor & Komodo 13N Cruise: Embark MAUMERE, 5 May 2014 - Disembark LABUANBAJO, 18 May 2014

Andrea Marshall Biography


Educated in the USA and Australia, Andrea now lives permanently in Africa spearheading the conservation efforts of manta rays in Mozambique.

Andrea's PhD research (conducted through the University of Queensland), on the population ecology of manta rays, was the first ever doctoral thesis to be completed on these enigmatic animals.

Her recent discovery of a new giant species of manta ray in 2008 was one of the largest new species to have been described by any scientist in the last 50 years.

She is known as the Queen of Mantas for her outstanding contribution towards a greater understanding of (and protection for) these gentle giants.

MANTA NEWS: In March 2013, at the CITES plenary session on listing sharks and mantas, oceanic white-tip sharks, 3 hammerhead species, porbeagle sharks, sawfish and MANTAS were all protected under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention)! The Bahamas supported the listing, recognizing sharks are worth more alive than dead by citing over 80 million US dollars in tourism. Liberia supported the proposal and asked for CITES help in its waters, citing concerns over policing its 560km of coastal waters with only 1 coast guard! The Maldives delegate said; "in 2011 we banned shark and manta ray catches because they are worth more when conserved via alternative livelihoods like ecotourism".

Regarding the CITES results, Dr Andrea Marshall said (via HER BLOG); "these iconic marine giants have made history again. This time not with the marvels of their biology, with their feats of endurance, or even with their unparalleled grace and beauty, this time they have made history as a trendsetter in a new age of ocean conservation."

Did you know? "The different species of manta rays have very different distributions, however ... the two Manta species are sympatric in a few locations around the globe including Mozambique, Hawaii, and Indonesia but at most of these locations, geographical separation, fine-scale habitat use, or seasonal movement patterns typically keep them from coming in contact with one another."

  • Find out more about Dr Marshall, her work at the foundation and the megafauna she studies, at HTTP://MarineMegafauna.ORG
  • Keep up to date with this specific trip at our FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

  • Dive KOMODO and ALOR with Andrea Marshall

    5 ~ 18 May 2014



    On this trip, not only do you visit some of the most stunning dive sites in the world - with some of the greatest diversity in terms of coral and fish life - but you’ll also be diving in a great location for ocean megafauna and we have tailored this trip to prioritize opportunities to dive and snorkel with Indonesia’s pelagic creatures; such as mantas, whales, dolphins and the elusive mola mola (sun fish); all of which we hope to see (or even dive with) during this trip.

    Start your journey at the port of Maumere (on the northern coast of east Flores Island) roughly 430 nautical miles east of Bali in East Nusa Tenggara province (Nusa Tenggara Timur) - in the Lesser Sunda Islands. Alor and Flores offer some of the best kept secrets for diving in paradise; with an amazing range of corals - from soft to hard and in warm to temperate waters. Then dive one of the ‘new 7 wonders of nature’ - Komodo National Park - which offers truly diverse diving conitions; from sheer cliff walls, to pinnacles, sandy flat bottoms, underwater plateaus, slopes, caves, swim - throughs and channels; all with differing colours, sizes and types of both hard and soft corals.

    The Alor and Komodo dive sites are both popular with schooling fish, pelagics and ocean giants. If you also fancy some muck diving, then get your macro lens ready for truly unbelievable critters such as ornate ghost pipefish, pygmy seahorses, rare clown frogfish, weird and wonderful nudibranchs (if lucky, the ridiculously cute Pikachu nudi), blue-ringed octopus, pipefish, scorpion leaf fish, coleman shrimp, boxer crabs, zebra crabs and hopefully the ‘holy grail’ of critters; the beautiful and rare rhinopias.

    As well as great diving, the topside scenery is also stunning; look out for the famous Pura Island villagers splashing out of their wooden dugout canoes and diving underwater with home-made goggles fashioned from wood and glass bottles, plus Palau Komba (the volcano known locally as the fire-breathing monster living in the middle of the ocean) and of course the most famous ‘living dinosaur’ - the Komodo Dragon!

    We're delighted that Dr Andrea Marshall (Queen of Mantas) will be offering regular talks for guests on the cruise, sharing her insights and vast experiences of studying and diving with ocean giants. We are also pleased to announce that proceeds from this trip will also be supporting Andrea’s work at The Marine Megafauna Foundation.

    Read more about this destination at our page on DIVING ALOR or our page on DIVING KOMODO.


    CRUISE OVERVIEW

    Set sail from Maumere, on the eastern side of Flores island, for a 14-day/13-night cruise, to explore all the famous dive sites of Komodo, ending at the port of Labuanbajo in west Flores. This is a special cruise, not only because we are joined by megafauna expert Dr Marshal, but we also visit 2 stunning destinations for the price of 1, as we cruise to both of the Nusa Tengara destinations; Komodo and Alor!

    Nusa Tengara is a very special dive destination, as it offers many untouched and unexplored dive sites with peaceful island villages during surface intervals. West Nusa Tengara is part of the Lesser Sunda islands, in the east of the Indonesia archipelago. The West Nusa Tenggara or 'Nusa Tenggara Barat' area includes Lombok (a peaceful and increasingly popular alternative to Bali) and Sumbawa. The East Nusa Tenggara or 'Nusa Tenggara Timur' area features Flores (in Komodo National Park), the Alor archipelago (known for its world-class diving against a backdrop of steaming volcanoes), Sumba (a rugged and remote but very beautiful island) and also the Solor archipelago, the Sawu Islands and West Timor.

    Explore sites east of Flores island and the Pantar Strait, as your discover the magic of Alor - one of the best kept secrets for diving in paradise. This region is home to a world record, established when a scientific expedition recorded 1,200 species of fish, including some new to science, all found in Maumere Bay alone!

    Meet the famous Pura Island villagers splash out of their wooden dugout canoes and dive underwater with home-made goggles fashioned from wood and glass bottles. See the impressive Palau Komba (the volcano known locally as the fire-breathing monster living in the middle of the ocean), which erupts every 5-20 minutes – so you are pretty much guaranteed to see the awe-inspiring sight of molten lava creeping down the mountainside and flowing into the sea. Take time out of diving for some land excursions here; trekking through the park to find 'Varanus Riungensis' (another giant lizard - slightly smaller and brighter than its cousin on Komodo) or visit the traditional village of Bena (where the population has maintained their original way of life - featuring buildings in keeping with their ancient customs).

    Relax as we cruise through the Komodo-Flores channel. Two popular sites at Gili Lawa Laut, called Crystal Rock and Castle Rock, will offer opportunities for critter spotting as well as big fish action. In fact, the dive site of Castle Rock is a nice opportunity to try out a 'reef-hook' dive as you secure yourself to the rock and float in the current, watching the schooling fish and predator/prey action! Next, dive around Rinca island and head on land to meet the Komodo dragons.

    In Komodo, it's all about diversity: exhilarating drift diving, interesting muck diving, encounters with pelagics, macro attractions, shallow reefs, walls, pinnacles, seamounts, pristine hard/soft corals. This famous dive destination is located within the Coral Triangle, an area that boasts the world's highest marine biodiversity. Situated 200 nautical miles east of Bali, in the Lesser Sunda Islands, the Komodo National Park has a total land area of 75,000 hectares and encompasses a number of islands, the largest of which is Komodo (34,000 hectares). A total of 112,500 hectares of the surrounding waters is also under the jurisdiction of the park rangers, allowing for the protection of over 1,000 species of fish and hundreds of different corals.

    Komodo's dive sites stretch from the warm waters of the Flores Sea in the north to the chillier waters down south in the Indian Ocean and vary from gentle coral slopes to heart-pounding adrenaline thrill rides. The underwater terrain presents many contrasts as well, with sheer cliff walls, pinnacles, sandy flat bottoms, underwater plateaus, slopes, caves, swim - throughs, channels, all with differing colours, sizes and types of both hard and soft corals.

    The Alor and Komodo dive sites are both popular with schooling fish, pelagics and ocean giants. If you also fancy some muck diving, then get your macro lens ready for truly unbelievable critters such as ornate ghost pipefish, pygmy seahorses, rare clown frogfish, weird and wonderful nudibranchs (if lucky, the ridiculously cute Pikachu nudi), blue-ringed octopus, pipefish, scorpion leaf fish, coleman shrimp, boxer crabs, zebra crabs and hopefully the ‘holy grail’ of critters; the beautiful and rare rhinopias.

    Typically, the average temperature range in the Alor and Flores area is around 26-28+ (78-82F+) so usually a 3-5mm wetsuit is fine. For the Komodo part of the trip, the southern dive sites can drop down to 24-26C (75-78F) so some guests prefer a 5mm with hood. For repetitive diving days you may start to notice the cooler thermoclines more than usual, so prefer to wear a slightly thicker wetsuit and/or a hood, but usually 5mm is sufficient. We don't recommend gloves as this can encourage divers to touch corals or delicate reef areas, but for night dives, where you could be more likely to bump into fire coral etc (or the 2 days of diving in south Komodo), many divers do prefer earning a full length suit and hood/gloves.


    SAMPLE CRUISE ITINERARY "Alor-Komodo (Megafauna)"

    14 Day/13 Night Maumere-Labuanbajo Cruise


    Day 1 Embarkation in Maumere


    Upon embarkation we look out for whales in the bay of Maumere before heading east to Adonara Island.

    Day 2 Bacatan / Pulau Komba

    Tanjung Bacatan is a dive site situated at a sharp point (tanjung meaning corner) on the north shore of Kawula Island, within view of the Lembata and Komba volcanoes.

    The dive site consists of a wall covered in crevices and ledges, decorated in soft corals, with hard coral gardens in the shallows. At one end the wall turns into a white sandy slope, hosting many varieties of reef fish and triggerfish. A resident school of barracuda can be seen here, as well as reef sharks, tuna and large trevallies passing by.

    Visit to Pulau Komba, the volcanic island - After two dives we head to Komba Island, the volcano known locally as the "fire-breathing monster" living in the middle of the ocean. It actually erupts every 5-20 minutes which means that you are sure to see the awe-inspiring sight of molten lava creeping down the mountainside and flowing into the sea. Like a mythical dragon, you will also hear periodic thunderous booms as clouds of dust are blasted out from deep inside the island.

    Find other trips with Andrea Marshall:

    As with the other special megafauna cruises, Andrea will be offering regular talks for guests; sharing her insights and vast experiences of studying and diving with ocean giants.

    2016 Komodo 8N Cruise: Embark BALI, 6 July 2016 - Disembark LABUANBAJO, 14 July 2016 - CLICK HERE

    2016 Komodo Focus 11N Cruise: Embark LABUANBAJO, 16 July 2016 - Disembark BIMA, 27 July 2016 - CLICK HERE

    2017 Raja Ampat 11N Cruise: Embark SORONG, 1 February 2017 - Disembark SORONG, 12 February 2017 - CLICK HERE

    2017 Raja Ampat 11N Cruise: Embark SORONG, 14 February 2017 - Disembark SORONG, 25 February 2017 - CLICK HERE