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

Special MANTA Cruises with Dr Andrea Marshall

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

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 with Andrea Marshall

    16 ~ 27 July 2016

    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! So 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.

    Embark on this dive adventure from the port of Labuanbajo in west Flores. Join marine biologist and 'Queen of Mantas' Dr Andrea Marshall, who will be offering regular talks for guests; sharing her insights and vast experiences of studying and diving with ocean giants - especially those we encounter in these incredible waters of central Nusa Tengara, at the very heart of the Coral Triangle.

    Divers keen on coral reefs will be amazed at the range of corals here - from soft to hard and in warm to temperate waters - while those seeking out schooling fish need look no further than the thrilling current dives of Gili Lawa Laut. If it's pelagics and ocean giants you're after, then pack your wide angle lens for the resident mantas and sharks but keep a watch for passing dolphins, whales and mola mola. 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 many more!

    As well as great diving, the topside scenery is also stunning; and of course you'll get a chance to meet the world's most famous 'living dinosaur' - the Komodo Dragon!

    We're delighted that Dr Andrea Marshall (Queen of Mantas) will be 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 KOMODO.


    Set sail from Labuanbajo in west Flores on a 12-day/11-night cruise, to explore all the famous dive sites of Komodo (ending at the port of Bima, on the eastern coast of the island Sumbawa). The Komodo National Park offers excellent muck diving, but also outstanding pelagic action. Whether its nudibranchs and rhinopias you're after, or manta rays and schooling fish, this cruise really has it all.

    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.

    Along the way, dive around Moyo island, Satonda and Bima. 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.

    Currents in this area can be quite strong and we have to dive according to the tides, but with so many great sites to choose from we can always adapt the schedule for the best diving. Try something unusual at Sangeang Island as we dive in the shadow of an active volcano... feeling the hot springs bubbling up under the sand.

    In Komodo, it's all about diversity: exhilarating drift diving, interesting muck diving, encounters with pelagics (mantas, sharks, whale sharks, sunfish), macro attractions (pygmy seahorses, blue-ringed octopus, frogfish, ghost pipefish), shallow reefs, walls, pinnacles, seamounts, pristine hard/soft corals.

    In general the water temperature in the Komodo area is around 26-28+ (78-82F+) so usually a 3-5mm wetsuit is fine, but the southern dive sites in Komodo 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 "Komodo Focus (Manta)"

    12 Day/11 Night Labuanbajo-Bima Cruise

    Day 1 Embarkation in Labuanbajo

    Day 2 Komodo-Flores Channel (4 dives)

    Currents in this area can be quite strong and we have to dive according to the tides. There are many dive sites and the sites chosen will be dependent on the currents. Finish the day with a great night dive at Wainilo. Komodo is an excellent place for spotting macro critters and the reefs and corals are spectacular too. See some photos HERE.

    Takat Makassar

    This is an exhilarating drift dive along the shallow flat bottom interspersed with patches of coral reef teeming with life. There are chances to see manta rays, turtles, eagle rays and white tip and black tip reef sharks.

    Batu Bolong

    Underwater this rock is covered in a huge amount of soft and hard corals and full of fish life. In the shallows watch anemone fish and look out for turtles munching on the corals. Giant trevally, white tip reef sharks, snappers and emperor fish tend to congregate here. This site presents particularly good opportunities for both macro and wide-angle photography.

    Tatawa Besar

    This is a thrilling drift dive that starts off from the northwestern tip of Tatawa and continues down the western side towards 15 to 20 meters of depth. The surrounding fish life is profuse and you will see an endless field of stunning orange soft corals as you glide along. Swim past coral heads inhabited by schools of sweetlips and batfish and look out for turtles feeding on the reef. Mantas have been encountered here as well.

    Tatawa Kecil

    The West side of this small rocky outcrop presents a fantastic underwater terrain with enormous slabs of rock that have been worn down to form channels, canyons, caves and swim-throughs. On the north plateau crocodile fish lie on the scenic reef among a whole host of reef fish and schooling fusiliers.

    Batu Tengah

    This dive site is located in the middle of the Komodo National Park, 12 nautical miles to the north and 12 nautical miles to the south. The translation of Batu = Rock, Tengah = Middle. With a slope to the east of the site and a coral garden to the west Batu Tangah is a beautiful site where we often get to see turtles, cuttlefish and juvenile white tip reef sharks that hide under the table corals among the hard coral garden. Napoleon wrasse and big groups of snapper swimming on the slope with all the colourful decoration of the soft coral make Batu Tengah a high quality dive site.


    This night dive is situated off the north of Rinca Island. In the shallows, the hard coral reef is home to many different critters, including juvenile harlequin sweetlips and batfish. Away from the reef, the sandy slope is scattered with pulsing soft corals that hide demon stingers and starry night octopus, plus a moray eel that has not yet been classified by scientists and is only found here in Wainilo.

    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.

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

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