KOMODO FOCUS Labuanbajo-Labuanbajo 7 Days-6 Nights

KOMODO FOCUS

7 Days/6 Nights Labuanbajo – Labuanbajo Cruise Itinerary

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.

Sebayur Kecil

This island at the east side of Komodo National Park is a perfect spot to do our check-out dive as currents tend to be very mild here. We start the dive on a white sand patch were we can look out for blue spotted stingrays, garden eels and other sand inhabitants. Continuing to the east the reef gets into a beautiful hard coral wall. Leaf scorpionfishes, reef octopus and morey eels are only a few of the inhabitants of this site.

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.

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.

Wainilo

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. Different types of nudibranch, frogfishes, harlequin shrimps and even wheedy rhinophias have been seen here.

Day 3 Walk with dragons/Middle Area (3 dives)

Loh Buaya (walk with dragons)

Your day will begin with an exciting visit to Komodo National Park where you will be able to take a stroll with the famous dragon! Take a look at our Komodo Dragon photo album here. As you walk along the paths, also stay on the lookout for deer, wild boar and birds in addition to the giant lizards. After the walk we move to the middle area of Komodo National Park.

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.

Siaba Besar

This spot is a nice combination with a white sand area where we can find some great critters as frogfishes, ghost pipefishes, devil scorpionfishes, upside down jellyfish and a big amount of flounders. On the hard coral area watch out for big green turtles, leaf scorpionfishes and pajama cardinalfishes.

Siaba Kecil

This little island offers a beautiful drift dive with some nice overhangs where sweetlips, snappers and trevallies can be found. After the drift we finish the dive in a pretty shallow staghorn coral area with hundreds of anthias and feeding hawksbill turtles. Have a look as well into the blue, very often we see eagle rays passing by.

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.

Day 4 Rinca Island (4 dives)

The water temperature here and in the southern dive sites over the next few days can be a little cooler dropping from the normal 28/29 degrees Celsius (82-84 Fahrenheit) to a possible 20 Celsius (68 Fahrenheit). Also due to the infinite nutrients in the water creating the amazing biodiversity in this area the visibility can sometimes be a bit greener. Neither one of these factors can spoil the amazing diving to be had in these areas.

Horseshoe Bay is in the south of Rinca Island and we spend one full day here. Here we dive the famous Cannibal Rock, one of the top ten dives sites in the world according to some diving publications. Watch dragons, wild pigs, deer and monkeys roam the beach and take a tender ride or kayak to get a closer look.

Cannibal Rock

This outstanding dive site covers a large area with sandy slopes in the north, deep mini walls in the east, a plateau full of life in the south and rocky areas in the west. The nutrient rich bay creates the most spectacular congregation of hard and soft corals in all parts of the dive site. Sponges, ascidians, sea squirts and tube anemones are abundant. A great diversity of nudibranchs can be seen here, along with frogfish, turtles, cuttlefish and other reef fish too.

Yellow Wall of Texas

As the name suggests this wall at the southern entrance to Horseshoe Bay is covered in yellow and orange soft corals. A tiny critter, the ladybug, comes in its multitudes here. Nudibranchs decorate the wall that usually has a slight current enabling you to slowly drift along and enjoy the view.

The Boulders

Inside the bay and opposite Yellow Wall of Texas there are large rocks that continue underwater to create places for large rays to rest and even sometimes nurse sharks hide in these underwater crevices. The boulders are covered in corals becoming a paradise for marine life.

Torpedo Alley

A marvelous night dive named after the pancake sized torpedo rays that can be found here. Coconut octopus, seahorses, colorful squid and the bizarre bobbit worm all live in the black volcanic sand. A very shallow dive with a maximum depth of 10m/30ft, spend time looking for all the strange inhabitants among the rocks, soft corals and in the sand.

Day 5 North Komodo (4 dives)

Two celebrated dive sites await you, just north of Gili Lawalaut Island. Crystal Rock and Castle Rock are both incredible locations, boasting the key elements for any impressive dive site: a wide variety of healthy corals covering the reef, plus tons of fish – both big and small and all sizes in between! There are more exhilarating dives in this area, Aquarium, Coral Garden, Gili Lawalaut Lighthouse and a bit more to the northeast Batu Montjo, along with good night dives on healthy hard coral reefs off the island of Gili Lawa Darat. Between the dives there is a chance to visit Gili Lawalaut Island and take a short trek to the top of the hill for a wonderful view over the Komodo-Flores channel.

Crystal Rock

The rock jutting out of the surrounding crystal clear waters explains how this site got its name. But what is truly memorable here are the large schools of fusiliers and anthias flitting over the gorgeous soft corals and impressive table corals. In the deep blue, you can also see at times large tuna, mackerel and other fish schooling around a small mound to the northwest. A lone eagle ray is often spotted here cruising in the currents.

Castle Rock

Castle Rock is a submerged pinnacle situated a kilometre further north from Crystal Rock. Its exposed location means strong currents but experienced divers will love the thrills to be had on this dive. In fact, the main action comes from watching the staggering amount of fish such as batfish, groupers, midnight snappers and impressive schools of fusiliers and surgeons whipping past. Of course, divers aren’t the only ones interested in the huge amount of fish here, which explains the giant trevally as well as whitetips, blacktips and grey reef sharks hunting around for their next meal.

Aquarium

This beautiful shallow dive site on the southwest corner of Gili Lawalaut offers a good possibility to see manta rays passing by. Big coral formations surrounded by thousands of glassfish offer amazing wide angle photography opportunities. White tip reef sharks can be found in the sandy bottom area and hawksbill and green turtles can be seen along the calm flower coral reef.

Coral Garden

We start the dive in a white sandy area with stunning coral heads and big barrel sponges. Watch out for leaf scorpionfishes, hairy squat lobsters, morey eels and different types of stingrays. The reef converts into a beautiful hard coral wall where thousands of fusiliers and dozens of trevallies and snappers can be seen.

Batu Montjo

In the northwest of Komodo Island, Batu Montjo is a perfect site to dive as a third dive with a amazing formation of hard corals in the shallows. Many boulders covered with gorgonian sea fans lie in between the white sandy slopes. This combination of hard corals and gorgonian sea fans with all the fish swimming in between the coral garden makes for a perfect relaxing afternoon dive. Leaf fish, mantis shrimp, jaw fish and turtles are often seen at this site.

Gili Lawalaut Lighthouse

On the north of Gili Lawalaut there is a lighthouse at the end of a long reef. When the tide is going down the dive starts on the reef with a drift to the corner. At the corner there are big schools of batfish, snappers, surgeons with napoleon wrasse and reef sharks also hanging around.

Day 6 North Komodo (1-2 dives)

On the last full day of the cruise there will be one or two dives depending on the flight times out of Labuanbajo the next day. We will spend half the day around Gili Lawalaut. After the dives we will travel back to Labuanbajo and spend the rest of the day relaxing and preparing for our famous photo contest of the trip.

Day 7 Disembarkation in Labuanbajo

Total: 16 – 17 dives

BEST OF BORNEO Tarakan-Tarakan 8 Days-7 Nights

BEST OF BORNEO

8 Days/7 Nights Tarakan-Tarakan Cruise Itinerary

Our journey will start and end in Tarakan, located on Tarakan Island. It is one of the major cities in northern Borneo, close to the Malaysian  border from Sabah, Malaysia. Tarakan is well connected to Singapore via Balikpapan. Tarakan is also well connected to Bali and Jakarta via Balikpapan.

This 9 day, 8-Night cruise takes us between the islands and reefs rising up from the Makassar Strait. After leaving the coast of Borneo, the ocean floor becomes very deep, very soon. As we continue farther out, a number of incredible coral reefs and islands grow up to the surface from the depths. Nutrient rich currents bring up big fish from the deep into shallower waters, allowing us to see them pursuing reef fish in hope of catching a meal.

Each island has its own unique character. We can see entire schools of manta rays at Sangalaki that are drawn here to feed on plankton. As well as turtles, Derawan has elusive treasures to be found; here we search for hidden critters. Maratua hosts massive marvels, such as sharks, barracudas and more mantas! At Kakaban island, plunge into the saltwater lake full with non-stinging jellyfish in the middle of the island. Dive the incredible walls encircling the island of Kakaban. In the shallow waters encircling Samama, we scan for an abundance of macro critters, hiding in plain sight.

Day 1 Embarkation in Tarakan

Day 2 – Derawan (4 dives)

Part of the Coral triangle, Derawan Islands have one of Indonesia’s richest and diverse ocean life. Not just diversity of Cave dives, wreck dives, muck dives, drift dives, walls, plateaux. 

Old Pier

Gets its name, from you’ve guessed it; a pier! As we follow the coral slope down and work our way south and to the east along the shoreline, we can see an abundance of butterfly fish, angels, damselfish, anthias, wrasse, gobies, shrimp and nudis. Perhaps a turtle or two and the blue spotted stingrays and schooling fusiliers are for sure the highlight.

Shark Point

As we descend the coral lope that becomes a drop off. Amongst the crabs, turtles and morays, the big attraction here is the possibility of seeing some sharks along with the impressive sight of schooling jacks.

Blue Trigger Wall

This healthy coral reef slope and wall combination is home to schooling of fusiliers and blue triggerfish. As we go along this comfortable drift, what else is there to see? Batfish, gobies, blennies, shrimp, nudibranch, turtle and shark, all have a good chance to be seen here.

Tuturuga Point

This dive site, a mix of sand and coral is impressive both by day and by night. As well as the usual suspects in this area, it is special for being home to frogfish, leaf fish, scorpionfish, flathead, Blennies, dragonet, octopus and rays.

Day 3 – Kakaban (4 dives)

Kakaban is best known for its non-stinging jellyfish lake, located in the centre of the island, a short walk from the coast. Kakaban was likely uplifted during the Holocene and sea water was trapped turning the area and formed a landlocked marine lake. The water is now a mix of salt water and fresh water from the rain. The non-stinging jellyfish have lived in this lake for hundreds of years with no known predators. Around the coastline of Kakaban island we are offered a large variety of diving, including corals, large pelagic and caves.

Barracuda Point

This exhilarating drift dive takes us along a combination of slope and drop off. We can see abundance of butterfly fish, angels, damselfish, anthias, flatworm gobies and perhaps some sharks and the famous schooling barracuda.

Cabbage Point

This dive site gets its name from the generous amount of cabbage coral coating the seabed. Amongst scorpionfish, moray eels and batfish, we can marvel at schooling fusiliers that almost move almost as if they are one lifeform. We may also come across some blue spotted stingrays along the way.

The Corner

That’s right, it’s located on a corner of the island! As we drift around this mix of slope and steep drop-off along the north eastern coastline, we can see schooling fusiliers, blue spotted stingrays and some mean looking giant trevallies. What else? Butterfly, anthias, surgeon, scorpion, blennies, shrimp, nudis and turtles.

The Wall

Here we can hope to be mesmerized by a huge school of jacks.Leaffish, turtles, sharks, trevallies and tons of reef fish are all possible.

Land excursion: Danau Kakaban – Translates to ‘Kakaban Lake’. Using our tender boats to reach Kakban’s shore, we will take a short walk to the lake’s edge. Here we will snorkel and amongst four species of non-stinging jellyfish. They don’t sting because they have no predators within the lake. The topography is a mix of sand and vegetation with a maximum depth of just 23ft (7m). Here we can also see gobies, shrimp, crab, nudibranch and snakes.

Day 4 – Samana (4 dives)

About 15 min by boat from Sangalaki is another dive location, Samama, perfect for macro. We are likely to see pygmy seahorses and a lot of nudibranchs. The island has a large area of mangrove and the dive sites are all very shallow. Currents are very mild and so we can take some good, long dives. Sunlight filters onto the hard and soft corals illuminating them in a rainbow of color. Reef life is abundant with many schools of fish. Be on the lookout for blue ribbon eels at the edge of the reef. Minute pygmy seahorse can be found camouflaged in gorgonian seafans.

Days 5 – Maratua (4 dives)

Here we have the chance to see some thrilling big creatures. Some best dives include, “The Channel” and “Big Fish” which has whirling schools of barracuda, grey reef sharks, thresher sharks, masses of turtles and schooling eagle rays schooling.

The East Wall

The two pillars at this site are the remains of a Japanese watch tower after it has been bombed during the Second World War. Here we can find a huge variety of seafans and black corals. The dive starts with a gentle slope that becomes a sharp, almost vertical drop-off. The barrel drum coral here are massive in size. This dive site is also called ‘Eagle-Ray Point’, because eagle-rays are often spotted here.

The Channel

Diving at beginning high tide when the current is flowing into the lagoon. With a considerable current, we can hook onto the reef to look out for eagle rays, barracudas, groupers and sometimes even whalesharks!

Coconut Wall

The drop off takes us along the coast drifting normally in a southeasterly direction. As well as anthias, flatworms, nudis and batfish, we can see schooling snappers and perhaps some sharks and majestic eagle rays.

Lighthouse

Here the drop-off slopes to a sandy bottom. The current here is mild and we can see a big school of batfish and sometimes leopard sharks. In the shallows we can see schools of of grouper and red snapper.

Paradise 123

Along this coral slope we can see…fusilier, sweetlips, butterfly, angel, grouper, damselfish, anthias, batfish, scorpion, blennies, shrimp, crab, nudibranch, turtles, rays and maybe black tipped reef sharks. What would be the ultimate treat to see here? To meet a thresher shark or two!

Kehedaeng

Here along this beautiful fringing coral reef we have the chance to see: Fusilier, Butterfly, Angel, Grouper, Damselfish, Anthias, Scorpion, Blennies, Shrimp, Crab, Nudibranch, Turtle and even Sharks!

Turtle Traffic

Love green sea turtles? This dive is for you! Maybe we can see up to 30 on just one dive. Here we can experience a relaxing drift dive. We also have the chance to see small groups of barracudas, jackfish and stingrays.. Being mindful to look out for critters on the reef. This location is beautiful for macro photography.

Land excursion: Goa Halo Tabung, Maratua Island – We use our tender boats to reach the southwest coast of Maratua where we hop off onto a wooden bridge. We then walk a short half mile to Goa Halo Tabunge (meaning Halo Tube Cave). We are met with beautiful, turquoise, still water which we can enter using steps on the low side of the pool and begin our swim through the cave. Sea water enters through the crevices of the cave, which is why the water here is salty.

Donning snorkeling equipment and buoys, we can enjoy an easy and relaxing float through this tunnel-like cave. Surrounded by the chirping crickets, luscious greenery and tranquil atmosphere, this is a moment to savour.

Days 6/7 Sangalaki (7 dives)

This area is famous for the large population of turtles and manta rays year round and guests will frequently see them feeding. The island has a turtle nursery run by the local government which can be visited. Whale sharks are frequently seen off the coast of the island.

Sandy Ridge

Macro lovers are in for a treat right here. Nudibranch, sea slug, flat worms, and other small critters galore! Butterfly fish, angel fish, and sweet lips are always resident at this site.

Turtle Town

We can expect to find…turtles! As well as unexpected surprises. Napoleon wrasse and cuttlefish. This reef is full of butterfly fish, banner fish, angel fish, surgeon fish, fusiliers, trevally, sweet lips, moorish idol, damsel fish and much more. Paradise for macro lovers too! It’s also a great spot for night dives.

Coral Garden Sangalaki

Here we dive an extremely beautiful and healthy coral reef. We can find a real variety of interesting creatures here including frog fish, crocodile fish, mandarin fish, butterfly fish, angelfish, and mantis shrimp. For those who enjoy macro, we can find tiny critters such as anemone shrimps, coral crabs and sea fan crabs.

Manta Run

Manta rays will rise up from the deeper water, and then after reaching the surface, they will circle around in order to feed on plankton. Manta rays are more often seen during the afternoon. This diving spot has a good reef, good visibility and a wide variety of reef fish.

Manta Parade

As the name suggests, we are very likely to meet a number of mantas here. It’s also a great place for snorkeling with manta ray here as they rise to the surface. Here, mantas are mostly seen from morning to noon. Coral reefs in this area are patchy and here we can find huge schools of fusiliers and surgeon fish. Various gobies and ghost pipe fish can also be found here. If we are lucky, we can also find leopard sharks here!

Eel ridge

This sandy bottomed dive site has a ‘field’ full of sand eel/ghost eel. A very different and surreal diving experience! Visibility is better during the morning to noon compared to the afternoon. We can be lucky to find lobster and mantis shrimp here too.

Manta Avenue

Manta rays can be found swimming on the surface during morning to noon. It is a shallow diving/snorkeling site, with a beautifully healthy reef. Here we swim with butterfly fish, angel fish, surgeon fish, and fusiliers. There’s also the manta beauty salon located here…a secret manta cleaning station, where mantas get cleaned by cleaner fish. The manta will swim gracefully, circling around whilst we enjoy the beautiful underwater scenery.

Day 8 Disembarkation in Tarakan

Total dives: 23