The Brief Report
Here’s a brief report of the club trip around Komodo Island, Indonesia in August 2012. Stay tuned for a more in depth report in a few weeks.
In the last two weeks in August, 14 dive club members (Adrian, Andrew, Allan, Bobby, John, Julie, Kay, Mike, Natalie, Peter, Ros, Sheila, Sheree and Steve) enjoyed a wonderful journey on board the Pa Siren traveling around Komodo Island and surrounding islands.
The boat left Bima on 21 August and we traveled to Sangeang Island, Gili Banta, Komodo Island, Gili Lawa Laut, Rinca Island and back, returning to Bima on August 31. Each day there were 3 to 4 dives on offer, with the last dive being either a sunset dive or a night dive. It was possible to do 32 dives for the trip and only Andrew and Sheree did all of them.
The diving was fantastic and we saw a vast array of creatures from tiny shrimp and crabs living on sea urchins up to large manta rays swimming past like large birds. The water temperatures ranged from 28C in the north to 23C in the south, which was a bit chilly and required extra layers. Most of the dives were very easy with either no current or riding the current. A couple of dives the current was very strong. Julie did her 100th dive on the trip and Sheree did her 50th and then some.
The boat itself was luxurious from the well appointed cabins, each with their own TV on which you could watch movies or review your photos, to the stately saloon, albeit with low ceiling which was a bit of a hazard at night. The covered dining area was on the back deck and there was a wonderful sun deck over the salon. The dive deck was both roomy and well equipped. I don’t think anyone can complain about any aspect of the boat, except perhaps for the lack of cup holders in the showers on the main deck. There was no-where to put your beer while taking a shower after the last dive of the day. The beer was free but you could only drink it after the last dive of the day.
The crew were fabulous. The dive crew of Thomas, Alan and Francesco took us on all the dives, pointing out critters along the way. Nicole, who was learning the ropes for hosting dives, came a long on most dives and was a lot of fun. Our host Clez made sure everything was as it should be and was there with drinks as we reboarded the boat after each and every dive. Rain took great care of the rooms and I believe her massages were divine. Fendi and Rahman did a terrific job driving the dinghies and helping us in and out for the dives – Fendi was particularly fast in Dinghy 2. Jimy analyised our tanks before each dive (we were all diving on Nitrox). Daeng, the captain got us everywhere we needed to be with minimal rocking, much to Ros’ relief and Sam looked after everything mechanical.
I’ve left Andri and Defli, the chefs, to last, not because they weren’t deserving but more so I can rave about just how good the food was. Each and every meal was tantalising and my mouth is watering just thinking about them. Each meal was introduced with an entertaining briefing by Andri explaining each and every dish, including the special from Bima, steamed rice, and whether the dish was spicy or not so spicy. Garlic featured in a lot the dishes, and who doesn’t love garlic?
We were woken each morning at around 7am (boat time) by the Italian tenor, Francesco, singing an aria or similar. After a light breakfast we’d do our first dive followed by a cooked breakfast, including various egg dishes prepared personally for us by Andri. After breakfast we’d do the second dive of the day and this was followed by lunch and a bit of a break. The afternoon dive usually started between 1:45 and 2:30pm and that was followed by snacks. If there was a late dive we hit the water as the Sun was setting or just after. Andri’s wonderful dinners followed the late dive.
One morning we went to the see the Komodo dragons on Rinca Island. They were in a park with rangers but were essentially wild. We were able to get quite close to them.
An afternoon we went on a sunset walk on a small island (Gili Lawa Darut) just off Komodo Island which was an interesting change, although the hill we climbed was somewhat steep.
I think I can safely say that everyone thoroughly enjoyed the trip and had no real complaints and would jump at the chance to do it again.