In the land of dragons, manta rays rule the underwater world. Komodo National Park is a liveaboard haven full of drift dives and pelagic species.
Komodo National Park consists of 26 small islands and 3 major islands off the coast of Flores. Labuan Bajo is the only major city center nearby. This base of operations is still hours from Komodo Island and further still from the region’s best dive sites. It’s safe to assume that Komodo is best explored by liveaboard. Most of the liveaboard cruises last between 5 and 10 nights.
Diviac offers dozens of liveaboards sailing in Komodo, suitable to every budget and need. Many of these boats split their time between Komodo and Raja Ampat, but some remain in Komodo year-round.
The most important decision to make when choosing a liveaboard in Komodo is: sailboat or steel-hulled yacht?
The Indo Siren and the Tiger Blue are great examples of traditional, gaff-rigged Phinisi sailboats. These ships are luxurious in their wooden style but also tend to be a bit noisy. Alternatively, the MV White Manta and the Mermaid Fleet represent steel-hulled yachts. Quick and stable, these ships are great for divers who suffer seasickness.
Komodo is known to the world for its dragons, but its underwater life make it a mecco for scuba divers as well. Most importantly, Komodo is home to dozens of manta rays. On most liveaboard trips, you’ll be able to snorkel or scuba dive with these graceful creatures. You might also be able to check off other pelagic species from your list, including whitetip and grey reef sharks, eagle rays and dogtooth tuna.
Komodo National Park is home to a mix of underwater environments. In many areas, you’ll drift dive over sandy bottoms, sand dunes or rocky corals formed by years of volcanic activity. At other locations, you might see beds of colorful soft corals and pinnacles which attract all number of pelagic species. Wall dives and bays can also form a hideaway for fascinating macro species and a break from challenging currents.
The underwater conditions in Komodo can be challenging with heavy and sometimes unexpected currents. It is therefore recommended that only experienced divers attempt liveaboard diving in Komodo.
BEST TIME TO GO
April to August
The best time to dive in Komodo is from April to August.
These are the best months only because the most liveaboards operate in the area at this time. Otherwise, diving in Komodo is great year-round. April to November is considered the dry season. April, the month following the rainy season, has the best pelagic action and underwater conditions.
On average, the water temperatures is cooler, reaching just 68 to 77°F (20 to 25°C) in the south and 77 to 82°F (25 to 28°C) in the north. Furthermore, July and August have the coldest sea temperatures and the most nutrient-rich waters.
Visibility in Komodo can vary greatly. Sites closer to the major islands and Labuan Bajo in Flores tend to have visibility at about 50 feet (15m) while remote sites only reachable by liveaboard can boast visibility of 100 feet (30m) or more.
Finally, surface conditions can also change dramatically based on month or geographical location. Northern dive sites can have rough surface conditions from January to March whereas southern dive sites fall victim to rough surface conditions from July to August.
The departure port for Komodo liveaboards is most often Labuan Bajo. Many of the dive safari crews will pick you up at the airport and take you directly to the port. If you need to arrange your own transportation, taxis can easily be found outside the gate.
Labuan Bajo has one domestic airport, namely Labuan Bajo Airport. Unfortunately, arranging domestic air travel from outside of Indonesia is nearly impossible. It’s best to use a travel agent in order to book the short flight from either Jakarta or Denpasar in Bali.