While Komodo may be best-known for its huge, prehistoric lizards, the island is an exceptional dive destination offering a huge variety of super-sized marine life in vast quantities. Read on to discover why your next dive vacation should be a Komodo Liveaboard.
Komodo's dive scene can be split north and south, each side of the island offering dramatically differing dive conditions. The northern coastline borders the warm, sparkling clear waters of the Flores Sea, and offers easy diving in comfortably relaxed conditions.
The southern side of the island is where the action is, strong currents pulling cool, nutrient-rich water up to the surface to support a wealth of marine life. Here, the conditions are more challenging, and visibility can be greatly reduced by the plankton in the water. Dives are, more often than not, drift dives past dramatic underwater topography and along exciting walls full of life.
Komodo can be dived year-round, however, November through to February is rainy season which can make conditions uncomfortable at the surface. Several boats split their time between Komodo and Raja Ampat, servicing Komodo from May to October during the Raja low season.
Water temperatures can range from 66oF (19oC) in the coolest month in the south through to 86oF (30oC) during the warmest months in the north.
The nutrient-rich waters off Komodo's south coast encourage great variety and numbers and are also able to support large individual specimens. Healthy coral reefs are bursting with color, huge coral heads, and vibrant soft corals, plenty of sponges, and other filter feeders such as sea cucumbers and anemones.
This in turn provides the perfect environment for a plethora of macro such as frogfish, stargazers, spiny devilfish, leaf scorpionfish, ghost pipefish, cuttlefish, bobtail squid, bobbit worms, and pygmy seahorses. There is also the chance to spot unique critters such as ladybugs and stargazers living amongst the reef.
Above the corals, a huge variety of southeast Asian tropical fish life can be discovered, as well as schools of bumphead parrotfish, Napoleon wrasse, turtles, tuna, giant trevally, and barracuda. Komodo is also one of the best places in the world to dive with manta rays, and there are several sites where these huge filter feeders gather at cleaning stations and can be observed at close quarters.
The north side of the island also offers a variety of critter and pelagic sites, but with more of the typical Indo-Pacific reef life. Large schools of fish, reef sharks, and turtles can all be regularly spotted along healthy coral reefs.
How to Dive Komodo
Exploring Komodo by liveaboard is the best way to discover all the island's best sites, north and south. Boats tend to depart from Labuan Bajo on the nearby island of Flores, but some also depart from Bali and one-way transit itineraries are also popular. Because of this variety, trips can be anything from three to 12 nights in duration, and there is a good selection of boats to choose from, offering budget through to luxury accommodation.