14 Day/13 Night Labuanbajo-Maumere Cruise

Day 1 Embarkation in Labuanbajo

Day 2 Rinca Island (4 dives)

After embarkation the day before we head to Horseshoe Bay south of Rinca Island. 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

The nutrient rich bay creates the most spectacular congregation of hard and soft corals. Sponges, ascidians, sea squirts and tube anemones are abundant. A great diversity of nudibranchs can be seen here, along with frogfish, turtles, cuttlefish. leaf fish and other reef fish too. Due to the location of this bay and the greater nutrients, the water can be colder and the visibility a bit greener but neither one of these factors can spoil the amazing diving to be had here.

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. Nudis 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. The elusive Rhinopias has been found here before.

Torpedo Alley

A marvelous night dive named after the pancake sized torpedo rays that can be found here. Coconut octopus, seahorses, colourful squid and the bizarre bobit 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 3 Manta Alley/Pink Beach (4 dives)

Manta Alley is located on the South end of Komodo Island. After two dives looking for manta rays we head up to the middle of Komodo Island to Pink Beach.

Manta Alley

Manta Alley is located in Tora Langkoi Bay along the south coast of Komodo. It is in fact a rock islet forming part of a chain that barely pierces the ocean’s surface. As can be guessed from its name, many manta rays are known to frequent this site and it is the most popular one in Komodo for spotting them. The area can be described as a deep gully that works as a funnel when the tide changes, causing the water to rush through at speeds of up to three to four knots with the fall and rise of the tides and up to one knot even during "slack water" periods. Watch the mantas being cleaned on the North side or enter the ‘alley’ to see them hover effortlessly in the current.

Pink Beach

The simple topography makes this site an ideal sunset or night dive. A mini wall can be found in the middle of the reef, where clouds of glassfish swarm in the cracks and crevices. An abundant amount of fish life and unusual critters make their home here, including leaf scorpionfish, crocodilefish, nudibranchs and frogfish.

Day 4 Walk with dragons/Komodo-Flores Channel (2-3 dives)

Loh Liang (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! 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 into the Komodo-Flores Channel for one or two 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 off the island of Gili Lawa Darat.

Takat Makassar

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.

Day 5 Komodo-Flores Channel/Gili Lawa Laut

We can start the day with some more dives in the Komodo Flores channel before heading north to the island of Gili Lawa Laut. Crystal Rock and Castle Rock are places possessing the key elements of any good dive site: a wide variety of healthy corals covering the reef and tons of fish, both big and small and all sizes in between!

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 swarms 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.

Castle Rock

Castle Rock is another submerged mound 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 groupers, midnight snappers and impressive schools 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.

Day 6 Gili Lawa Laut

Spend the day around Gili Lawa Laut, with opportunities to dive the fabulous Crystal and Castle Rock again plus the other dive sites in this area. Between dives there is a chance to visit the island and take a short trek to the top of the hill for a wonderful view over the Komodo-Flores channel.

As well as Castle and Crystal Rock, there are two more exhilarating dives in this area, El Toro and Gili Lawa Laut Lighthouse, along with good night dives on healthy hard coral reefs. Between the dives there is a chance to visit Gili Lawa Laut Island and take a short trek to the top of the hill for a wonderful view over the Komodo-Flores channel.

El Toro

The channel between Gili Lawa Laut and Gili Darat forms a dive site with interesting topography. The dive starts with a drift along a flat rock plateaux which then drops down into the ‘bull ring’. This is a hollowed out area with a sandy bottom surrounded by walls covered in soft corals. There is a good chance to see reef sharks and sometimes manta rays play in the surface currents.

Gili Lawa Laut Lighthouse

On the north of Gili Lawa Laut 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 7 Sebayur/Sabolan (2 dives)

In the south-west of Kawula Island there is a bay with a world class muck diving site.

Enjoy two final dives in Komodo before travelling east to Pamana. Sebayur Island has a white sandy slope that turns into a mini wall. Look for leaf fish, ghost pipefish and a variety of nudis at the edge of the reef. In the shallows we often find large cuttlefish and juvenile bicolour parrotfish. At Sabolan Island we can find big sea fans with pygmies and a resident school of bumphead parrotfish. The shallow coral garden is impressive with huge leather corals and hard corals decorated with anthias.

Day 8 Gosong Boni/Pamana (2-3 dives)

Gosong Boni

To the west of Pamana shallow sand bars marked by a small lighthouse drop down into deep walls covered in sponges and sea fans. Look for small critters such as the blue ringed octopus, algae shrimp and pygmy seahorses.

Pamana Besar

Many of the dive sites around Pamana Island are characterised by walls and slopes. They have very nice coral growth, sponges, branches of soft corals and fans that act as shelters for little reef fish as well as tinier critters such as pygmies and nudibranchs. Groupers, sweetlips, scorpionfish, lobsters and much more live along the walls.

Pamana Kecil

A wonderful drop-off can be found here with a possibility to find baby reef sharks nestling in overhangs. The wall here is also covered in sea fans where the hunt for the tiny pygmy seahorses can continue. Trevally, groupers, sweetlips, batfish, nudibranchs and the usual reef inhabitants also visit this site.

Day 9 Bacatan/Pulau Komba (2 dives)

Inside a calm bay of Kawula Island there is a seamount we call Takat Prau. There is a small wooden fishing boat wrecked in the deep right next to a sea fan with pygmies. There can be schooling fusiliers here with small reef sharks patrolling the pinnacle. Leaf fish make their home in the shallows and large reef octopus are often spotted hunting in the hard corals. Tanjung Bacatan is within view of Lembata and Komba volcanoes. Tanjung means corner and the dive site is situated on a point on the north shore of Kawula island. The dive site consists of a wall covered in crevices and ledges covered in soft corals and large sponges with hard coral gardens in the shallows. At one end the wall turns into a white sandy slope hosting many varieties of reef fish and triggerfish. A resident school of barracuda can be seen here as well as turtles and maybe even large trevallies passing by.

Visit to Pulau Komba, the volcanic island

After the two morning dives we will travel north into the Flores Sea to Komba to check out one of the “fire-breathing monsters” located in the middle of the ocean. The volcano rewards visitors with a fiery spectacle every 5-20 minutes complete with the dazzling sight of molten lava flowing down the mountainside and the sound of thunderous crashes as dust clouds are blasted out from deep inside the island.

Days 10 Pura Island/Kalabahi Bay (3-4 dives)

Dives in the Alor/Pantar Strait promise a variety of thrills as the sites present a wide array of exciting possibilities, with topography ranging from dramatic shear drop-offs, spurs jutting out from the shore mingling together with shallow reefs where the light brings out the full colour of the dazzling corals covering all surfaces.

Here you can see the famous Pura Island villagers splash out of their wooden dugout canoes and dive underwater with home-made googles made out of wood and the ends of glass bottles.

During the day we will also look out for large pelagics who use the Pantar Strait as a thoroughfare. If there are any sightings of whales, dolphins or even Mola Mola we may forego a dive and head out in the tenders with snorkelling gear to see if we can have a lucky encounter.

Clown Valley

One exceptional dive site on Pura Island is probably the only place in the world where you will see this phenomenon. The entire reef is completely covered in anemones of all shapes and sizes. Enjoy a drift dive along this site and enjoy the abundant fish life, with thousands of colourful anthias and damsels dancing off the reef.

Yan Village

At Yan Village there are several wonderful spots to dive. Walls covered in sponges topped with shallow hard coral reefs where you can spot the elusive Mandarin fish to black sandy slopes where fans of macro will get their fill too. Some examples of the critters here are frogfish, weedy scorpionfish, all sorts of nudibranchs and yellow, blue and black ribbon eels.

Kalabahi Bay

Mucky Mosque and Rocky Church are two of the great muck dives we will do inside Kalabahi Bay on Alor Island. The ‘holy grail of fish’ Rhinopias can be found here, with a chance to see both the weedy and paddleflap scorpionfish. Ghost pipefish, soft coral crabs, frogfish, various octopus including the wunderpus and mimic, snake eels, sea moths, sand divers and many other remarkable creatures The only way you are likely to see stranger ones is if you do a night dive here when unimaginable ones begin foraging out of their holes.

Day 11 Visit traditional Abui tribe village/Pura Island (1-2 dives)

In the morning we will visit Takpala or Latevui village, both villages still living by their old Abui traditions. The villages will perform the Lego-Lego dance wearing traditional clothing with brass anklets that make a wonderful jingling sound as they perform. Afterwards there is an opportunity to purchase handmade ikat, woven fabrics of various colours and motifs, as well as jewellery and wooden artifacts. Take a look at our photo album of these villages here: Alor Abui Tribe.

After the village tour we will do one more dive in the muck of Kalabahi and then travel out into the Alor/Pantar Strait to Pura Island where we will do one more dive. The number of dives on this day is dependant on the weather and currents.

Day 12 Kawula Island (4 dives)

In the south-west of Kawula Island there is a bay with world class muck diving sites.

Tanjung Waiwowan

This dive site is a mixture of reef and white sandy slope full of amazing critters. Here we have another chance to see the allusive Rhinopias camouflaged in the coral slope. This is a perfect environment for different kinds of ghost pipefish including the very rare halemeda ghost pipefish. Wunderpus and blue ring octopus were spotted here before. During the night dive juvenile brown-banded bamboo sharks, Helmut flying gurnards and frogfish crawl around the darkened site. A full day can easily be spent here in order to discover all the wonderful creatures.

The Frog and Catfish

So named due to the number of giant frogfish and the huge school catfish found here the first we dived this large jetty for the local ferries. The jetty provides an excellent place for giant frogfish to laze around the concrete posts. Rhinopias, mantis shrimps, ghost pipefish, nudis and leaf fish have also been found here. Diving at this site is dependant on the local ferry schedule and permission from the authorities.

Day 13 Serbete or Tanjung Gedong (1-2 dives)

Serbete Reef

Depending on the weather we will either visit Tanjung Gedong or Serbete Reef in the waters east of Tanjung Gedong. Serbete is a site with shallow reefs and sandbars that can be distinguished by its small lighthouse. In addition to the exquisite coral gardens in the shallower areas, there are also fantastic walls that make for some nice, varied diving. The deep sections of Tanjung Gedong are beautiful with soft corals and large table corals decorating the reef. Reef sharks and groupers can be seen here.

Day 14 Disembarkation in Maumere