SAMPLE CRUISE ITINERARY "ALOR-KOMODO"
14 Day/13 Night Maumere-Labuanbajo Cruise
Day 1 Embarkation in Maumere
Day 2 Serbete Reef and Adonara Island (3 to 4 dives)Serbete Reef
A perfect place for a checkout dive, this site has shallow reefs and sandbars. In addition to the exquisite coral gardens in the shallower areas, there are also fantastic walls that make for some nice, varied diving. Reef sharks, turtles and pygmy seahorses can all be spotted here.Adonara Island
After the first dive we will move to the southwest corner of Adonara Island, east of Flores. There is a very healthy reef in the shallows. Juvenile harlequin sweetlips and barramundi cods wiggle around inside the hard corals. Ribbon eels and numerous nudibranchs can be found between the reef and the slope that slowly drops down to around 25 metres/75 feet. At the west end of the dive site there are ledges extending along the sea floor with blue spotted stingrays, white tip reef sharks and sweetlips sheltering underneath. The eastern part is home to the ‘holy grail’ of fish the Rhinopias. We have found the weedy and paddle-flap scorpion fish here.
Day 3 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 of catfish found here the first time 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 4 Pura and Reta 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. The water temperature can be a little cooler in this area dropping from the normal 28/29 degrees Celsius (82-84 Fahrenheit) to a possible 20 Celsius (68 Fahrenheit).
Here you can see the famous Pura Island villagers splash out of their wooden dugout canoes diving underwater with homemade 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. Take a look at photos of Clown Valley and other wide-angle opportunities in Alor HERE.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.Cave Point
This dive site is on Reta Island and has beautiful vertical walls with overhangs, undercuts and a deep plateau at 25m/75ft. It is full of hard and soft corals, barrel sponges and whip corals. At the top of the wall is a coral garden teeming with reef fish. In this area you should always keep an eye out into the blue for Mola.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 5 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 villagers 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 at 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 6 Bacatan/Pulau Komba (2 dives)
Next to the north of Kawula Island there are a few possible places to dive.Takat Prau
Inside a calm bay 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 coral.Tanjung Bacatan
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 15-25 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.
Day 7 Gosong Boni/Pamana (2 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 8 Sebayur/Sabolan (2-3 dives)
Enjoy your first two to three dives in the north east of Komodo National Park.Sabolan Island
At Sabolan Island we can find big sea fans with pygmies and a resident school of bumphead parrotfish. There is a ridge extending out into the deep, on the way across look for the garden eels in the sandy patches. You may see turtles feeding on the colourful soft corals there. The shallow coral garden is impressive with huge leather corals where there might be cuttlefish hiding out.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.Sebayur Island
This 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. Various nudibranchs, lionfish and moray eels make the wall their home. In the shallows the hard corals are decorated with anthias and we often find large cuttlefish and juvenile bicolour parrotfish. On the night dive look for Spanish dancers, crocodile fish and bobtail squid.
Day 9 Walk with dragons/Padar Island (2 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 Padar Island for two 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.
After the second dive we visit one of the most incredible beaches in the Komodo National Park. A short walk brings us to the pink sandy beach. During this walk we also have the opportunity to see enjoy incredible views of the National Park with the sunset.Three Sisters
The site here are full of interesting and beautiful features, such as massive steps and huge towers of stone, all wrapped in hard and soft corals and dotted with nudibranchs, small caves and overhangs. Reef sharks and humphead parrotfish are among the bigger creatures we see in this area. There is also a towering coral spire with a small cave at the bottom, where huge lobsters are often found hiding. Look for the tiny lady bugs on the soft corals and the resident frogfish sitting in the sponges.Secret Garden
Is one of the top dive sites at Padar Island. As the name of the dive site suggests it has a beautiful coral garden of black coral along a mini wall covered with soft corals. There is a resident school of mobula rays that seem to like swimming through the dive site giving good opportunities to the divers to see them. Nudibranchs, leaf fish, frogfish and the incredible sea apples can be seen here too.
Day 10 Rinca Island (4 dives)
Horseshoe Bay is in the south of Rinca Island and we spend the whole 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. Nudbranchs 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 have 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 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 11 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 the Pink Beach area.Manta Alley
Manta Alley is located in Tora Langkoi Bay along the south coast of Komodo. The dive site in fact barely pierces the ocean’s surface at the end of a line of rock islets. 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 afternoon 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. On one side of the wall is a sloping coral reef full of life. On the other is a sandy area with healthy staghorn corals growing and providing shelter for juvenile harlequin sweetlips and mandarin fish.Loh Liang Bay
This white sand muck dive is around the corner from Pink Beach situated inside Loh Liang Bay on Komodo Island. Search for all sorts of critters here - bobtail squid, flamboyant cuttlefish, frogfish, nudibranchs, Ambon scorpion fish, cockatoo waspfish and large moray eels living in the shallow rocks.
Day 12 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 off the island of Gili Lawa Darat. Komodo is an excellent place for spotting macro critters and the reefs and corals are spectacular too. See some photos HERE.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.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 13 Komodo Gili Lawalaut (2 dives)
Spend half the day around Gili Lawalaut, with an opportunity to dive the fabulous Crystal and Castle Rock. 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.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.
After the dive we will travel closer to Labuanbajo and spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach or take a kayak around the calm waters of the bay.