SAMPLE CRUISE ITINERARY "GRAND KOMODO"

12 Day/11 Night Bali-Bali Cruise


Day 1 Embarkation in Bali

Day 2 Moyo and Satonda Island

Moyo is a small island, inhabited by around 6,000 people, located in the West Nusa Tenggara province off the northern coast of Sumbawa. There are spectacular coral formations and crystal clear waters which make for great diving. Satonda Island is as famous for its fruit bats as it is for its diving. Every night around sunset, millions of bats take off from here as they head to Sumbawa to feed. There is also the opportunity for a short trek to the inland lake, along a path full of butterflies.

Angel Reef

This site lies off the west coast of Moyo and consists of a healthy coral reef with a vertical wall dropping to over 40 meters in depth. Angel Reef has huge elephant ear and barrel sponges along the wall. It is teeming with long fin bannerfish and red tooth triggerfish. Search the sea fans here for our first chance to see the Denise pygmy seahorse.

Satonda Reef

Underwater the sloping reef and sandy bottom hide a large array of critters. An afternoon dive provides a great opportunity to search for giant frogfish nestled in the sponges, or mushroom coral pipefish snaking among the fronds of the mushroom coral. Nudibranchs, pipefish, even ghost pipefish and Bargibanti pygmy seahorses are regularly seen here.

Day 3 Bima Bay

Bima is a busy port on the north-west end of Sumbawa Island. There are several dive sites to explore here, with black coral covered reefs and world class muck diving.

Tanjung Sai and Two Rivers

These two dive sites are located outside the bay leading to Bima port. The black sand slopes have patches of sea grass and halimeda coral, providing great hiding places for thorny seahorses and tiny pipehorses. Even the elusive Mimic octopus has been spotted here. The shallow hard corals are full of colour, with schooling anthias sprayed like confetti over the reef.

Unusual Suspects

This muck dive is full of weird and wonderful critters. Starting in the south, the black sand is covered in sponges with frogfish, and ghost pipefish are a regular find. Continuing north, huge soft corals grow out of the sand and shelter beautiful cowries. Thorny seahorses, seamoths, stonefish and even wonderpuss and harlequin shrimps have all been found here.

Day 4 Gili Lawa Laut / Tatawa Besar / Rinca Island

Two celebrated dive sites await you, just north of Gili Lawa Laut Island. Crystal Rock and Castle Rock are both incredible locations, boasting the key elements for any impressive dive site: a wide variety of healthy corals covering the reef, plus tons of fish - both big and small and all sizes in between! The next dive is on the beautiful reef at Tatawa Besar Island, in the famous Komodo-Flores channel. Finish the day with a great night dive off Rinca Island.

Crystal Rock

The rock jutting out of the surrounding crystal clear waters explains how this site got its name. What makes this an unforgettable dive, however, are the large swarms of fusiliers and anthias flitting over the gorgeous soft corals and impressive table corals. In the deep blue, look out for large tuna and mackerel, plus fish schooling around a small mound to the northwest.

Castle Rock

Castle Rock is another submerged mound situated a kilometre further north of Crystal Rock. Its exposed location can mean strong currents, but experienced divers will love the thrill of this dive. In fact, the main action comes from watching the staggering amount of fish life whipping past, such as groupers, midnight snappers and impressive schools. Of course, divers aren’t the only ones interested in the huge numbers of fish here, so expect to see giant trevally, whitetips, blacktips and grey reef sharks hunting around for their next meal.

Tatawa Besar

This is a thrilling drift dive, starting at the north-western tip of Tatawa and continuing down the western side, reaching about 15 to 20 meters of depth. The fish life here is abundant 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.

Wainilo

This night dive is situated off the north of Rinca Island. In the shallows, the hard coral reef is home to many different critters, including juvenile harlequin sweetlips and batfish. Away from the reef, the sandy slope is scattered with pulsing soft corals which hide demon stingers and starry night octopus, plus a moray eel which has not yet been classified by scientists and is only found here in Wainilo.

Day 5 Loh Liang (walk with dragons) / Rinca Island

Loh Liang (walk with dragons)

Your day begins with an exciting visit to Loh Liang Komodo National Park, as you take a stroll with the famous dragons! As you walk along the paths, local guides will point out wild deer, boar and bird life, but keep a careful lookout for the giant lizards which have made this region their home. Don’t forget your camera, as there are usually good opportunities for close-up shots when you get to the ranger station.

Cannibal Rock

According to some diving publications, one of the top ten dives sites in the world is situated in Horseshoe Bay, south of Rinca Island. The water in this bay is teeming with nutrients, creating the most spectacular congregation of hard and soft corals. Sponges, ascidians, sea squirts and tube anemones are abundant. A wide diversity of nudibranchs can be seen here, along with frogfish, turtles, cuttlefish and other reef fish. Due to the location of the bay and the nutrient rich water, the temperature if usually colder and the visibility a bit greener, but neither one of these factors can spoil the amazing diving.

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.

Days 6 Rinca Island

We spend the whole day in Horseshoe Bay, with another chance to dive the famous Cannibal Rock as well as other great dive sites in the area. Watch dragons, wild pigs, deer and monkeys roaming the beach, and take a tender ride or kayak to get a closer look.

Yellow Wall of Texas

This wall is located at the entrance to Horseshoe Bay, beautifully draped with yellow and orange soft corals, and is named by the diving explorer Larry Smith from Texas, USA. Look inside the soft corals for the tiny ladybug and scour the wall for vibrant nudibranchs. Schools of fusiliers and surgeonfish adorn the shallow coral heads.

Torpedo Alley

At the west end of this site are some rocks jutting out of the surface, marking the jump spot for a daytime dive. The sloping reef has previously been home to the ‘holy grail’ of fish; the rhinopia or weedy and paddle-flap scorpionfish. Nudibranchs, frogfish, seamoths and pipefish also camouflage themselves in the corals.

Day 7 Manta Alley / Three Sisters / Pink Beach

Enjoy two dives looking for manta rays at Manta Alley. Then we either head back into the Komodo-Flores channel to the Three Sisters dive site, or up to the middle of Komodo Island to dive at Pink Beach.

Manta Alley

Manta Alley is located in Tora Langkoi Bay, along the south coast of Komodo Island. 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, numerous manta rays are known to frequent this site and it is the most popular location in Komodo for spotting them. The dive site is actually a deep gully. As the tide changes the gully works like a funnel, causing the water to rush through at speeds of up to four knots 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.

Three Sisters

The sites 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.

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 8 Komodo-Flores Channel

Currents in this area can be quite strong and we have to dive according to the tides. There are many great dives here to choose from, so the sites will be decided on the day, dependent on the currents.

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 the busy anemonefish and look out for turtles munching on the corals. Giant trevally, white tip reef sharks, snappers and emperorfish tend to congregate here. This site offers particularly good opportunities for both macro and wide-angle photography.

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, crocodilefish lie on the scenic reef among a whole host of reef fish and schooling fusiliers.

Sabolon Island

This is a good option, within easy reach of Labuanbajo. Its entry is marked by a point off of a small beach, where the white sand tapers off into rocks. It is very easy to do several different dives here as the entire island is encircled by healthy reefs, beautiful sea fans, sponges, and colourful bouquets of soft corals. The visibility is ideal and the underwater sights give you a good taste of what can be found in the rest of the region.

Day 9 Gili Lawa Laut / Gili Banta

This is our the last chance to enjoy the action at Castle and Crystal Rock before leaving for Gili Banta, an island on the outskirts of Komodo National Park. Between the morning dives there is the option 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.

Tanduk Rusa

At the north-west tip of the island there is a wall connected to a long reef extending along the west side of Gili Banta. The wall is coated in sponges, sea fans and colourful soft corals. In the shallows of the reef, black and blue ribbon eels poke out of the sand and leaf scorpionfish sit in the bushy black corals.

Gazor Beach

This night dive is at a white sand slope, in a calm bay on the North of Gili Banta. Elusive stargazors hide in the sand, with only their big eyes and toothy snarl looking up into the stars. White V octopus, strange translucent nudibranchs and ghost pipefish can also be found here. Hungry lionfish follow your lights, hunting the stunned cardinalfish, and a huge resident stonefish buries itself in the sand.

Day 10 Sangeang Island

The island of Sangeang is located north-east of Sumbawa. It’s only a tiny piece of land but you’ll notice it right away since most of its landscape consists of Gunung Api, an active volcano. This natural phenomenon has made for some amazing topography, such as steep ridges dripping with hardened lava. There are several excellent dive sites here, all with good visibility, allowing you to truly appreciate the healthy reefs of soft and hard corals as well as different types of anemones.

Lighthouse Reef

This site presents many contrasts in terms of natural features and marine life. Strong currents can prevail in the exposed areas but there are also sheltered spots. Down around 20 metres macro lovers will be delighted, as the base of the wall and large black sand slope is excellent for spotting countless nudibranchs and other colourful critters. Black coral bushes hide ghost pipefish and saw blade shrimps.

Hot Rocks

Here the volcano has left its mark below the surface as well. In the shallows, observe volcanic bubbles escaping from the sea bed through air vents. Put your hands close to the ‘hot rocks’ and feel the heat from the sulphur covered rocks. Besides the usual tropical reef species, ribbon eels, cowries and Bargibanti pygmy seahorses can also be seen here.

Day 11 Moyo Island

The final two dives are at Moyo Island. We can dive Angel Reef again or there are a number of other submerged reefs to explore around Moyo Island, such as Labu Aji Reef, Turtle Street and Panjang Reef.

Panjang Reef

Located just north of Angel Reef is the submerged coral reef of Panjang, or ‘long reef’. The coral garden plateau is covered with pulsing soft corals, surrounded by a sloping reef full of big sponges and healthy hard corals. Bargibanti pygmy seahorses, leaf scorpionfish, ribbon eels and sea snakes can all be seen here. Besides diving, it is also possible to visit the traditional village of Labuan Aji on Moyo Island. Anyone joining our cruise is welcome to bring along some goodies for the children at one of the villages we visit. Obviously the children love sweets but we encourage people to bring pencils, pens, notebooks, colouring books or even clothes - none of which rot their teeth! The school always needs more materials and the girls love hair clips and bands.

Day 12 Disembarkation in Bali