Komodo diving and dragons

In Komodo we dived with an excellent company called ‘Komodo Dive Centre’. The staff, especially TJ and Jack were awesome, they were so much fun and knew their stuff. They made us feel like their best buddies. The boat was really comfortable with beanbags on the sun deck and it was fast, reaching Komodo within 2 hours when some boats took 4 hours. Komodo diving was the pinnacle of our travels in South East Asia…the sea is teaming with life. On our first day with Komodo Dive Centre we had two dives and a trip to Rinca island to see the Komodo dragons.

DCIM774GOPRO20170516_08093320170516_164719Our first dive was at Siaba Besar and there were turtles everywhere. We saw 10 turtles on this dive. I really love seeing the turtles….you can hover above or to the side of them for ages watching, they’re really not fussed by humans. We saw several sleeping turtles, several swimming close to divers and several cleaning themselves on coral.

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I also really enjoyed watching the oriental sweetlips. The fins are a vibrant yellow colour and they have big fat yellow lips and a black and white body.DCIM774GOPRO

We were also lucky to see a blue spotted sting ray, a large shoal of blue stripped fusiliers, a napoleon wrasse, unicorn fish, stone fish, regal angel fish and many many more.DCIM774GOPRODCIM774GOPRODCIM774GOPRO

Our second dive was at manta point, one of the two sites where you can see manta rays in the Komodo National Park. We saw a big fella fairly soon after descending and it was awesome. We were in quite a strong drift and we were supposed to lay chest down on the bottom of the ocean but Beth and I had some issues with buoyancy in the drift and end up a bit tangled but still able to see the manta ray smoothly pass like a flapping bird while two other fish enjoyed the ride under the manta. It was fabulous.

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We were lucky to see such a big manta but unfortunately there weren’t many around that day and they weren’t being playful either. We saw one other small manta but it was keen to get away. We were a little disappointed with this dive because we were so excited about seeing mantas, which was one of the main reasons we visited Komodo. We’d heard stories about mantas being really intrigued by divers and swirling above them as they lay on the bottom. That’s nature I suppose, not always predictable.DCIM774GOPRO

Our final stop of the day was on Rinca Island to see the Komodo Dragons. There were three dragons chilling out under the tree near the rangers huts. They looked fat and lazy and there was a whiff of goats cheese in the air. We found out that government officials had visited earlier in the day and paid to see the dragons eat two goats. IMG_7972IMG_7976IMG_7981IMG_7984

Another 4 dragons were hanging out by the kitchen. The males were trying to mate but the females were responding yet, it’s too early in the season for them.IMG_7988IMG_7990IMG_7991

We took a small walk where the guide told us a little bit more about the dragons. The females live for 30-40 years and the males live for approx 50 years. The females bury their eggs and incubate them for up to 9 months. They dig several holes around the hole where they bury the eggs to fool the predators. When rainy season comes, water and mud wash into the holes which hides the eggs in mud. The eggs have to be buried otherwise the adult dragons including the mothers would eat them. Once hatched the dragons defend for themselves from day one and live in the trees for up to three years, only coming down for water. After three years they’re too fat and heavy to climb the trees but are now big enough to defend themselves on the land.

During the walk we saw two dragons hidden in the bushes and then we ascended to get some good views of Rinca Island. Check out our manta ray pose….

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On our return to the rangers camp we bumped into Morgan Freeman…the Indonesian version…

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We had beautiful views on the boat trip back to Labuanbajo.

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