About Diving Komodo National Park (KNP)
Located in a very remote portion of the Indonesian Islands is a place that seems mythical, a place forgotten by time and controlled by dragons. The island of Komodo is the only home of the 10 foot (3 meters) long Komodo dragon.
The dragon is a member of the monitor lizard family, and while the dragon does not fly and set your castle on fire, it can be dangerous.
The slow, lazy looking lizard can rapidly become aggressive and move rapidly as well. Just remember this, their favorite food is deer.
The island has about 2,000 people living on it with a mostly traditional lifestyle. Three larger islands, Komodo, Rinca, and Padar, as well as numerous smaller ones, make up the park that was established to protect the dragons. That protection has been expanded over the years, and it is now also a Manta Ray and Shark protected area.
While it is possible to stay in the park overnight, few do. The park service does have ten bungalows, which are generally used by film crews visiting the island. They are advised not to go outside after dark for any reason.
Most visitors to Komodo National Park stay in one of the gateway cities of Labuan Bajo in the west of Flores or Bima in eastern Sumbawa.
When is the best time to dive Komodo National Park (seasons)
Diving in the KNP is year round. However, March to October provides the best conditions. The rainy season of December to February is the best time for diving with Manta Rays. However, The conditions can be so difficult leaving and returning to port that many of the land based operators close for January and February.
Liveaboards are a great option for divers
Liveaboards are better able to adjust for the weather. The park is located at the conjunction of the Indian and Pacific oceans. This fact plus the numerous small island create a condition where there is always currents, sometimes brutal, therefore, make sure you always dive with a reputable dive operator.
Marine life found in Komodo
The waters around these islands are the home of more than 260 species of reef-building coral, about 1,000 species of fish, and 70 species of sponges. Here is what the UNESCO said about the marine life.
“The coral reefs fringing the coast of Komodo are diverse and luxuriant due to the clear water, intense sunlight and rapid exchange of nutrient-rich water from deeper areas of the archipelago.
The marine fauna and flora are generally the same as that found throughout the Indo-Pacific area, though species richness is very high, notable marine mammals include blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) and sperm whale (Physeter catodon) as well as 10 species of dolphin, dugong (Dugong dugon) and five species of sea turtles.”
With that statement as a backdrop here are some of the most sought after marine life while diving Komodo.
• Manta rays, Komodo is considered one of the best Manta Ray dive destinations in the world • Dugongs, a.k.a a sea cow as it is a herbivorous marine mammal. While smaller than its cousin the manatee, they can reach 11 feet (3.5 meters) and 925 pounds (420 kilograms) • Sharks, including Whitetip, Blacktip, Grey reef, and Hammerhead sharks • Whales, at least 14 species visit the area • Dolphins • Sea turtles • And more different reef fish than you ever saw on a dive
Most Popular Underwater Attractions in KNP • Mantas -The concentration of Manta Rays especially in the rainy season is unmatched. • Drift dives and sweeping currents -all the diving here has current, some as strong as 8 knots. Proper training and planning will give you perfect drift dives. • Pristine dive sites - Let's start with this unless there is an ongoing storm, 15 meters of visibility is considered bad. The nutrients from the deep and the bright sunlight combine to create massive size coral head.
Which in turn attract reef fish in the tens of thousands, which attracts the pelagic. The strong currents wash away the waste products on the site a few times a day. The human population is small, and there is no industry.
Dive Komodo Landbased or Liveaboard?
Both options have their strong points. If you are diving in the wet season, then the liveaboard is the stronger option. At other times of the year, it is more about your viewpoints and diving skills.
Liveaboards will get you to the more outlying dive sites, and since you are not headed back to shore before sunset more opportunities to enjoy nature and be in your own world. The strong currents might be too intense for some divers to do every day. Some liveaboards offer short options were you can combine the two.
How to get to Komodo?
The focal point for your international trip is Denpasar, Bali. From there you can take local air to Labuan Bajo or Bima. Flight time is about one and a half hours.
From Europe to Bali: Some airlines provide direct service to Bali. Munich, Amsterdam, Zurich, Frankfurt and London are the most common departure points.
From the US to Bali: There is no direct service from the US to Bali. Travelers from the east coast should connect with one of the European cities. From the west coast, you can get connections in Hong Kong, China, and South Korea.
How to Get Around in Komodo?
In the park itself, it is strictly by foot on land and by boat between islands. In the gateway cities, they are small so getting around on foot is most common.
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