Scuba Diving with Komodo Dragons. Really?
Well, not exactly. It’s not the latest YouTube sensation where divers strap Komodo dragons to their cylinders… The Komodo National Park in Indonesia is known for much more than its dragons, and if you’re a scuba diver it has to be on your bucket list.
Diving the Komodo National Park
Above water the national park is a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site. The park consist of 29 islands, including the three larger ones (Rinca, Komodo, and Padar) and several smaller ones – all volcanic. The waters in the south islands are significantly cooler – what you have in the national park are clashing undersea currents and this brings a great diversity in temperature and species. Chances are you’ll be sailing east of Bali on a liveaboard through the Sape Straight searching out the nutrient-rich waters that help fuel the park’s marine life.
Dolphins, Sunfish and squadrons of Manta Ray (Manta birostris) can be seen in several sites across the park, yet there’s lots to be said of looking closer at the detail and smaller species: Clark’s anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii), mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) and the small girdled glossosodoris nudibranch (Glossodoris cinta) are all to be seen.
Three Favoured Komodo Dive Sites
A pinnacle otherwise known as Hollow Rock, it sits in 75 metres of water with Komodo main island to the west. The north side of the pinnacle falls faster to the deep and has a great gully to dive. What’s special is the variety of reef fish – spend a little time here and you’ll see every aspect of reef life. In deeper waters you’ll spot whitetip reef sharks and reef visitors include hawksbill turtles.
Another pinnacle, this time east of Komodo and just to the south of Rinca Island. Diving to the deeper sections you’ll spot huge anemones and Sea Apples (Pseudocolchirus Violaceus); closer to the surface look out for Stingrays who come here hunting and Black Snappers. Cannibal Rock is also a place to spot the Pygmy Seahorse – you’ll see these at home in the purple gregorian fans.
The waters are cool here and an ideal place to find Manta Rays. The rays circle the three wide underwater channels (18 metres deep) you’ll also find them in the nearby shallows. And they are not the only larger fish to find…mangrove red snapper, black and white tip sharks, and barracuda also frequent these waters.
If it’s the predators that really float your boat, you should also spend some time ashore – it’s estimated there are 5,700 dragons on Komodo and they have a bit of a reputation
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