We lifted anchor at 0630 to motor up to the Northern section of Komodo Park where we will be moored for the next 2 nights. Pretty cruise up the coast of Komodo island to Lawa Darat.

Here is a link to my YouTube video Komodo Day 3 . 

First dive Golden Passage

Link to location of dive site click on location title

2018-08-01

Golden Passage

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Our first dive was timed to be on a gently rising tide (turned out to be gentle to start with and then stronger as the dive progressed). The dive site is called ‘Golden Passage’ between Lawa Darat and Komodo islands. Named either, because in the evening the sunset lights the sea surface between the passage golden, or due to a large number of Yellow Sea cucumbers on the walls of Lawa Darat.

The start of the dive was very relaxing as we drifted slowly along the rock walls of Lawa Darat and over to the first rock ridge. Saw a Triggerfish which I decided not to get too close to or try and photo!

Duyung Baru at anchor

We were then engulfed by a school of blue fusiliers swimming round about us. Very beautiful and surreal. Shortly after that at the rocky point we saw a couple of white tip reef sharks circling round in the current. Jane took some great video which she bartered to us for the loan of a mask (as hers leaked after the first dive and we lent her our spare). We dropped down onto the lee of the rocky outcrop and looked around the overhangs before drifting onwards to the next outcrop. This was a tad more challenging as the current picked up and descending down onto the back side of the outcrop into shelter out of the current was hard. Had a rest and admired the fusiliers which had come back together with some Giant Trevally and were facing into the current. We had a slow swim, resisting the current which was trying to push us sideways across the channel to our pick up spot. Quite a lot of it for me was rockhoping. Andy our DM managed to drift across with no apparent effort! What a large gap in our skill set!

At our safety stop we saw a large blue spotted stingray half obscured by a rocky overhang. Prem and Andy also saw a couple of black tip reef sharks but as soon as they saw the group they swam away, I missed them.

Diving in Komodo is a bit like learning to ski competently. Each dive is testing me in different ways. It is important to stretch myself and learn how to deal with a range of different conditions, sometimes I do wonder why! Then I think of the sharks circling in the current and the blue fusiliers that swam with us and know it is all worth it.

Dive 2 Castle Rock

Link to location of dive site click on location title

2018-08-01

Castle Rock Komodo

GIli Lawalaut, Castle Rock
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This is one of the classic Komodo sites. It is a fully submerged pinnacle which is a couple of km from land. We dropped into the blue, both executing negative entries perfectly, and descended to c.30m in 3 minutes gently angling to the North facing side of the Rock

Diving straight down into the blue

Andy timed it perfectly (slack high tide). There were countless schools of different large fish (tuna, barracuda, giant trevally…). We gradually angled our way up the rock slopes, I saw a juvenile male blue ribbon eel, a very distinctive blue-spotted fantail ray under a coral ledge some, various groupers (stary grouper, surge grouper) Christmas tree worms, a very large scorpion fish at our safety stop (which persuaded me to drift back from the outcrop and then fight the current back to it on a different trajectory avoiding any rocky handholds near the scorpion fish!) and countless other fish which I don’t know the names of. Safety stop was spent hanging on to the rocky top of Castle Rock sheltering from the current! Glad we were not starting our dive an hour later than we did!

A special dive due to the vast numbers of fish gathered round the north side of the site, which we were fortunate to have to ourselves for a large part of the dive. It was worth coming here alone for the two mid day dives we have had so far.

Dive 3 sunset dive of the Cauldron

Link to location of dive site click on location title

2018-08-01

The Cauldron

GIli Lawadarat
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Dive area was a narrow channel between Lawa Laut and Lawa Darat. The channel is scoured by rising and falling tides so we timed our dive for close to low slack. We dropped in north of the site and swam along the line where the sandy side of the cauldron met the sloping rocky sides. We expected a bit of a drift dive but we got the timings late (due to some late faffing on the boat) and missed it and had to fin.

Lionfish on night dive

Highlights of the dive were, 2 joined boxfish (intimate), school of glassfish in a hollow in a large pinnacle, lionfish, a pink scorpionfish under a ledge, a turtle grazing on the sides of the reef, beautiful hard coral formations, a large bar-tail moray eel in an overhang at the base of the rocky wall, lots of anenomes with clown fish.

Overall it was not the most spectacular night dive, but it was nice to dive this site with little current. As we got to the lip of the cauldron, we had to use the rocks to climb up and we got there just as the tide was turning / had turned. There was no way we could swim over to get over the other side and so we turned back and continued to explore the Cauldron as it got darker. Andy had a blue light torch and it was fun to see the luminescence of the coral. Very effective provided everyone had their white light torches off (we were culprits as I was having a problem dumping some air from my BCD and Mike was keeping an eye on me)!

 

See below for a compilation of photos taken on our dives, press play to see them

Below are dive maps for our dives

The Cauldron

Crystal Rock

Golden Passage