Left our mooring in the cove at Lawa Darat and motored over to the island of Tatawa Besar for our morning dive. Later we will move to little (Kecil) Tatawa for our second dive.

Dive 1 Tatawa Besar

Link to location of dive site click on location title

2018-08-01

Tatawa Besar

Tatawa Besar komodo
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59 min, 19.5m, visibility excellent 40m

Scorpionfish

First dive was a drift dive in a gentle rising tide. The tidal flow was coming from the south which edies back on itself at the island promontory to give a gentle southward drift. We dropped just before the split and (after Frank helped Mike sort out his second air system which was trapped under his BCD !! ) finned a little to get into the calmer waters and then cruised down the reef bank enjoying the ride. The current was gentle enough to stop and take photos of critters but helpful enough that we did not need to fin strongly. Notable sightings included

  • some nudis
  • small mantis shrimp which scuttled into his hole
  • a three spot angelfish with bright blue lips
  • a scorpion fish on a coral bowl
  • Christmas tree worms
  • lovely table corals
  • lovely cowrie shell in an opening in the coral
  • cave full of glass fish
  • black pleurobranch
  • baby white tip reef shark which swam by us.
  • baby giant moray eel

Mike was very patient with me as I was looking around taking photos and he made sure we stayed in touch with the group. Could have stayed down much longer, the visibility was excellent and there was lots to look at. However at 50bar we needed to start our gradual ascent up the reef banks. It is nice when the safety stop is at the reef top so there is plenty to look at as the minutes tick down. Lovely dive.

Dive 2 Tatawa Kecil

Link to location of dive site click on location title

2018-08-01

Tatawa Kecil

Tatawa Kecil
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Decided against our midday dive as was feeling a little tired, Andy was not sure how good it would be as he had not dived it before and I wanted to save my energy for one of the highlight dives Tatawa Kecil.

Hawksbill turtle

Andy and the boat crew weren’t totally sure what time the tide would switch, Andy thought 1400, Hendri or speedboat captain 1500 and Meraja our boat captain 1600. Andy got bragging rights and glad that we timed the dive for 1430 as there is a very strong falling tide today 1.94m (Giving us our lowest low tide of the trip at 0.1m.) and the site can really only be dived in the hour ahead and the hour after slack tide. This is because there is a fairly elliptical shape to the shallow fringe (at c.10m depth) round the north and south of the island (narrowing at the sides) so one can’t benefit from a split current protected area when the tide is rising and falling. Also the sides of the islands would also not offer protection from the current outside of slack). This is different to Batu Balong which is more rounded in nature with steep deep sides providing protection on the opposite side of the tidal flow, and in the split current area.

Blue Spotted Ray

On from the science… the dive was outstanding. Glad it came towards the end of our trip as I don’t think I would have handled it easily (or at all at the start of the trip), as it is I found it exhilarating and fun. We dropped in close to the ridge by the Rocks, where we had fun swimming round them, through gullies between them and then drifted (fairly fast) round the overhang into calmer waters the other side. We were then in shallower waters for the rest of the dive which was good as there were places to anchor and watch the marine life. Notable sightings included

  • large schools (50+) of Giant Travelly coming in with the tidal flow
  • a couple of grazing turtles
  • 2 eels in holes close to each other trying to catch passing fish
  • clown trigger fish
  • loads of antheas
  • schools of blue deep-bodied blue Fusileers with yellow tails + scissor tail Fusileers + various Anthias (largely orange red) heading into the current as we were hanging on before releasing to get swept up to the surface
  • Andy hanging on with one hand miming at us that on the count of 3 we were to release the rocks we were holding onto (for dear life) and ensure we did not get caught in a down-current as we were swept into the open sea, to be picked up by Hendri.

The feel of the dive was outstanding especially the swim round the overhang and drifting round the shoulder to calmer waters and the moment we released from the reef. There were so many fish both large and small in the shallow fringing areas once again words don’t do justice to what I felt down there and makes me feel it would be great to come back again. I am also thankful to Andy for challenging me / building my skills and getting me to the place where I could enjoy a dive like this rather than just hang in and survive.

Here is a link to my UTube video  Komodo Day 5 . Below is a slide show of some photos press play to see them.

Below are dive maps for our dives

Tatawa Besar

Tatawa Kecil