Diving in Komodo National Park
Exploring Komodo National Park on an Indonesian Liveaboard is a very exciting way for anyone interested in travelling, diving, trekking, hiking, and exploring the mainland or the far corners of Komodo National Park.
Either you are an adventurous diver, or traveller, Komodo Islands has something for everyone. With the waters protected by the many Islands in Komodo National Park, it’s a perfect spot for snorkelling and diving. The waters of Komodo National Park, bring a little something for all Scuba Divers, from calm waters with pristine Coral Reefs to Raging Currents, and people searching for Sharks and Manta Rays.
Komodo includes several Lesser Sunda Islands, which make up one of the biggest Volcanic chains in East Indonesia. Komodo Island became first and foremost famous due to the Komodo Dragons, some of the largest lizards in the world – there were early rumour’s that the Komodo Dragon could breathe fire.
On most Liveaboard, and Day tours in Komodo National Park, you will be certain to visit at least one of the three major islands that make up Komodo National Park, Komodo Island, which the primary home of the Komodo Dragons, Rinca, where you can also see the Komodo Dragons and is set up to allow easier access for visitors, and the spectacular Padar Island, which is located in the south of Komodo National Park, which is perfect for trekking to catch the stunning sunsets. The Komodo Dragon can also be found in other parts of Komodo, Flores, and Gili Motang Islands.
The Komodo Dragon lives in the wild and their range has contracted due to human activities therefore listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They are protected under Indonesian Law, and the Komodo National Park was founded in 1980 to aid protection efforts. The life below the Komodo Islands surface is also protected and is one of the reasons so many divers from around the world visit the Komodo park for world-class diving.
The Komodo National Park has world-class biodiversity of life underwater and divers prefer to bring their camera to shoot pictures of the vast underwater ecosystem, pristine Coral Reefs and the diversity of Marine Life. In Komodo National Park you will find Manta Rays, Sharks, Frog Fish, Ghotpipe Fish to a wide variety of Nudibranchs, and so much more. So it won’t matter if you love your wide angel or your Macro and Muck diving there is certainly something for everyone.
Komodo Island under the water
The underwater world in Komodo Island and the Komodo National Park, in general, is a divers dream; with visibility of up to 30 meters and a broad marine life of all sizes and shapes. The waters in Komodo are full of plankton coming from the deeper parts and it makes the sea life extremely prosperous. The Komodo National Park and the main Islands are protected by governments and legislation, which means there is no fishing and allows the pristine Coral Reefs, and Marine Life to flourish.
Since most of the diving spots in Komodo Island are in shallow water it allows for dives up to one hour, however, the current can also become very strong due to the way the oceans from the north come down through Komodo National Park, so for some people, the Scuba Diving can be a little challenging and some operators will require you to have a minimum Diving Certification or a number of dives.
Although it is these currents that attract the bigger Marine Life such as Mola Mola (Sunfish), Giant Manta Rays, Dolphins, and Hammerheads to name a few. On very rare occasions we can see the Komodo Dragon in the water going for a swim.
For the underwater photography enthusiast don’t worry, there are plenty of muck diving spots allowing for fantastic photos of Pygmy Seahorse, Nudibranchs in various colours and shapes. A diving trip to Komodo National Park will most likely results in some great photos or dramatic videos either of the sharks, seahorse or Mola Mola, Giant Manta Rays, Giant Trevally, potential Dophins, and more.
Top Diving Sites in Komodo Island
Batu Bolong is a preferred diving spot for the ones who like the strong current with BIG schools of fish such as Giant Trevally, Sharks, and Humphead (Napoleon fish). Batu Bolong is a small island in the middle of the Komodo channel, when Batu Bolong is translated into English it means Rock with a hole in it, which is what it is, this is where the current can become strong – but an experienced divemaster will know how to easily navigate the area. The depth to dive on this site is usually around 20 meters with crystal clear sight.
Karang Makassar located in the Komodo National Park offers some of the best diving in the park. The diving spot name comes from Makassar in Sulawesi due to fishermen coming all that way to fish, but not the regular way, they used dynamite due to the strong current which explains why some parts do not have that many corals. Luckily it’s not allowed to fish this way anymore. At the current state of the diving spot, you can find Manta Rays, Giant Sweetlips, Giant Trevally, Spanish Mackerel, Unicorn Fish, White Tail Stingray, Eagle Ray, Loggerhead Turtle, Green Sea Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Blacktip Reef Shark, and more. Plenty of excitement to see at Karang Makassar.
The Cauldron also is known as Shotgun is the channel that separates the islands Gili Lawa Darat and Gili Lawa Laut in the north of Komodo Island in Komodo National Park. The reasoning behind this name is current is so strong that it spins you around feeling like a roller coaster and spits you out of the channel with the current. Once safely passed this channel you will enter what’s called ”China Shop” its a pristine diving site suitable for beginners with lovely corals. On this diving site, you can expect to see sharks, Manta Rays, Eagle Rays, Marble Rays, Pygmy Sea Horse, Garden Eels, Frog Fish, Leaf Scorpion Fish, and many more.
Golden Passage is the channel that separates Gili Lawa Darat from Komodo Island. Once you enter the water you start descending to about 18 meters and then you just follow the current which is mild to strong. Generally speaking the deeper you get, the more coral and life you will see. The visibility at Golden Passage is very good, and you can expect to see Humphead Parrotfish, Giant Trevallies, Schools of Sweetlips, Black and White Tip sharks. Plenty of Turtles, and on a few occasions you can see Dolphins and Giant Manta Ray.
Manta Alley is one of the favourite dive sites around Komodo Island, as this is where the best chances are to see the Manta Rays especially from September to April. Besides the large schools of Manta Rays, you can expect to see Reef Sharks, large Wrasses, and Giant Trevally. The dive site itself has got plenty of healthy corals, mild current, and good visibility. This also makes it attractive to snorkelling on this Komodo Dive Site.
Castle Rock is a dive site in the northern part of Komodo National Park and its suitable for advanced divers. The dive itself is open water meaning the current can get quite strong and is generally a negative entry dive site, but all kinds of fish can be seen on this site. The underwater dive site is a large pinnacle with the top of the rocks being only 4 meters from the sea level. The visibility is crystal clear, the marine life is truly amazing and its a once in a lifetime diving experience. The marine life you can expect to see on this Komodo Dive site is Sharks, Grouper, Giant Manta Rays, Giant Trevally, Tuna, and potentially Dolphins to mention some.
Crystal Rock dive site name comes from the crystal clear visibility and the massive pinnacle rock below the surface – which can be seen at low tide. The diving depth ranges from 18 to 24 meters. The Komodo Dive site is famous for its strong current which brings in the larger of the Marine Life. What you can expect to see on a dive at Crystal Rock is Pufferfish, Moray Eels, Nudibranchs, Yellow-Ribbon Sweetlips, Trevallies, Snapper, Grouper, Damselfish, Angelfish, Parrotfish, Triggerfish, Fusiliers, Butterflyfish, Surgeonfish, and even pygmy seahorses. Sometimes the Dolphins get close too.
The best Tour Trekking options in Komodo Island, Indonesia
Padar Island is one of the most famous trekking spots on Komodo Island and it’s one of the first spots photographed if you search on Instagram for Komodo. Thousands and thousands of travellers visit Padar Island every year. It takes about 45 minutes to reach the top of the trekking point, perhaps one hour depending on your condition and it’s advised to bring enough water as it can become quite hot. The trekking is with built stairs to the top and at some parts, it can get a bit steep, but the view of the landscape, ocean, and Komodo Ocean is truly worth the sweat reaching the top.
Kelor Island is a small island with a steep curve heading to the top. It takes only about 15 minutes to reach the top and the elevation is about 100 meters above sea level. The beautiful 360-degree of the Komodo Islands has made this one of the trekking on all the Komodo Itineraries.
Rinca Island is the best place to see the Komodo Dragon, this place is on all the itineraries for Tour and Trips in the Komodo National Park. It can only be reached by boat, either a speedboat, yacht, Indonesian Phinisi, or a Liveaboard. Your captain will take you to the pier where you will start your short island journey, it’s about 500 meters to the starting point of the trekking where the Komodo Guide will show you the Komodo Dragon and inform you about the history of these beautiful Dragons and their current state. As you might know, the Komodo National Park is considered a world heritage UNESCO for its amazing Komodo Dragon. While explaining about the Komodo National Park and the Komodo Dragon inhabitant the guide will take you on an approximately 40-minute walk seeing the scenery of Rinca Island.