Even if this dive trip to Bali and to Komodo happened a few weeks ago, I think it's certainly not too late to tell you about it. The Spotmydive team was invited by the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Spotmydive was able to send two of its great reporters to explore the beauty of the land and sea in Bali as well as those of Komodo. For Lou and me, it was our second trip to these exotic and fabulous lands. We were accompanied for the occasion by Timmy, representing the ministry and two other travel agents: Thierry and Cyrielle.
After 17 hours of flight from Paris, with a stopover, we arrived at Bali airport, specifically Denpasar, the capital of the island. Our first surprise for our adventures began with a Balinese treatment of 2 hours which was most welcome because the two successive flights that had tired us. This generous stop completed, we left to discover the hotel then the restaurant located in the district of Sanur. The organizers did it right because the food was exquisite and the hotel very beautiful.
The next morning, serious things began. Bali's dive sites are famous all over the world and this reputation is not a bluff. On this first day's program, we went to Bali's iconic diving spots : Manta Point and Crystal Bay that are only accessible by boat. Count a good hour of navigation to join these Bali dive sites located around the island of Nusa Penida.
Manta Point is a dive site located near the rock cliff of Nusa Peniada Island . At this point, when the wind blows, the waves break against the rock causing a strong swell on the surface and under water. This movement can sometimes provoke a seasickness feeling for divers, which did not take too long to occur for some of our mates. Underwater, the conditions are hardly favorable because the swell lifted the sediments placed at the bottom of the water, making the visibility very charged in particles. We are pushed back and forth and we play with the flow to move forward. We were unlucky as no manta ray was reported in that vicinity that day. We are disappointed but think we will have the opportunity to catch up with some later in Komodo. This first Bali dive allowed some of us to get used to the equipment again and find new sensations after a long time without diving.
The second dive occured under better auspices. The Crystal Bay Dive Spot , as its name suggests, is in a bay protected from winds and currents. The visibility is excellent and the beautiful water often reveals encounters such as rays, sharks, moon fish . It is, moreover, the latter that interests us even if the period favorable to its observation is normally past. The scuba diving begins quietly following the reef "right hand" while remaining at about ten meters deep. Corals, sponges and other anemones create a festival of colors. In this very beautiful scenery evolve many inhabitants such as groupers, parrot fish, clown fish, surgeon fish, butterfly fish, chest fish and some scorpion fish. When we arrived near the exit of the bay, we were struck by a contrary current. It was impossible to pass, it was time to turn around. It is at this moment that the guide decided, for our return, to position himself deeper, at 30 meters, with his eyes turned to the blue. A few minutes later, our guide waved at us to get closer. It was then that progressively appeared before our dazzled eyes, the silhouette of a moon fish of 2 meters 50 span. It was time to approach a little more, we are already more than 40 meters deep, so we must keep our distances for this time. The beautiful fish soon disappeared into the depths as we ascended the reef. This unexpected appearance was surely one of the highlights of this trip.
If you like drift dive , this is good because this dive spot is one of the most famous dive sites on the island of Nusa Penida. Our dive started with a negative entrance as we were quickly projected by the current. The reef was scrolling fast under our eyes. Two turtles that were busy eating did not seem to be bothered by these conditions. Further, a Napoleon fish quickly came in front of this swirling group of divers. Later, after 45 minutes of weightless flight, the dive is over.
The aquatic celebrations were completed in Bali. It was time for us to fly from Bali to Nusa Tenggara that is also called flora and that is part of small islands in La Sonde. The airplane landed in Bajo, the capital of these Western Islands.
Once again, the welcoming reception chosen to great us are wonderful. The next morning, the boat that lead us to the Komodo's best dive sites allowed us to better discern the sumptuous postcard scenery. The archipelago is composed of dozens of hilly islands, untouched by human activity.
This is a technical site for experienced divers, Castle Rock is a unique place in the world. The procedure for not missing anything from this dive site, is to make a negative entry then to descend quickly to stick to the bottom. The maneuver then consists in hiding behind the corals and other giant sponges while going upstream with the current. After a few minutes of intensive kicking, the dive site reveals a steep drop in front of us. At this point, the current is at its peak. A hook would be welcome but we are not equipped. In the blue water, there are reef sharks, big-bodied trevally and tuna chasing small schools of fish. The show is breathtaking. After a few minutes of intense joy, we let ourselves drift in the opposite direction. I had not really observed the rest of the scenery but the corals are amazing here and the gorgonian sea fans are gigantic. This Komodo dive spot is certainly one of the most beautiful dive spots I've ever seen.
This scuba diving is reserved for very experienced divers. The dive begins with an almost total absence of power for a good twenty minutes. I look at my partner and make him understand that the site does not really correspond to the briefing given on the boat. The reef changes in appearance and I discover a passage that opens before us. The dive conditions then change suddenly and we are literally swept along like straws in the wind. Unable to resist and even less to stick to the reef, we just let ourselves drift. Finally, after being pushed away from the reef, the current is reduced and we regain our spirit back a little. The parachute is sent to the surface and the dive ends with a good dose of adrenaline and proving, if it was still needed, that the sea is the strongest.
Seeing manta rays is the dream of many divers. In Komodo, you are lucky because there is no other dive site where you can see, at the same time, many of these beautiful animals. Our crew took us to Manta Point, a drift dive that, as its name suggests, allows you to cross several manta rays during the dive. This dive spot in Komodo is neither very deep nor very difficult. We let ourselves be carried by the current at an average depth of 8 to 15 meters. We go over small sand hills and we hide from the current in these valleys. Around us, the manta rays ensure the show by going up with grace and ease in the current that carries us. They often do it in a line of 4/5 individuals, something that I have never seen before. It seems to us to have observed during this dive about twenty different individuals including a manta ray all black and absolutely magnificent.
Welcome to Jurassic Park, this is what should welcome the visitors who travel on this island because the Komodo dragons are the distant ancestors of their brothers: the dinosaurs that reigned millions of years on our planet. The arrival is done by boat to the mythical island of Komodo. It is 45 minutes by boat from Labuan Bajo. Rangers armed with sticks guard the entrance. You are therefore warned. These animals are capable of attacking large animals of which the man, theoretically, can be a part. It should not be long before you see the first specimens measuring more than 2 meters long, installed simply under the kitchen of the village. All houses here are on stilts to prevent any incursions of these great reptiles.
As we pass by, these great dragons do not even look at us, too focused on their nap. It should be known that Komodo dragons hunt mainly at night and sleep most of the day. We join our guide, armed with a stick, and the hike begins. We go up a small hill from where the view is incredible.
We walk on small dirt trails while taking regular breaks. During these times of rest, the guide will explain the way of life, predation, mating of these giant reptiles and will also show us a nest protected by a female. 45 minutes later, we are back at base camp. What emerges from this visit: the feeling that these animals are both fascinating and repulsive and that, for nothing in the world, we would like to live with them.
From Labuan Bajo, many tour operators offer trips to Padar Island, one of only 3 islands in the archipelago open to tourists. Once again, our guides did very well and we embarked on a small private boat. After 40 minutes of sailing, we land on the beach. A good hour's walk later from a steep slope, we arrive at the summit of where the view alone is well worth the detour.
Back at the boat, the program includes a last stop and not the least at the pink beaches. These beaches, rarities of nature, are untouched by any home. Here, you can imagine Robinson discovering his island when he wakes up on the beach. The color of the sand is really amazing and we take the opportunity to take many photographic signs to keep precious memories.
During this short diving trip to Bali and then to Komodo, we had the pleasure of admiring a rich culture, breathtaking views, giant reptiles, pink sand beaches, a moon fish, dozens of stingrays manta and beautiful seabed. If you, too, want to experience such exciting adventures, you know what to do and what will be your destination: