day 1069

On the beginning of June 2010 I started my mid-year break. I went diving along Nusa Tenggara Barat, Indonesia (an archipelago in the east of Bali Island), mostly in Komodo National Park area. It was started from Benoa Harbour Bali, lasting for ten days including the travelling.

This post is dated way back before the trip, simply because I was not keeping this blog on time for the last six months due to hectic time at work. I am really annoyed for the inconveniences and confusion, really hope I can do better to keep this blog up-to-date from now on.

I am writing this post on 20th June 2010, the day after I was back home, not yet back to work. For some reasons, I feel like recording the trip in details. Maybe because there were so many beautiful places and dive sites I had visited during this trip, maybe because I am getting bit better on diving and has started to really enjoy it, maybe because this trip has its wee surprises, or better, maybe because of all of them. So, this post will be the first ever post on this blog that is pretty wordy. Hope it is bearable, or else, simply skip that.

Before dwelling into the details though, I would like to thank especially PJ for making this trip happened in a very organised way and for being so enthusiastic and delicate in the same time and for a wonderful video trip from where I took some pictures I included on this series. The video will definitely keep the sweet memory alive.

Also many thanks to Sugi for being my great guide. And thanks to another one for the good companion. And to Philip my good 'ol friend who was again accompanying me from far away in the end of the trip when I was a bit moody.

So, here it is, some sort of log book of the trip:

We departed from Benoa Harbour, Bali, in the afternoon. Overnight trip to Moyo Island, north of Sumbawa Island.

Morning dive, the first dive of the trip, at Angel Reef, Moyo Island. Late morning dive at Panjang Reef, Moyo Island. Traveled to Satonda Island, further east of Moyo Island. Afternoon dive at Satonda Reef. Visited dead crater lake in Dompu, Satonda Island (used to be an active volcano), with its wishing trees where people hanging things and whisper their wishes, which we did too. Night dive at Satonda Reef. Overnight trip further east to Sangeang Volcano Island, north of Sumbawa Island.

Morning dive at Sangeang Lighthouse. Late morning and afternoon dives at Sangeang Hot Rocks, where bubbles from the volcano activities were coming out of the cracks on the rocks, and where we heard a rumble of the volcano under the water. Night dive at the Gazer Beach, Banta Island, a special dive site with Stargazers (which is included on my wish list on this trip. The others are Manta of course (which fulfilled), Spanish Dancer (I missed this), and Blue Ringed Octopus (none on sights)).
By the next morning we reached the Komodo National Park. Our first dive here was the morning dive in Taka Toko to see the Whitetip Reef Sharks on their playing ground. Also the first diving site with colder water (24'c instead of 29'c) and strong current. Quick visit to the nearby beach to climb a wee hill to admire the landscape around. Late morning dive at Crystal Rock. Afternoon dive at Takat Makassar. Night dive at Pink Beach, which is one of somebody's favourite dive sites. And oh, the star gazing session was started this night by the way, on the front of the sun-deck.

A morning trekking visiting Loh Liang, Komodo National Park to reunite with the dragon. The boat then brought us and moored at Horseshoe Bay, Rinca Island, which is apparently a pretty famous and beautiful spot (and calm water, less wind for the star gazing session!) Late morning dive at Rhino Rocks, afternoon dive at Cannibal Rock, and night dive at Torpedo Alley, which becomes one of my favourite sites. It was a dive to see weird but funky stuffs, such as upside down jelly fish, some of them are adopted by decorated crab, a funky looking creature called wobbit worm, and decorated crab carrying stick 20x its own size. Weirds and wonderful. And yes, we had another star gazing session.

Morning dive we were back at Rhino Rocks. Late morning dive at Cannibal Rock. Then we had a short trip to Rinca beach to take pictures of those lazy komodos on the beach. This was where I could get those close up pictures of komodo claws and head and tail. Afternoon dive at the famous Yellow Wall, but unfortunatly it was rather cloudy day. And another funky night dive at Torpedo Alley, ended with star gazing on the sun-deck of the moored boat.

We moved to the south of Rinca Island, and had a morning dive at Manta Alley to watch the mantas' feeding session. Late morning dive at Manta Alley again, but this time to see the mantas either been cleaned or doing their gym sessions, flexing their fins. Sugi chose the treadmill, and it couldn't be a better choice. The boat then traveled back north to Gili Lawalaut Island, in the east of Komodo Island. Afternoon dive at Lighthouse Reef. Night dive at Gili Lawalaut Bay, and it was my 50th dive, another best dive I've ever had for another reasons: it was relaxing, enjoyable, and memorable. No star gazing session tonight due to the boat travelling and cold wind, but school-of-fish gazing session is on, we had it on the back of boat.

Morning dive we were back at Taka Toko to say bye to those Whitetip Reef Sharks. The late afternoon dive was an ultimate current diving experience at Tanduk Rusa, a.k.a Roller Coaster, a place with unpredictable up and down current, which could be seen sometimes through our bubbles that were moving weirdly, not ascending but decending or hovering around. Been there, done that, with couples cuts and bruises surviving those up-and-down-and-up-and-down current changing within half minute or so. It was pretty enjoyable site on the other side though, so it was enjoyable dive afterall. We skipped the afternoon dive for travelling to the Bima Bay. The night dive was in the site nearby the beach. It was a muck dive, a place named Unusual Suspect by PJ. However, there was unexpected strong current, and most of us but three divers (who said it was a great night dive!) were shored within less than 20 minutes after the jump. Sugi and I were shored nearby the dinghy picking up Jason and Marry, so we decided to abort our dives as well. That night the boat had some trouble with its steering, but it was sorted within an hour or so. We had a pretty good talking-rubbish session, waiting for the boat engine to start again.

Morning dive was nearby Banta Island, a site called Sumbawa Surprise, for another cool muck dive site. For the first time, I was stranded from Sugi for more than 5 minutes - but it was fine because viz was good and I could see other divers around. Late afternoon dive, our last dive on this trip, was back at Angel Reef, Moyo Island. The day then spent by lamenting that the holiday was almost over, first at the sun-deck, then at the orange-throne sofa, where I was reading and somebody else was listening to my relic iPod. It was a very very pleasant evening talking session on the sofa, ended up with quick star gazing session at the front of the boat, in front of the cabin.

Pretty violent waves when we crossed the strait between Bali and Lombok, the worst I've ever experienced really. Amazingly I escaped it intact without being seasick. And finally we are back at Benoa Harbour Bali in the morning... and the trip is over, left behind sweet memory tucked somewhere there...

I didn't take many pictures though. However, here are some of the decent ones. The following 39 pictures were taken from the trip, which eight of the underwater pictures were taken from PJ's trip video, so they are copy-righted to PJ Widestrand. The pictures were randomly uploaded and not taken in sequence.

Komodo trip, June 2010.
Pic 1 of 39.

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