The second part of the trip report from our first Expedition of the year, 10 days from Komodo to the Gili Islands.
5 days into our trip to Gili Trawangan and after a briefing stop to refuel, the Jaya, her guests and crew headed west towards their final destination. But far from being over, another 5 days of fun, diving and exploring lay ahead for everyone.
First stop was made at Castle Rock – the must do dive site in the North of Komodo, famous for sharks and many types of schooling fish. After that, we headed out to the west corner of Komodo before crossing to Gili Banta. The crystal waters of Banta and sheltered moorings made this an ideal location to while away some hours and dives. The beach also provided materials for Gazza to build and ride on his own raft, helped out by Maggie, Doug and Ricky. He wasn’t sure it was up for the journey back to the Gilis, so he abandoned raft and came back to the Jaya.
After Banta, we made the journey over to twin peaked, active volcano – Gunung Sangeang – to dive a favourite of many, Bubble Reef. This site is very special, firstly because the bottom is composed of black sand, making the colours of the reef even more striking. It’s also a great place to see unusual macro life, such as pygmy seahorses and many different nudibranchs. However, what makes it really unique are the volcanic gas bubbles escaping from the sand in the shallow water, and places where the sand is so hot that you can cook eggs.
We left Sangeang and travelled over towards Wera, which is on the north coast of Sumbawa. Here the villagers still build boats using traditional craftsmanship and the women of the village weave ikat to trade between villages. It was a good time to get back on land, shake off the land wobbles and explore a new place. Wera doesn’t see too many tourists, so the people, especially the kids are always excited to come and say hi and practice their English.
Pete certainly felt the full volume of the kids’ exuberance when they mobbed him on the beach as he brought out candy for them all.
Back to the Jaya, we then prepared for our first journey at night, to Satonda. We arrived early in the morning, ready to make a dive and we were lucky to find denise pygmy seahorses for all of the guests. As well as having some great diving, Satonda is also another great spot for some land activities, as the inner island hides a huge crater lake which developed after the eruption of Gunung Tambora. It’s a wonderful spot for a swim in the brackish water, or a short hike up to the fantastic view point. When everyone was suitably relaxed, it was time to leave Satonda for another dive at a new site we’d never dived before, but dubbed Maggie’s Mountain. It was a real treat – a seamount with lots of secrets from ribbon eels to bamboo sharks, schooling oceanic triggerfish and cuttlefish. Definitely one to head back to another time.
We were then bound for Moyo, playground of rich and famous with a very expensive and isolated resort and some lovely diving too. We made a couple of dives exploring the walls here and then headed onto the island for a sunset trek to the waterfall. The waterfall is small, but has a great swing that people can discover their inner tarzans on, and a small cave behind the waterfall that you can swim into.
In addition to the diving, land exploring, and obvious napping and eating that come as standard on any liveaboard trip, guests had a few more educational pursuits too. Jo taught guests about manta rays and everyone learned a few more facts about these graceful beasts. Who knew they had 4000 teeth? Brian, a skipper and sailing instructor in his normal life, gave a great workshop on knots to guests who got their heads around bowlines, cleats and hitches. And prior to her upcoming speaking slots at the Adex Dive Show in Singapore, Lia treated guests to a lecture about Deep Sea and her experiences photographing in this environment. The odd impromptu guitar session from Valentino, Marcel and Marwan also kept everyone entertained during the dusky sunset hours.
After Moyo, we travelled by night to Gili Trawangan and arrived there early in the morning ready for departure. After 27 dives, many miles travelled, a slew of new rules developed in the game of Uno and many new friends made, it was time to say our goodbyes. It had been such a great trip and as always it’s a shame it has to end, but we’re so happy we got to share this beautiful part of Indonesia with 12 adventurous souls. We hope to see you all again soon.
-Wicked Diving Komodo