Komodo National Park (KNP)
Located in a very remote portion of the Indonesian islands is a place that seems mythical, a place forgotten by time and controlled by dragons. The island of Komodo is the only home of the 10 foot (3 meter) long Komodo dragon. The island has about 2,000 people living on it with a mostly traditional lifestyle.
Numerous small islands and three larger islands, Rinca, Komodo and Padar, make up the park that was established to protect the dragons. That protection has been expanded to include Manta Rays and sharks protected areas.
When is the best time to dive Komodo National Park (seasons)
Diving in the KNP is year round, however, March to October provides the best conditions. The rainy season of December to February is the best time for diving with Manta Rays. However, The conditions can be so difficult leaving and returning to port that many of the land based operators close for January and February. Liveaboards are able to adjust for the weather better.
Marine life found in Komodo
The water around these islands are the home of more than 260 species of reef-building coral, about 1,000 species of fish, and 70 species of sponges. Here is what the UNESCO said about the marine life. “The coral reefs fringing the coast of Komodo are diverse and luxuriant due to the clear water, intense sunlight and rapid exchange of nutrient-rich water from deeper areas of the archipelago. The marine fauna and flora are generally the same as that found throughout the Indo Pacific area, though species richness is very high, notable marine mammals include blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) and sperm whale (Physeter catodon) as well as 10 species of dolphin, dugong (Dugong dugon) and five species of sea turtles.” With that statement as a backdrop here is some the most sought after marine life while diving:
- Manta rays, this is considered one of the best Manta Ray destinations in the world
- Dugong, they can reach 11 feet (3.5 meters) and 925 pounds (420 kilograms)
- Sharks, including Blacktip, Grey reef, Whitetip and Hammerhead sharks
- Whales, at least 14 species visit the area
- Sea turtle
Always dive with a reputable dive operator. Most of the sites are best for experienced divers. The park is located at the conjunction of the Indian and Pacific oceans. This plus numerous small island create a condition where there is always currents, sometimes brutal.
Dive Komodo Land based or Liveaboard?
Both options have their strong points. If you are diving in the wet season, then the liveaboard is the stronger option. At other times of the year, it is more about your viewpoints and diving skills. Liveaboards will get you to the more outlying dive sites, and since you are not headed back to shore before sunset more opportunities to enjoy nature and be in your own world. The strong currents might be too intense for some divers to do every day. Some liveaboards offer short options were you can combine the two. Given the distance many divers will travel, consider a vacation in Bali leading into a Komodo liveaboard.
Divezone.net has some reviews of the different Indonesian Liveaboards including those going to Komodo.