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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Komodo National Park

In Bali I boarded the Pindito for a 12-day cruise to Maumere in Flores.

The first dive was breathtaking. So much fish life! And a mostly intact reef. During the second dive we ventured a bit further and found the reef badly damaged, however, there we encountered a couple of very curious Blacktip Reef Sharks. One of them came very close to check us out.

We did more than diving. On the second day we visited Moyo island which had a nice waterfall which was perfect for swimming. In the small town we also encountered many goats, pigs and chickens.

One of my favourite fish was also present on many a dive: The Western Clown Anemonefish.

Even though the white anemone offers great contrast, it is the first warning sign of possible coral bleaching in the area. Which might be a consequence of last years El NiƱo.

Another highlight for me was a visit to Satonda island which features a salt-water lake. And up on the hill a Geocache. I managed to motivate a couple of guests to accompany me and so we started the arduous climb, which was rewarded by the Geocache, which was still perfectly preserved in its hidey hole, and a stunning view.

At Manta corner we did two dives hoping to see some Manta Rays. They did show up, but only for a very short visit. While everyone was hanging in the reef, waiting for more Mantas, I headed to an area where the dive guide spotted a large group of Bigfin Reef Squid. After taking the scene in for a while, I realized that they were mating! So I switched from photos to video and you can see the highlights in this YouTube clip.

Then we finally arrived in the Komodo National Park. First thing in the morning we visited the ranger station on Rinca island, where we received a 90 minute tour and were able to observe a good dozen Komodo dragons as well as deer, monkeys and birds. We then headed to Horseshoe Bay, at the Southern end of Rinca island, where we encountered a group of very active Komodo dragons on the beach. The reason for this is, that some of the other dive boats feed the dragons, which is officially prohibited, and thus whenever a boat approaches, the dragons come to the shore in hope of food. Thus going on land was out of the question.

A highlight on this trip were the night dives. Even though the majority of those dives were on sandy patches, there was so much going on that I never got bored. On one dive we encountered four small Cuttlefish, on others critters so small we needed a magnifying glass to spot them. One one dive we were crowded by hunting lionfish. And on another we spotted four large and beautiful Spanish Dancers.

Overall I had a wonderful trip.

Unfortunately, the internet connection in this corner of the world is not so good, so it will take some time until I can upload more pictures.

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