This trip has it all, a multitude of dive sites each with unique topographies suited to all kinds of
diving, this, matched with the vastly diverse and rich abundance of marine life, made for an
incredible voyage. Healthy reefs set the stage as fish of all sizes dance atop the corals in an
explosion of colour and we test our eyesight with muck dives at night. Scouring the seabed we
encounter a plethora of otherworldly life, all sorts of weird and wonderful animals come out
into the night. From a mesmerizing Bigfin Reef Squid pulsing waves of colour across its body in
a hallucinogenic display, to a tiny, intricate, Ghost Pipefish showing off its camouflage prowess,
as it closely resembled a stray leaf floating mid water.
After several beautiful reefs and relaxing dives, it was time for some adrenaline. Seeking a
somewhat lively dive we now pursued some current. Diving down to twenty meters we pushed
hard against the flowing water and our efforts were well and truly rewarded. Granted front row
seats to a spectacular display, we hunkered down atop a drop off and gazed out into the blue.
White Tip and Grey Reef sharks filled our vision, gliding through the vast blue these magnificent
animals boasted their superior ocean mastery as they carved through the current with pure
elegance and power.
Taking a break from the water we ventured ashore in search of prehistoric beast. The arid
golden-brown island of Komodo, speckled with vivid green flora provided us with epic
encounters with the notorious giant lizard’s endemic to the region, the magnificent Komodo
Dragons. Slumbering on the sand, we saw many of these goliaths soaking up the gentle warmth
of the early morning sun; warming their bodies before the intense afternoon heat forced them to
retreat to the shade. It is not until they get up and start to roam, that you get a sense how
immense these animals are. Each foot landing with a heavy thud, a dragon crossed our path, its
hulking mass swayed with every step. Its head swivelled from side to side checking us out as its
long, forked tongue flickered, tasting the air.
As the trip neared its end, we went searching for some gentle ocean giants. Graciously, these
winged beings, soared above our heads as they disembarked their cleaning station. There were
Mantas everywhere. In deeper water our interactions, whilst beautiful, were only brief, however,
at the surface, we saw an entirely different side to these animals. The sun penetrated the surface
in a cascade of golden light as a fine mist of plankton littered the water. An endless stream of
Manta Rays feasted upon this microscopic banquet, arcing and looping they summersaulted
through the water scooping mouthfuls of plankton. Unbothered by our presence they swooped
in close, gliding past slowly as though observing us. The water burst with action, everywhere you
looked one of these winged giants could be seen. A truly glorious finale for an incredible trip.
MV Mermaid II – Bali-Komodo-Maumere
September 16 to 23, 2023