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Komodo Liveaboard Diving
Scuba Divers will find outstanding liveaboard diving among the islands that make up the Komodo National Park. The park is made up of three larger islands, Komodo, Padar and Rinca along with numerous smaller ones. Scuba divers generally dive from what is considered the gateway cities of Labuan Bajo in the west of Flores or Bima in eastern Sumbawa.
I usually use this website to book in advance my liveaboards in Indonesia as they usually have the lowest rates I find. I like it because they have an easy booking system.
Budget Komodo Island Liveaboards
The Komodo Liveaboard options include a range of days and different per day pricing. This Komodo Liveaboards budget group may be cheap in price compared to the Luxury liveaboards, but they are not cheap in what they provide. This inexpensive group still provides outstanding scuba diving, meals and service. So If you are considering Komodo Liveaboard cheap, rest assure you are still getting good quality. For the purpose of this report, we classified those at or below $275 a day as a budget entry. This is the least expensive 1/3. Here is a sample of a few of the Komodo Liveaboards budget category:
The MV Ambai is a 32 meter long liveaboard that schedules year round diving cruises. A portion of the year is around the Komodo National Park. She takes 18 guest and has a crew of 18. She does mostly 7 day and 10 day sailings.
The MSY Aurora is a 40 meter traditional sailing yacht with modern style and comfort. Carrying up to 16 divers she spends the year diving Raja Ampat, North Sulawesi and Komodo.
Calico Jack is another Komodo Island Liveaboard, that spends a portion of the year at Komodo and is a traditional hand-made Indonesian sailing boat.
The owners of the luxurious, 28m MV Mermaid I might not be happy to see the flagship of Mermaid Liveaboard fleet listed as budget. Mermaid is Asia’s premier liveaboard fleet, the M/V Mermaid I is among the Best Komodo Liveaboard ships, however, she still fits the price range. An extraordinary value to find a Komodo Liveaboard Luxury vessel at this price range.
For detailed information, read about the Komodo Budget Liveaboards.
Luxury Komodo National park Liveaboards
Today’s luxury liveaboards are a far cry from the start of the liveaboard industry which used converted fishing boats and ocean going tugs. Most of today’s liveaboards started as purpose built for diving and in this class you will find luxury liveaboards that were built to luxury yacht standards. Here is a representative list of some of the luxury Liveaboards sailing for Komodo.
The Indo Aggressor, member of the Aggressor Fleet, is a 37m, 16 passenger luxury yacht (formerly the Komodo Dancer) that perfectly suited for diving Bali and the Komodo National Park year round.
SV Waow Indonesia is built in local traditional style constructed entirely of exotic ironwood. This three masted, luxury sailing vessel is 58m long and very comfortable.
MSY Arenui is a 43m boutique liveaboard. 8 beautifully decorated lavish cabins reflect the culture of Indonesia. Local handmade handicrafts are blended with individual climate control and en suite bathroom to create the ultimate luxury liveaboard.
MV Mermaid II is the second member of Asia’s premier Mermaid Liveaboard Fleet that sails Komodo National Park. Sailing from Bali she is just slightly above our liveaboard budget price range. A fine liveaboard from one of Asia’s best liveaboard dive operators.
The MV Damai II is a part of the Damai fleet. The 40m, luxury DAMAI II Indonesia liveaboard has been designed to offer superior diving in the Indonesian archipelago while providing exceptional personal service.
For detailed information, read about the Luxury Komodo Liveaboards.
Komodo liveaboard reviews
The liveaboards depart from Bali, Labuan Bajo, Gili or Lombok. Most scuba divers will find that Komodo Liveaboard Diving is the best way to see the Komodo National Park underwater with the possibility to spend time on a number of different islands. It is hard to get a exact count of the number of liveaboards in the area. The number does exceed 50. The Indonesian Liveaboard industry is very strong and most of those liveaboards spend all or a part of the year diving around Komodo and the other part in Raja Ampat.
You can have a look to this video to see how it looks like underwater!
Komodo Liveaboards Itineraries
One of the things that sets Komodo Liveaboards above most other diving destinations is the flexibility in departure points. These will have some variation between seasons as seasonal weather patterns favor either the north or south. Many of the Komodo Liveaboards change departure locations to adjust for these seasonal changes.
- Liveaboards from Labuan Bajo generally are 3 days, 6 days and up to 14 days. Some dives are done before entering the park and travel is often to the northern section of the national park. Some of the liveaboards itineraries are one way. They either start or finish in Labuan Bajo with the other port being Bali , Bima or Lombok.
- Liveaboards from Gili Islands are mostly 7 day sailings with the trip starting and stopping in Gili.
- Liveaboard from Lombok has some short sailings or 3 or 4 days as well as some 7 day sailings. It is one of the ports that combine with Labuan Bajo.
- Liveaboard from Bali can be either a one way or round trip. 10 to 12 days is the normal length but there are 7 to 10 days as well. Bali is the easiest location to get to internationally.
Komodo Liveaboard Schedule
As you look at the liveaboard schedules you will notice that there is a great variety in the itineraries for days at sea, dive destinations and ports. All of the liveaboards spend the majority of their time in the Komodo National Park and offer visits to the islands to observe the Komodo dragons.
Best time to dive in the Komodo National Park
Diving in the Komodo National Park is year round, however, March to October which is the dry season provides the best conditions.
The wet season (Monsoon) begins in the month of November and runs through March. During this time the liveaboards either go to other parts of the country like Raja Ampat archipelago or head to the southern part of the park. The diving in that area is mostly unaffected by the weather. Diving with Manta Rays is best in December, January and February. Most resorts stop diving in January and February as the sea conditions are to difficult for their crafts.
Scuba Diving the Komodo National Park, Liveaboard Dive Cruises or Resort?
While scuba diving from resorts around Labuan Bajo will get you to many of the best dive sites, there are drawbacks with scuba diving from resorts. In fact while the Komodo Liveaboard schedule is year round, most of the resorts are not due to bad sea conditions.
Sea turtle photograph by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten
When we first think of the UNESCO Heritage site Komodo National Park (KNP) Indonesia, the 10 foot (3 meter) long Komodo Dragon is the first thing that most people think of. The Komodo National Park was established to protect this unique member of the monitor lizard family, however, protection has also been extended to create Manta Ray and Shark sanctuaries.
Komodo Liveaboard trips bring divers to some unique dive sites. The UNESCO heritage site was inscribed in 1991 for both its terrestrial features and its marine features. The UNESCO evaluation stated: “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.”
This area of Indonesia is where the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean meets, or more to the point it is near two continental shelves. The open wells from the shelves meeting deep waters bring nutrients to the surface and the combination creates strong north and south tidal currents. Tides change very rapidly creating the strong possibility that unaware divers could be in danger. This arrangement also creates two distinct diving conditions in a small area. The north portion of the park is controlled more by the Pacific Ocean and has tropical conditions with great visibility most of the time. The southern portion has a little colder water and slightly less visibility. It is, however, better protected during the monsoon season.
Middle Range Komodo Liveaboard boats
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