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Indonesia Day 11-13 – Komodo Diving: The Wunderpus is not a porn movie.

A wall of bat fish.The last three days we have been diving on the Wunderpus (which is a rare octopus – get your head out of the gutter,) and they have been among the best days we’ve ever spent anywhere doing anything. I didn’t even blog.  I just turned everything off and dove.

Komodo11-13-17We would get up early, dive at 6:30 before anyone else was in the water from any other boat.  Then we’d do two more dives during the day.  Meals in between and short naps gave us the sustenance we needed.  Scuba diving can be hard on the body.

Eel we flew over, hiding in the reef.The coral and fish counts in Komodo are awesome.  It put anything in the Carribean, except maybe Bonaire, to shame.  And Bonaire doesn’t have manta rays and sharks, of which we saw many.

Emma's straddle pike!It wasn’t manta season, but we spotted two in ‘Manta Point.”  I had seen them in the dark in Hawaii years ago, but never in the day time.  “They look like spaceships!”  Emma exclaimed, excitedly.  Ed, the owner, looked relieved;  “I get nervous in the off-season, because people still expect so see manta.”

Emma and Lily looking pro.Lily missed the manta’s but she did amazingly well overall.  She did 7 out of the 13 dives.  If you know her story from this video, you will remember that she is deathly afraid of fish.  I NEVER thought she would dive.  Ever.  To even join us for a few is some kind of gift from Trish from the afterworld.  It’s nothing short of a miracle.

Massive schools of fish. There red ones are called Anthiers.One of the most exciting things about Komodo are the currents.  It’s an area with fast moving tides, narrow channels and hot and cold layers of water pushing and pulling.  Add the moon to the mix, and it’s an unpredictable mess.  It’s the most advanced diving I’ve ever done, with very few exceptions.

White tip sharkAmanda and I had two dives that were pretty hairy.  The first was expected.  We drifted underwater at about 45 feet very very quickly by thousands of fish, also fighting the current.  If you got a little high off the reef, you would start going faster and be pulled away from the group.  So we had to maintain our buoyancy closely.  At the end we hit a wall of cold water – 85 and 78 degree differences, which cause the water to shimmer and look oily.  It was crazy weird.

We swam in that small passage between those islands.  The currenThe second one was unplanned, but typical of Komodo.  We went with a strong current and rounded a bend.  Ed was kicking ahead of us.  I felt myself starting to breath hard.  Amanda was trailing a bit, so I dropped back and took her wrist so we would stay together.  And then the currents picked up and got really cold.

White tip sharkWe needed a rest, and the current wasn’t dying down so he grabbed a rock, and we grabbed his legs.  There we held on for about 2 minutes, flapping in the current like a flag on a flagpole.  If one of us had let go, we would have sailed backward over the reef and out into the open water.

Partly we held hands because we are in love, partly beacuse theI was pretty worried about Amanda.  One can’t communicate underwater.  She was giving me the ‘Ok’ signal but I wasn’t sure if that meant she was fine.  And my air was running out.  Ed found us some places to hang on, and we crept forward a bit further, until he found a path back to shallow water.  I ended the dive with zero air, but I did my safety stop and could have buddy breathed easily if I had needed more air.

The currents made the diving exhilarating. Fortunately most of our dives were very relaxed and the tides were weak so the girls don’t have to stay on the boat.

Pink sand beach.  It gets the color from ground-up red coral.This experience:  the diving, the boat, the crew, and this adventure family made this my favorite days of travel ever. On our last day we visited a pink beach, made so by ground up coral.  And we took turns jumping off the bow of the boat.

Here is the list of our dives and the stuff we saw.

Day One

  1. Kanawa house reef:  Check out dive, turtle banded coral shrimp, blue spotted sting ray, huge clam,yelow juvenile box fish, bridled monocle bream
  2. Sebayur Kecil:  Broadclub cuttlefish, big hawkbill turtle, garden eels, leaf scorpion fish, clown fish, clown triggerfis
  3. The passage:  Huge green moray, beautiful table coral with baby fish, sweet lips, flounder, red big eye, juvenile midnight snapper,
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Day Two

  1. Castle Rock:  Many black tip and white tip shark, giant trevally, Napoleon wrasse, negative entry into big open clear water 150 feet vis, lion fish, porcupine fish, massive schools of bat fish, jacks, fussilier.  Stunning rodeo of trevally, wrasse and shark.
  2. Crystal Rock:  Napoleon wrasse, huge visibility, garden eels, barracuda
  3. Cauldron:  multiple leafe scorpion, big turtle, interesting dive profile through sandy bowl, snapper schools in canyon below, between islands of Gili lawa darat Gili lawa laut.  Pygmy sea horse, white margin unicorn fish.
  4. Night dive:  pigmy octopus, multiple pygmy cuttlefish, shrimp, lots of hermit crabs

Sunset over Komodo Island.

Day Three

  1. Manta point:  Two manta rays, three mantis shrimp – we got to feel them hit our dive stick, amazing white stonefish.  Aborted dive to different location at start, shifting currents, ribbon eels, big moray far out of its hole, phosphrescent plankton..
  2. Mawan island:  Three legged turtle, ribbon eels – blue with yellow head and black with yellow stripe, big stone fish, scorpion fish.
  3. Siaba Kecil :very fast drift dive, like a roller coaster, overhangs. Nudibranchs, other divers scattered at the surface, titan triggerfish, sweetlips, silver tip shark, lobster, black velatind

Lily jumping off the stern of the boat.

Day Four

  1. Batu Balong “hole in Rock”:  Three white tip shark – 2 sleeping, sleeping napoleon wrasse, schools of barracuda, giant trevally, massive schools bluestreak fussilier, nudibranches, many grouper, clown triggerfish, beautiful steep wall, small tuna, gold banded moray, anthiers – massive schools of red ones, thousands and thousands of fish above and below the whole dive
  2. Tatawa Kecil Super strong current shifting, zig zag dive, had to hold on to rock multiple times, stinging coral burns, napoleon wrasse, big school bumpfish, david out of air – surfaced with 150 psi.  amazing topography, lots of holding on. Dartfishes,
  3. Wonderland: Nudibranhcs, bumphead parrotfish school, tuna, white tip reef sharks, nudibranchs.

We get up so early that this is one of the last things we see at

2 thoughts on “Indonesia Day 11-13 – Komodo Diving: The Wunderpus is not a porn movie.

  1. jeanne regan

    Thank you for letting me live vicariously through your fabulous adventures. No kid gets to do all of this!

  2. Patricia Hinsley

    Thank you for sharing. Don’t know if you got my previous blog. I’m not a blogger. But i want you to know you have helped me tremendously. I lost my husband 5 years ago and am still suffering. Tonight i will write him a letter because i need to let go. As you so eloquently put it “not because i want to, but because i have to.” Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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