After almost 20 years exploring the incredible archipelago that is Indonesia, you would think that we have probably seen it all, but discovering what Komodo had kept hidden is very exciting news! It is really quite ironic though, because Komodo National Park was one of the first regions that he explored on the SMY Ondina way back in 2001, soon after it was launched. Liveaboard dive boats were few and far between back then, and we were instrumental in establishing the enduring tradition that Komodo should only be dived between June and September, during the dry season, when the wind blows from the south-east across the archipelago, making it difficult to operate in other areas of Indonesia.
Komodo – The Dry Season
Those south-easterly winds can make life on a liveaboard quite uncomfortable for the guests, as diving exposed sites in many areas of Indonesia can become very challenging. Komodo on the other hand, with its incredible topography and its many islands, reefs and bays, offers multiple places to shelter from the wind, with good diving all around, all within a few hours of sailing, so there are many options to see what the area has to offer.
As those winds blow, they stir up the shallow waters around the rugged southern coasts of both Komodo and Rinca islands, which means that the visibility in those areas actually reduces during the dry season. In addition to that, the south-easterlies bring cold water from the south, so the combination of poor visibility, frequent swells and decidedly chilly temperatures make most liveaboards abandon the southern part of Komodo and head to the north, where the conditions are just the opposite.
And so, the tradition was established that from June to September each year, the northern areas of Komodo National Park are the best places for a liveaboard to operate. After which the boats migrate north up through the Banda Sea towards Raja Ampat.
The Other Komodo – What Changed?
It really is quite simple… If you only have one boat, you have no choice but to go where the conditions will probably be best, which is exactly what we did when Ondina’s routes were first established. We explained about those traditional routes and why they were the best choice in the last post. So you are probably wondering how we discovered what we are calling the “other Komodo” and the answer is that we now have our second boat, the M.Y. Oceanic.
After we retrofitted Oceanic, we decided to base her in the south of Indonesia and keep Ondina in the north so that we could fully explore both of those regions in-depth all year-round. What we have discovered from doing that has greatly exceeded all of our initial expectations and that’s why we are so excited!
The Other Komodo – Spectacular Diving!
As we explored southern Komodo we realised that during the wet season (December to March) the conditions are almost the complete opposite of those in the dry season… While the north becomes colder, greener and quite choppy, the south enjoys warmer, calmer waters with an average of 25 mts plus visibility! Several of the well-known sites take are transformed from great dives into spectacular ones. Plus, our extended exploration, where we have been the only boat there, has allowed us to discover many new and equally spectacular sites.
Basically, we have discovered something of great value – a new and exciting route within an old established one. The other side of a well-known destination that offers a whole new world of opportunities within the boundaries of the famous national park.
The Other Komodo – Spectacular Scenery!
The islands of Komodo National Park are as spectacular above water as they are below, and offer tremendous photo-opportunities for photographers who also enjoy making great terrestrial images. The shapes, landscapes, bays and beaches of the islands are incredibly photogenic, particularly so when photographed with a drone.
But… in the dry season the land is arid and brown! Come the wet season however and the rain completely transforms the landscape, creating incredible, almost unique vistas and photo-opportunities!
The Other Komodo – Special Offers for Pioneers!
In December 2018 we began our first wet season operating in Komodo National Park and started by diving the sites we knew well from the dry season. The first exploratory cruises were done with just a handful of friends, because of the uncertainty around what we would find. It was an expensive thing to do, but we considered it as an overall investment in our future.
International dive travel has grown exponentially since we launched Ondina in 2001 and there are now many options for the traveling diver. We knew we needed to offer new and exciting locations, but we had to do it safely and well.
The return we have realized on that investment has really been quite something, as we are now able to offer something few others can, and it all begins soon when we kick off the wet season in Komodo National Park this month!
But the “Other Komodo” is just the first of the exciting news… there is more to come from the north. For now though we want to make a special offer to you, our loyal and repeat customers, to come and see what we have found in the south of Komodo!
If you have dived Komodo before and know the famous sites there you will be amazed at the difference and just how incredible the “Other Komodo” is.
If you have never dived there before though you will be in for an amazing experience because what we have discovered raises the bar to a whole new level!
If you want to enjoy the privilege of diving alone in this well known destination, be the first to book a trip to “the other Komodo” click here to check availability.