Sunday, September 05, 2010

Komodo - The Flores Sea

East of Bali, Komodo is one of those rare places in the world largely untouched by modern civilization.

The fish and coral life was tremendous - Vincent ("MV White Manta") said that it was like Richelieu Rock, Similans a decade ago.

Komodo's pristine waters are bordered by a series of uninhabited islands that look more like New Zealand than Bali. Its a series of small islands- grassy lawns, one or two solitary trees, but strangely, no coconut trees.

The fish in Castle and Crystal Rock were very friendly and did not flee at our presence - which seemed to indicate that the area was not fished much.

However, there were other areas where there was evidence of dynamite fishing - and of course, the corresponding damage to marine and coral life.

The trip was marred because the boat Anjemiwa II is was infested with rats and cockroaches. On the 1st day, I saw rats running from my bed after helping themselves to my travel food. The rats had a nest under my bed.

I also got a bad case of food poisoning which caused me to miss the last couple of dives. Yeah, don't eat bloody chicken innards.

The locks on the toilets also didn't work... the handle on one of them was broken from the inside. And one of the sleeping rooms was next to the engine, the noise and vibrations would have waken Helen Keller.

And to top it off - the crew's crappy cigarette smoke kept blowing into the living/dining/dive deck. If they were going to smoke - they should have done it on the bridge so that the fumes would have carried off.

Otherwise, the crew were great and friendly- but the DM was inexperienced. We totally lost him on one particular dive much to the annoyance of the dive group. And once he got us to swim against a very strong current.

The Anjemiwa LOB was actually a great dive boat if the number of divers was 6. The dive deck /dining area was nice and big. But I'd say max would be 8 divers not 12 as advertised.

Getting into the dive dingy boat however was a bit tricky as we had to climb down the railing with our dive gear (+tank) on = choppy seas made the procedure even more difficult. One diver lost his balance on the ladder and fell onto another diver's expensive camera - breaking the housing and the other diver's temper, nearly causing WW3 might I add.

Well, having to put up with rats, toilet doors that can't close properly - this is what you get for paying AUD$550 for a week of scuba diving in Indonesia :D

It could have been better if the owners had paid better attention to the training of the personnel. But otherwise the crew were eager to please and friendly.