Komodo

A TROVE OF NATURAL WONDERS

WE HAD HEARD OF KOMODO NATIONAL PARK LONG AGO BECAUSE OF IT'S RENOWNED KOMODO DRAGONS. 

 

WE LEARNED MORE ABOUT WHAT THE PARK HAD TO OFFER AS WE INTERACTED WITH RESEARCH SCIENTISTS ON THE GREAT BARRIER REEF.  KOMODO HAS A REPUTATION AS ONE OF THE WORLDS GREATEST DIVING DESTINATIONS.  IT IS UNMATCHED IN ITS DIVERSITY AND UNLIKE THE GREAT BARRIER REEF, THIS REEF IS THRIVING IN THE MARINE PARKS.  WE DECIDED TO KILL THE MOTOR AND STAY FOR A WHILE. 

Cruising Komodo

CRUISING KOMODO WAS A LITTLE LESS STRESSFUL THAN WHAT WE HAD EXPERIENCED GETTING THERE.

 

IT TOOK US A MONTH TO GET TO LABUAN BAJO FROM AUSTRALIA.   OUR TRIP WAS FULL OF DRAMA AS WE ENCOUNTERED THE CONSTANT THREAT OF UNMARKED FISHING NETS, UNLIT VESSELS AT NIGHT AND VOLATILE WEATHER. THE SECOND DAY INTO THE JOURNEY OUR CLOSE FRIENDS MUSTAFA AND ELIF, ABOARD THEIR BOAT BALIKCIL, LOST THEIR RUDDER IN THE ARAFURA SEA NEAR PAPUA NEW GINEA. NOGAL SERVED AS MISSION CONTROL FOR A RESCUE OPERATION THAT TOOK SEVEN DAYS BEFORE TOWING BALIKCIL INTO THE HARBOR OF DEBUT ON THE ISLAND OF KAI KECIL. THE RESCUE MISSION REQUIRED THE SUPPORT OF  SEVERAL BOATS WHO WENT ON TO SHEPHERD THE RUDDERLESS BALIKCIL FOR 900 MILES ACROSS THE BANDA SEA AND INTO KOMODO WHERE WE INSTALLED A NEW RUDDER.  THE ENTIRE OPERATION TOOK OVER A MONTH.  OUR FRIENDS ABOARD AUNTIE, BALAKCIL, DRAGONFLY, FIDLLER VI, GALACSEA, OUR ROSE, VIMY AND WAKANUI BECAME OUR TRIBE, THE BALIKCIL FLEET.

 

ALL OF US WERE READY FOR A BREAK WHEN WE ARRIVED IN KOMODO.  WE WELCOMED THE RESPITE IN THE REMOTE PARK THAT FELL INTO THE LEE OF THE VOLCANIC ISLANDS.  ASIDE FROM THE DIVING AGENDA, OUR EFFORTS FELL IN THE CATEGORY OF FINDING DIESEL, FOOD AND THE OCCASIONAL MESSAGE TO KEEP US MOBILE AND COMFORTABLE.

Diving Komodo

DIVING KOMODO WITH ITS DEEP WATER AND STRONG CURRENT PRESENTED A PROBLEM FOR OUR FAMILY.  MARILIA, JULIA AND SOPHIA NEEDED TO BE CERTIFIED AND FRANK NEEDED A REFRESHER FOR ADVANCED DIVING.  WE ALSO NEEDED A COMPRESSOR TO KEEP REFILLING OUR TANKS.

 

WE SPENT MONTHS PREPARING FOR THIS - BUYING UNDERWATER CAMERAS, DIVE GEAR AND FINDING A LOCAL DIVE INSTRUCTOR TO JOIN OUR TEAM.  WE DEVELOPED A DIVE PLAN WITH SIX OTHER BOATS, TWO OF WHICH HAD COMPRESSORS. NOGAL BECAME THE MEETING PLACE FOR PLANNING AND INSTRUCTION. OUR FRIENDS JEN AND RICHARD FROM NEW ZEALAND HAD THEIR BOAT, OUR ROSE, BUILT WITH SPECIFICATIONS TO MAKE IT A VERY CAPABLE DIVE BOAT.  THEY BECAME THE DIVE PLATFORM. 

 

WE EVOLVED INTO AN EFFICIENT TEAM WITH ANTON KUSMAYANTO, OUR GUIDE, HELPING US EXPLORE MUCH THE 650 SQUARE MILES OF KOMODO.  BY THE END OF IT ANTON CERTIFIED SIX NEW DIVERS IN OUR SMALL FLEET AND OPENED THE WORLD OF MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY TO FRANK AND WOODY.