This is a sample itinerary. Route and trip dates may be altered if approved by the vessel’s captain. Enquire to discuss your perfect charter.
Day 1: Sebayor Island
Mantamae staff will pick you up at Labuan Bajo airport in Flores and accompany you to immediate boarding and departure. During a light lunch, you will be briefed on Manta Mae and, depending on the time of your arrival, will also be briefed on the “check dive.” The small island of Sebayur offers excellent diving just a few miles from Labuan Bajo’s harbor. Sebayur Kecil and Mini Wall are perfect for warm-up dives, and you are likely to see bronze sweepers, lion-fish, eels, and possibly the resident ghost pipefish. The staggered tiers of the neighboring patch reef are home to many different species of nudibranchs, pipefish, sea fans, sponges, and even a few twin-spot lion-fish.
In addition to diving day-time, we’ll offer a night dive every day if conditions are favorable.
Day 2: Gili Lawa Laut
Two famous dive sites await you just north of Gili Lawa Laut Island. Crystal Rock and Castle Rock are both incredible locations, boasting the key elements for an impressive dive site: a wide variety of healthy corals covering the reef, plus tons of fish – both big and small and all sizes in between! There are two more exhilarating dives in this area, Cauldron, and Gili Lawalaut Lighthouse, along with good night dives on healthy hard coral reefs off the island of Gili Lawa Darat. Between the dives, there is a chance to visit Gili Lawa Laut Island and take a short trek to the top of the hill for a beautiful view over the Komodo-Flores channel.
Crystal Rock: The rock jutting out of the surrounding crystal clear waters explains how it got its name. But what is truly memorable here are the large schools of fusiliers and anthias flitting over the gorgeous soft corals and impressive table corals. You may also see at times large tuna, mackerel, and another fish schooling around a small mound to the northwest in the deep blue. A lone eagle ray is often spotted here cruising in the currents.
Castle Rock: Castle Rock is a submerged pinnacle situated a kilometer further north of Crystal Rock. Its exposed location means strong currents, but experienced divers will love the thrills to be had on this dive. The main action comes from watching the staggering amount of fish such as batfish, groupers, midnight snappers, and impressive schools of barracuda and surgeons whipping past. Of course, divers aren’t the only ones interested in the vast amount of fish here, which explains the giant trevally as well as whitetips, blacktips, and grey reef sharks hunting around for their next meal.
Light House: An excellent reef slope that offers a gentle drift dive with some interesting rock outcrops. Whitetip reef sharks are commonly found sleeping on the bottom; giant morays reside in the sweeping sponges. At the right time, aggregations of groupers and large sweetlips impress even the most experienced divers.
Day 3: Gili Lawa Darat
Not far From Gili Lawa Laut, we have the chance to hike up the hill of Gili Lawa Darat to enjoy the fabulous sunset vista looking over Komodo Island. We also have an excellent choice of dive sites such as the Golden Passage, the Cauldron, and Coral Garden, where we can see manta, reef sharks, giant napoleon, giant trevally, dogi tuna, and turtle.
Cauldron: The channel between Gili Lawa Laut and Gili Lawa Darat forms a dive site with interesting topography. The dive starts with a drift along a sloping reef and sandy bottom.
The shallows are extremely rich in fish. Bumphead parrots are common and aggregate here to spawn every year around April. Sharks and schools of batfish also stay in the passage. Crocodile fish and lionfish hunt in the small schools of glassfish, and pygmies and frogfish live here and eagle rays and reef sharks. The dive site then shallows out with the ‘bull ring’ circle opening out and ending in a flat rock plateau and offers a chance to see manta rays.
The Golden Passage: This is a good site for snorkeling, though you are likely to see much damage caused by fish bombing and reef gleaning. The best spot is at the peninsula’s tip, where lots of fish congregate and turtles can be seen cruising the pretty coral reef. Inside the bay along the peninsula’s eastern shore is the start of a good dive site, especially when the current is running from east to west through the narrow strait between Gili Lawa Darat and Komodo island. Swimming towards the point at a depth of between 20 to 25m, we can see much small coral trout, large schools of anchovies, small tuna, and trevallies coming in to feed along the bottom of the drop-off. More and more fish come into sight closer to the point, with garden eels swaying in their hypnotic dance and whitetip reef shark sleeping on the sandy bottom.
Coral Garden: This is a relaxing afternoon dive, where you can spot manta, Bumphead parrots, and a lot of turtles swimming in a fantastic colorful coral garden.
Day 4: Makassar Strait
Following a light breakfast, you will dive at Batu Bolong (Hollow Rock), a world-class dive site in the North of the Komodo Strait. The dramatic underwater landscape with its great walls is home to an incredible variety of sea life and corals. Sharks, giant trevallies, unicorns, rainbow runners, turtles, barracudas, and napoleon wrasse are spotted here frequently. Later in the day, you will enjoy Tatawa Besar, a thrilling drift dive that starts from the northwestern tip of Tatawa and continues down the western side at a depth of 15 to 20 meters. The surrounding fish life is profuse, and you will see an endless field of stunning orange soft corals as you glide along. Swim past coral heads inhabited by schools of sweetlips and batfish and look out for turtles feeding on the reef. Mantas have been encountered here as well. At Makassar Strait, we can see mantas at their cleaning station. This is an exhilarating drift dive along the shallow flat bottom interspersed with patches of coral reef, where there’s a chance to see manta rays, turtles, eagle rays, and white tip and blacktip reef sharks. It’s also an excellent site for snorkeling.
Day 5: Tetawa Besar – Tetawa Kecil – Siaba Island
After one more dive at Tatawa Besar, we’ll sail to Tatawa Kecil, where we’ll dive in a beautiful coral garden with fast currents, an unspoiled reef, and unsurpassed topography comprising boulders, walls, overhangs, and caves. This site is home to vast numbers of groupers, snappers, and trevallies.
The west side of this small rocky outcrop presents a fantastic underwater terrain with enormous rock slabs that have been worn down to form channels, canyons, caves, and swim-throughs. On the north plateau, crocodile fish lies on the scenic reef alongside a host of reef fish and schooling barracuda.
After the dive, we’ll cruise to Siaba Besar and moor offshore for the night. The white beach of Mauan is the perfect place for a sunset barbecue.
Day 6-7: Komodo Island – Pantai Merah – Batu Tiga
Pantai Merah or Pinky Beach is the most frequently visited site in the park. Snorkeling from the beach is excellent, and there is an incredible dive around a rock that breaks the surface but is completely covered at high tide. There is a great variety of tame fish life here and a good selection of critters, including leaf scorpionfish, blue-ribbon eels, crocodile fish, and nudibranchs.
This site is also suitable for night dives. Batu Tiga lies southeast of Tanjung Kuning in the Linta Strait. An excellent big fish dive and without doubt one of the most current-affected sites in Komodo, this dive is for more advanced and experienced divers. A rocky reef extends below the surface out towards Komodo; most of the coral growth here is stunted due to the strong prevailing currents. In the deeper water to the west and below the reef, giant boulders offer excellent habitat for grouper and other creatures. Large grouper, mantas, giant trevally, and other pelagics are frequently seen here.
Bonsai is a small rock northwest of Padar Island with a complex topography of reef walls, slopes, rich overhanging caves, and fantastic hard corals gardens in the shallows. It provides a great big fish dive with napoleon wrasse, white tip reefs, sharks, and schools of fusiliers, and giant trevallies with the right current conditions.
Day 8: Pulau Rinca
Today we’ll dive at Pulau Muana and Pulau Pengah before heading to Rinca to see the famous Komodo Dragons.
Pulau Pengah: Rich hard, and soft coral gardens cover almost every inch of the reef, home to vast schools of long-nosed emperors, turtles, angle fish, and scorpionfish. Sharks patrol in the depths, and jacks play on the edges of the currents.
We’ll arrive at one of Komodo’s main non-diving jumping points in the afternoon, Rinca Island. Here, we’ll hike for up to two and a half hours to see the legendary prehistoric lizard Komodo Dragons. Then, we’ll drop anchor at Bat Island, where thousands of flying foxes make their home in the mangrove forest. The sight of these magnificent bats taking off from the trees at sunset is truly amazing.
Day 9: Departure day
We’ll sail back to Sebayor Island, where we’ll enjoy yet another fantastic snorkeling site before reaching the harbor of Labuan Bajo.
Marine Life: Bumphead parrotfish, bamboo sharks, marble rays, nudibranchs, dusky sharks, jawfish, bubble coral shrimps, leaf fish, porcelain crabs, pygmy seahorses, schools of barracudas, trevally, and mackerel, white tips, black tips, grey reef sharks, turtles, octopus, frogfish, manta rays, dugong, banded pipefishes, mandarin fishes, Wonderpus, Indian WalkmanPlease note that while there is no minimum certification level or a number of dives required, divers with less than 50 dives who have not dived for one year will be required to take a scuba review onboard (underpayment as per price list). The same is required for divers with 51 up to 200 dives who have not dived for two years.