Snorkeling Safari in Komodo National Park

Snorkeling Safari in Komodo National Park


Posted 2023-08-01 by Karen Rossfollow
About one hour by air from Bali is the pristine Komodo National Park. Divers and snorkelers have known of this magnificent place for some time. I made my first visit recently and wondered why on earth I had waited so long to discover its awesome splendour.

Two of us had booked a five-day snorkeling trip on The Wunderpus . It seems there are many options for diving and snorkeling trips from the small town of Labuan Bajo but this one came highly recommended by friends who had already enjoyed a trip.

After two days of exploring Labuan Bajo and enjoying the abundant seafood offered here, we excitedly boarded our boat. There are only four cabins on board so our small group comprised just eight people. My fears of inadequacy were allayed when I realised that only two of them were experienced divers and the rest were snorkelers like me.

On boarding the boat we were welcomed with breakfast, coffee and lots of information before being shown to our allocated cabins.

We had wisely opted to travel light and had only to find space for minimal amounts of clothing, basic toiletries and a large tube of sunscreen. The cabin was certainly big enough to accommodate two snorkelers and the contents of two backpacks. There was air conditioning and a porthole for fresh air. The bed was comfy and the sound of gentle waves lapping against the hull was soothing.

The bathroom was small, of course, but I was reassured to see a flushing toilet. Some home comforts are hard to live without.

Once we had unpacked and settled in we headed back up on deck for the first of a series of daily briefings given by host Pieter. We learned of weather conditions, tides and the creatures we could expect to see below the surface.

Feeling well prepared and full of anticipation our group decamped to a dinghy and headed off to our first dive/snorkel site.

The fabulous support crew on board The Wunderpus were super organised and laid out all necessary equipment, labelled appropriately for each group member. Pieter had instructed us on how to systematically remove and place equipment items accordingly on our return from each trip and everything proceeded like clockwork.

With these practicalities taken care of we were free to enjoy the fascinating sights that welcomed us the moment we hit the water. There were fish of every size and colour from tiny Nemos to large sharks. I lost count of how many turtles I saw. The coral gardens were stunning.

We had a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a playful manta who flirted with us for over half an hour. Peter seemed to know exactly the right time and place, each day, to maximise our fun.

Snorkeling is hard work and we needed sustenance throughout each day. Needless to say, the super-crew were not only masters of organisation but they knew how to cook. Each breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner was both delicious and nutritious. In between each meal, there were biscuits and tropical fruits available for nibblers. Did I mention cold beer?

Three diving/snorkelling trips were scheduled each day with a few land-based trips to mix things up a little. One such trip involved a walk on Rinca Island to see Komodo Dragons close up.

We saw plenty of these prehistoric-looking creatures and even saw some moving. Most, however, were slow and sleepy, making it hard to believe the stories of how they run down deer and other small animals for food. Rumour has it they've chomped a few small humans too so we didn't venture too close.

The rangers explained that these dragons always travel in a straight line rather than turning and this is why each ranger carries a forked stick. If a dragon is heading towards a human, someone changes their direction of travel by using the forked stick to move their head in a different direction. Nature is weird.

Another excursion saw our group climbing a small mountain to see the sun setting over the sea. It was quite a strenuous exercise but Pieter gallantly carried an eskie full of cold beer as a reward for the walkers at sunset.

Days on board The Wunderpus were action-packed and full of wonder. We spent our evenings eating, drinking, chatting and occasionally bargaining for trinkets with visiting trinket sellers.

We saw a few other boats although Komodo National Park is, at this stage, a tranquil paradise for marine enthusiasts wishing to embrace life above and beneath the sea.

I loved my time on The Wunderpus and highly recommend this trip to others contemplating a snorkelling adventure. I'd go as far as to say it's a Trip of a Lifetime.

260689 - 2023-07-20 02:40:07


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