The True Flores’ Flowers: Hidden Beauty Underneath the Waves
The island known for its fiery dragons, Flores, might not appear remotely anything like the name means; a flower. Maybe the Portuguese who named this island to have another reason entirely, given this island doesn’t exactly have a lush blooming garden sprouting from its soil. The main island has its unique spider-web rice fields that spread through the western part, but the greeneries seem to get drier until it turns into vast savannah fields in the Komodo Islands and the surrounding islets. Though flower-free, the blooming beauty of Flores seems to lie hidden from the seeing eyes—in the seabed underneath the turquoise water.
Once one is submerged underwater, it’s clear why this island was named after the Portuguese “Flower”. Acres of beautiful coral reefs of all shapes and colors spread across the ocean floor, with all sorts of tropical fishes darting back and forth. Unlike the barren land above, vibrant marine life blooms where the water rules.
Thousands of diving and snorkeling enthusiasts flock to Flores to experience its crazy rich marine biodiversity with its own eyes—and you might be one. But before you go, here are some essential things you need to know about diving in Komodo.
Best Time to Go Diving in Komodo
Being in a tropical country, essentially Komodo is open for diving all year round. However, take notes on the wet and dry seasons that govern the climate. Flores enjoyed the dry season from May to September, when the sun shines and the water is calm. The visibility is high during this season and it’s possible to visit three to four dive sites in one day, should time allows. The wet season comes around February to April and the rain makes rougher seas, a reason why few liveaboard sail during this period.
January to March is the best time to see Manta Rays in the southern Komodo water. The visibility reaches 30 meters (100ft), which is best for diving. However, you need to take extra precautions due to the possibility of rougher seas.
Some boats open diving trips to Komodo in December and it’s simply one of the best ways to spend the year-end holiday. It is not the peak season to travel to Komodo, so the crowd would be less as high. It’s the beginning of the wet season so expect some drizzle during your diving trip. Don’t forget to pack your raincoat.
The beginning of April to late March is the creme de la creme of diving in Komodo. The rainy season has just passed, the hills are green and lush, and the Manta Rays are still hanging around. It is also the shoulder season, meaning there would be fewer tourists than during the peak season. How nice it would be to be able to explore a dive site without a pack of day trip divers at every turn!
July to August is the peak season in Komodo, both for the Komodo National Park and the diving sites underneath. The water is quite warm compared to other months and the currents is just right for both snorkeling and diving. The weather will be all nice and sunny, with some chilly winds at night. It’s perfect especially if you don’t mind sharing the dive sites with a pack of other tourists—it’s the high season after all!
The Water Condition in Komodo
When we are talking about diving in Komodo, we are not talking about the single Komodo Island. We are talking about diving in the whole Komodo archipelago; the north, south, and central sites.
The north sites covered the famous Crystal Rock, Castle Rock, the Lighthouse, and Batu Tiga. Usually, the water temperature is warm, ranging around 27º – 28ºC (81º – 82ºC). Visibility is great as it reaches around 25 – 140 meter (82 – 130 ft). It has streams of strong currents so it’s only best for the advanced and pro divers. The currents make some great drift dives that divers with high buoyancy skills and adventurous souls would love.
The south of Komodo houses Pillerstein, the Three Sisters, Padar Bay, and Secret Garden. The south receives upwellings that bring considerably colder water and an abundance of marine life, though the region is renowned for its variety of micro creatures. The southern sites are best visited between October and April because that is when it rains the most and visibility is the best. In contrast to the north, the southern sites are affected by high waves in the middle of the year.
In the heart of the Komodo archipelago are Tatawa Besar and Tatawa Kecil, Batu Bolong, Manta Point, and a dozen other dive sites. The majority of the key sites are centered around Komodo and Rinca Island. As a result, there are lots of sheltered dive spots that are great for beginners for quick drift dives. The primary manta cleaning stations are located in the famous “Manta Alley,” which has earned the moniker. The area is incredibly diverse, with numerous magnificent coral walls and gardens, a wide variety of smaller pelagic species, and a lot of macro life.
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