Empress: Komodo Season 2018 summary

Diving in Komodo is on top of the list of many divers. And for good reason. Pristine reefs, abundant marine life and off course sharks and Manta Rays. But what most divers seem to overlook, is the strong currents that makes these waters of Komodo the ideal environment for this marine diversity.

Our staff on Empress II chose the best dive sites for our guests to give them the best opportunity to experience everything Komodo has to offer. The 2018 dive season in Komodo lived up to it’s reputation, and so much more.

Castle Rock was for many guests the highlight because of the sheer number of fish and sharks that swam around them while they relaxed in the strong current, hooked in safely with their reef hooks. Crystal Rock was also a big hit because of the colorful soft coral decorating the site. If the current was favorable a visit to the pigmy seahorses was always welcome. And there were a few lucky groups that could do their safety stop with the resident eagle ray. This eagle ray, identified by its short tail, would sometimes swim with the divers if they approach slow and in a non-threatening manner.

After diving Shotgun, there would usually be two different reactions from our guests. One would be “Are you trying to kill me, taking us diving in such strong current?” But mostly their reaction would be “That was so much fun. Can we please do it again”. This is indeed an epic dive site. Very strong current and usually loads of Manta Rays and sharks. Even if there were no Mantas, this site is one heck of a ride if you have good diving skills and control over you emotions.

It’s not only at Shotgun where you can expect to see Manta Rays. Makassar Reef (also known as Manta Point) is usually a good bet to see Mantas. Even snorkelers come here to see them and it is not unusual to find groups of up to 5 mantas hovering over cleaning stations. Close to Makassar Reef is Tatawa Kecil and Bato Bolong. These two sites have the most beautiful reefs in Komodo. Although there are strong currents here too (pay attention to your guide not get caught in a down current) it’s possible to hide from it. That’s when most divers say, it felt like they were swimming in a fish tank.

Although we can teach you to become an advance diver on Empress II (and we are happy to do so), save diving in Komodo until you have a fair amount of experience. With the strong currents and abundant marine life, as a beginner diver you will most likely have a sensory overload and not be able to take in everything Komodo has to offer. And if you are a beginner or experienced diver, after your first visit to Komodo with us, you will want to come back again and again.

Jan Venter, MV Empress Cruise Director