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Dive Review of Grand Komodo -- Nusa Tara in
Indonesia/Komodo & Rinca Islands

Grand Komodo -- Nusa Tara, Dec, 2012,

by Jennifer Widom, CA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 6845.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments (Note we submitted the same review to Tripadvisor)

In short: Highly recommended inexpensive first-rate liveaboard trip

Now the long version...

The Diving: We've been diving for more than 20 years in many places considered among the world's best, so it's tough to find a new location that lives up. Komodo definitely met the challenge. The diving is considered "advanced" due to strong currents, cool-water upwellings, and variable visibility, and we agree it shouldn't be undertaken lightly, although with 3mm wetsuits (plus occasional hoods), strong legs, and reef hooks on hand, we were always comfortable. The reefs are very healthy, with abundant macro creatures, medium-sized goodies like frogfish, leaffish, cuttlefish, crocodile fish, octopi, etc., and plenty of turtles, sharks, rays, and other pelagics. I don't know if we were exceptionally lucky, but one of our manta dives easily beat any we've done elsewhere, with constant companionship of numerous mantas. We dove north Komodo in December-January, meaning visibility was down in the 30-50' range on some dives, but it didn't bother us. We did four one-hour dives each day, with two dives the day we boarded, and two morning dives our last full day on the boat -- the dragon trip (below) filled the afternoon as we off-gassed before our flights the following day.

The Boat: The Nusa Tara is inexpensive even for an Indonesian liveaboard (not counting the rundown ones catering to the backpacker set). It has two quite small double cabins and one quite large one, which turned out to be ideal for our family of four: We paid the single supplement for our teenage kids, meaning we had the entire boat to ourselves with comfortable accommodations for all. The cabins are nothing fancy and again two of them are quite small, but they're air conditioned, ensuite with large bathrooms, clean, and everything works. The boat has a pleasant salon that would be plenty spacious even for six, a shaded upper deck perfect for relaxing and reading, and a roomy enough dive suiting-up area (most diving is from the dinghy). We really enjoyed the boat and could easily have spent another week on it.

Crew, Service, and Food: The four of us had a crew of seven (!): captain, engineer, trip director and head dive guide, assistant dive guide, cook, dinghy driver, and server/cleaner. The crew were immensely cheerful and helpful -- we could hardly lift a finger. If there was anything to complain about, their English skills were fairly minimal, with even the trip director just getting by. We had no problem communicating what was needed on our very smooth trip, but it's hard to know how it would have gone had serious difficulties arisen. As for the food, we loved it: Every meal included several different, elaborately-prepared, delicious dishes -- primarily Indonesian with occasional Western thrown in, including chicken, freshly caught fish, shrimp and calamari, and vegetarian. Hot drinks were always available; soft drinks and beer for a reasonable price.

Dragons: We took the standard ranger-led walk on Rinca Island (there's a similar one on Komodo), where we saw a number of dragons lounging by the cookhouse and a few in the wild. However, a beach on the south side of Rinca where we anchored for a couple of nights also had several dragons wandering around. Sitting in the dinghy at the edge of the surf was a great chance to safely observe and photograph them.

Agent: We used Worldwide Dive and Cruise to book the trip. We came across their website at random, but it was their agent Ksenia who asked a few questions about where we'd been and what we like in a dive trip, then suggested Komodo. She was spot on. She also gave us a 5% discount and booked our domestic flights. We'll definitely use them again.

Other Activities: Our international flights were in and out of Bali so we spent a couple of nights in pleasant Ubud. Our major activity aside from the diving was a four-day trek up Mt. Rinjani on Lombok Island -- challenging and highly recommended for those of you who like some hiking to complement your underwater activities.
Websites Grand Komodo -- Nusa Tara   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Worldwide
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy, cloudy Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 77-83°F / 25-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30-80 Ft/ 9-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None that bothered us
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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