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Dive Review of Grand Komodo -- Tarata in

Grand Komodo -- Tarata: "Superb diving & value, great guides, only advanced diving--K'rrren!", Jul, 2018,

by Sharon Bailey-Bok, Panama, Panama (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 13 Helpful votes). Report 10353 has 4 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was our first return trip to the KOMODO area since 1996. At that time, we did not see a single other dive boat! Now many live-aboards but more charted sites that the dive guides know well. Excellent week on the MV Tarata. Very reasonably priced and so great value—as with all Grand Komodo trips!
MV TARATA crew is wonderful. From first contact, we knew we were in good hands. We were fortunate that we were two of just four divers and so with two guides, Wayan and Robert, we had great diving freedom. Three dives per day and a night dive were the norm. For us, doing 3 long dives of 70-80+ minutes every day was plenty; but night dives were always offered (or a sunset dive if that was our desire).
The MV Tarata is a bit older than some of the other GK boats but it has been well cared for. Rooms are adequate but the bathrooms are a bit cramped (not unusual on live aboards) so we preferred to shower top-side on the dive deck. The dining room was adequate with coffee/tea/chocolate 24/7. Toast and fruit available very early before diving. Very good breakfasts after the first dive. Most lunches and dinners were good but not great all the time. NOTE: The Indonesian and Asian dishes were great; it was only when the cook tried to make what he thought were “special things for us ‘Westerners’“ that the fare fell short. We noted this to GK &the food should be much improved now on future excursions.
The dive operation on the back deck is very efficient and full tank fills for every dive. As “senior divers,” we appreciate help with our gear into and out of the skiffs and all the MV Tarata crew were helpful always with big smiles.
Good dive briefings important with the great variety of terrains and the very strong currents in the Komodo area. We had some wild rides through “Shot Gun” and other sites where the current was even stronger than expected. But we were rewarded with mantas, eagle rays, sharks, wobbegongs, huge swirling schools of colorful fish, groupings of palette surgeonfish we were delighted to see (their numbers have been greatly reduced since Disney’s “Dory” led to an unfortunate demand for these now rare fish for aquariums—similar to what happened after the “Nemo” film with anemone “clownfish”), many cuttlefish as well as incredible small stuff. We saw a blue-ringed octopus, a wide range of elegant nudibranchs that were “new” to us, and, on a night dive, tiny bobtailed squid! The Indonesian dive guides are really amazing “spotters.”
A big positive surprise was the water temperature! We had remembered being quite cold in Komodo in 1996 but we went at a different time of year. This time in April the water was consistently 82-85 degrees F! Of course there were upwellings that were cold but the overall water temp did not require heavy wetsuits. NOTE: We wear “Aeroskins—California” which are very thin (thicker than lycra) but are made of a “thermolactyl” material which work well for us to 77 degrees F. We did dive in the northern part of the area and we do know that the southern waters can be colder any time of year.
Final note: There is an opportunity on the last day after the last dive to take a skiff to see the Komodo Dragons which is something that visitors really should do. Also, there is a surprise the last night…with a “fruit bats experience” that is very memorable and rewarding.K’rrren! (“Very cool” in Indonesian.)
Websites Grand Komodo -- Tarata   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Recently (2018): Lembeh, Bunaken, Raja Ampat (live aboard and island-based resort), Komodo (live aboard). 2017 Bonaire, Caribbean. Previously those of 2018 & many other sites throughout far eastern Indonesia; Thailand, Seychelles, Maldives, Red Sea, Kenya, Tanzania; Australia;& Caribbean locations
Closest Airport Labuanbajo, Flores Getting There From Denpasar, Bali, direct. New airport to encourage Komodo area tourism.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 82-85°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 20-110 Ft/ 6-34 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions The excellent dive guides were quite flexible especially after they quickly realized that we are very experienced, safety-conscious and skilled. Strong currents had an impact...but our dives were normally 70-80 min.with very shallow dives 90 min. Very accommodating. Max depth for trip 95 ft.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments
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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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