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Dive Review of Grand Komodo Tours & Ddiving/Nusa Tara in
Indonesia/Alor

Grand Komodo Tours & Ddiving/Nusa Tara, Oct, 2006,

by Chrisanda Button/Rickie Sterne, Arkansas, USA . Report 3088.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Bay Islands, Belize, Turks & Caicos, Sea of Cortez, Australia, Fiji, Truk, Yap, and Palau
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 73 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 60 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Due to strong currents, we dove as a group. No one cared if we clicked into deco obligation
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales 1 or 2
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The camera table and charging station was spacious with only three divers on board, but would have been crowded with 6 photographers.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Alor is visited by fewer than 1000 divers per year, but those few divers are fortunate indeed. A week on a liveaboard in Alor is a week in a National Geographic program. Residents of coastal villages paddled past in their dugout canoes, sometimes stopping to sell fish to the cook. Schoolchildren waved to us as we ascended near an elementary school, and everywhere the diving was very good to downright spectacular. The Arches, the Edge, the Boardroom, and School's Out were some of the most richly covered, beautiful walls we have ever seen. A huge variety of hard and soft corals, gorgonians, and sponges vied for our attention. We swam casually past huge barrel sponges and elephant ear sponges (5 feet+) that in many destinations would have been the whole point of a dive. We did visit one site that had suffered damage from dynamite fishing past, but since a colony of two dozen large and bold mandarin fish had taken up residence in the coral rubble it was had to be resentful. Before breakfast on our first day of diving we had seen a large school of huge bumphead parrotfish, blue ribbon eels, several types of scorpionfish, beautiful nudis, and assorted shrimp. When we surfaced, we found ourselves surrounded by a pod of literally hundreds of dolphins. And that wasn't even one of the really good sites. There were masses of fish everywhere in Alor,and numerous and varied nudis, shrimp, and crabs. We saw mantis shrimp, emperor shrimp, anemone shrimp and more. There were acres of anemeones with 8 varieties of anemone fish, woebegong shark, giant frogfish, crocodile fish, stonefish, leaf scorpionfish, sea horses, and more. Kal's Dream was a pair of current-swept pinnacles that would have justified the entire trip. As we had been advised, diving in Alor presented challenges of depth, strong currents, and upwellings and downwellings. However, the skill of our excellent dive guide Anthony always put us in the water at the best time and the best place. The skiff driver followed the divers very closely. Not enough can be said about Anthony's ability to find critters and keep divers safe.
The Nusa Tara is the oldest and smallest of Grand Komodo's fleet. It is a wooden pinisi. While it is a simple boat, we found it comfortable and clean. The boat can accomodate 6 divers, but only 3 were on board for our trip. (thanks for running the trip GKT&D). We thoroughly enjoyed the companionship of a genial German diver. Our cabin in the prow had 2 lower bunks and was larger than the other 2 cabins. All cabins have private baths. While we were limited to one shower per day, and a tepid one at that, there was ample bottled water for drinking and our gear was washed by the crew at week's end. We enjoyed hanging out in the lounge with its Balinese settles. Chef Halim fed us generously and well. The food was mostly Indonesian and delicious. Steward Alwy served the meals family style and kept our cabins very clean. There was also an upper deck covered by an awning so low only I among the divers could stand upright. The dive deck had individual stations with storage baskets beneath the bench, and our wetsuits hung nearby. Anytime divers were entering the water or returing to the boat, 3 crew members stood by to assist us. They provided concierge-level service with smiles and consideration. Grand Komodo takes good care of their divers both on the boat and in transit. We were taken to and from airports by a representative of the company, and at Maumere, Anthony even bargained with Merpati Airlines to reduce our overweight baggage charges. The dive operation was safety conscious as well. And did I mention that the trip was an incredible bargain? Our only complaint was the instant coffee. So next year when we dive with GKT&D again, we'll pack our own coffee pot.
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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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