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Dive Review of Grand Komodo Tours in
Indonesia/Komodo

Grand Komodo Tours, May, 2004,

by Fred Turoff, PA, USA (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 25 reports with 6 Helpful votes). Report 1088.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving BVI, USVI, Saba, St. Lucia, Sea of Cortez, Cayman Brac, Little Cayman, Bonaire, Coco, Revillagigedos, Galapagos, Yap, Belau, Fiji, Sipadan, PNG, Red Sea
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 77 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 10 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions depth limits
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 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 2 stars
Large Pelagics 2 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 boat needs more table room if many are UWP. Two rinse tanks dedicated to cameras is always ready. Crew handled cameras well. No on-board developing, but digital and video were reviewed immediately after dives. Recharging stations are available (220v).

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 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments At $1225 for 8 days, 7 nights, this is a terrific deal. The diving was often in pristine areas with no other boats in the area. Our passenger total was only 4, yet the boat went out with 8 crew. The divemaster, Chris, gave detailed briefings and found many creatures for our viewing. Athough big animals were scarce - we saw fewer than 10 sharks during the week, two mantas where the water was cool (77 degrees) and soupy with plankton (good for them, bad for photos), several large Napolean Wrasse and other large fish, but not in schools - there were so many smaller creatures to dazzle our eyes. Lots of nudibranchs - including Spanish dancers on 2 night dives, cuttlefish both day and night, 2 frogfish, 3 pygmy seahorses on one fan, a reef stonefish, ball of striped catfish at night, blue ribbon eel, ghost pipefish (once), octopi, leaf scorpionfish, crocodilefish, decorator and hermit crabs with anemone cities on their backs, several turtles, clown triggerfish, anemonefish galore. Healthy coral of so many varieties covered with smaller reef fish. Some sites were so beautiful, I just stopped and marvelled at them, especially with overhead sunlight. Protected sites were generally calm or light current. However, two ocean sites (not by islands) had strong currents which blew me off the sites, so I wound up in blue water for a while. But the skiff driver always found me quickly (DiveAlert helped). I'm thin, so I was most comfortable in a light fleece vest with hood and 5 mm body suit in the warmer water (80+), but I used a 6mm hood in cooler water.

The crew was caring and helpful. 3-4 dives per day is the norm. A between-dive trip to Komodo National Park allowed us to see the dragons up close and to see native flora and fauna as we toured a bit with a guide. For evening entertainment, bring some DVDs you want to see, as their selection was limited and mostly bootleg it seemed. We had fresh fish thanks to crew-fishermen several days, plus fresh squid as we were near the squid-fishing fleets twice.

The first day I noticed a diesel smell in the cabin area, but not much afterward (maybe I got used to it). I slept in my cabin only the first night, after which I settled on a mattress with a blanket on the upper deck in 77 degree air with a light breeze. The captain turned off the lights, so it was me and the southern stars - no moon until morning, so the sky was magnificent.

After the trip my dive-buddy and I did a day tour around Bali and were amazed at the craftsmanship of so many natives. Bali is hurting for tourists, so bargains were abundant. We stayed at the beautiful Kartika Hotel in Denpasar, a fine value.

At this writing, I hear Cathay Pacific is offering cheap rt flights from several US cities to Denpasar, so anyone contemplating this trip should consider going later this year. The value of the boat trip is great. I plan to head back this way with this operation in a near future trip for sure, but will visit a different area.
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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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