Life is never as amazing as when we share the special moments with our loved ones. When looking for a unique experience to share with our dear friends visiting us from Brazil, Fernanda, and Claudinho, we came across diving in Komodo Island, a board of Alexa. Nothing sounded to beat such a beautiful boat navigating towards one of the best diving spots on earth (CNN Survey 2015).
It was early morning when we flew from Bali to Labuan Bajo, Indonesia. Located on the westernmost tip of Flores, the town of Labuan Bajo is a small fishing village used as the launching point for trips to Komodo Island. From Labuan Bajo, we kicked off a journey aboard of the stunning woodwork and white painted Alexa.
Why diving in Komodo Island is so spectacular?
The Komodo National Park includes one of the world’s richest marine environments. It consists of over 260 species of reef-building coral, 70 different species of crustaceans, cartilaginous (including manta ray and sharks) and over a 1,000 different species of fishes, as well as marine reptiles and mammals (dolphins and whales). The Park lies in the Wallacea Region of Indonesia, identified by WWF and Conservation International as a global conservation priority area. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is located in the center of the Indonesian archipelago, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. It includes three major islands: Komodo, Rinca, and Padar, as well as numerous smaller islands creating a total surface area (marine and land) of more than 1,800 km2. With such a rich marine biodiversity, diving in Komodo waters is a dream for anyone who is passionate about the undersea world. It’s not the above the water that’s important here, but the rest of it. This is one of the best dive sites on the planet.
Our first dive safari was at Siaba Besar, which is a fantastic dive location in North Komodo. The beautiful coral garden lies along the western coast of the island with currents pushing towards the south. Blacktip sharks, barracudas, snappers, and turtles were spotted during this dive. The more you go south, the stronger is the current and, of course, the more exciting it gets.
Shining in the Indonesian heat, an open beach blushes a shade of pink. Our next dive site was at Pink Beach, one of the seven pink beaches in the world. Its colour comes from the red coral in the shallow waters and is just one of the many amazing features of the island.
The highlight of the trip, however, was the following day. The morning dive happened at the Manta Point, famous for its aggregations of manta rays. It’s a spot where manta rays are often encountered, and It is said to be a favorite place for diving. We, on the other hand, never saw any other person there. We were only four of us (+ Michael, the dive instructor) swimming among around 15 giant mantas, trying to hold firm on the rocks to avoid being drifted away by the current.
Overwhelmed by the Manta Point, we headed in the same afternoon to our final dive destination. Golden Passage is a surprising drift dive. It’s better to be done in rising tide when the current pushes east to west. The corals are stunning, the most beautiful I’ve seen in my life (and that includes the Maldives) and the deeper you go the more marine life you’ll find there waiting for you. We crossed the channel about 20 meters deep surrounded by pristine landscapes.
The Island and its dragon
Although the highlight of this trip was the dive safari, the Island offers way more than that. Spotting the Komodo dragon in the wild is one example. When Komodo National Park was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature in 2011 by CNN, this lesser known region of eastern Indonesia became a sensation among wildlife lovers keen to see Komodo dragons – the last largest living prehistoric lizards on earth. Of course, we also didn’t want to miss the opportunity. After one hour trekking in the park, we spotted the first dragon. An endangered species, Komodo dragons are believed to number less than 4,000 in the wild. Access to them is restricted, but travellers can get permits to see them in their natural habitat within the National Park.
With the bones of an original phinisi, a former cargo boat is transformed into the most romantic sailing boat in Indonesia, or in the world
“A single-cabin vessel in Indonesia has been built for a love affair” – I read somewhere. We were not exactly looking for a romantic boat when we came across Alexa — especially when travelling with two friends. However, after understanding its concept – the sophistication of simplicity, we wanted nothing less than Alexa to take us to Komodo. A boat for two, as it is, has only one suite for one couple. We all knew that. Although very comfortable, Max and I never intended to sleep in it. We wanted to miss nothing of the star-pricked wilderness. Instead, we slept in the open on the upper deck.
Alexa is the manifestation of a dream. A dream of ultimate sophistication, absolute privacy, free spirit and the best of any service you can think of. The relaxed vibe combined with the simplicity of every single detail created by the power of white are the key to make Alexa a very private affair – to be shared only with the ones you love. The manta rays, sharks, turtles were incredible and each dive was different from the other. Coming back to the boat for a massage and a delicious dinner or going over to a beach and watch the sunset – we had a remarkable time onboard.
Since leaving Labuan Bajo, I’ve seen just two other dive boats around Komodo Island. I’ve hiked on empty mountains, spotted giant dragons and had the best dives of my life. I’ve eaten world class food on board of the most beautiful white sailing boat surrounded by the people I love. This without even the light of a single fishing boat on the horizon. I hope I can go back to that long weekend, one day.
We travelled across the Komodo Island, Indonesia, a board of Alexa from April 18th to 20th, 2014 (3-day trip). Alexa offers the liveaboard which includes accommodation, meals, dive instructor, and private guides. We flew with Singapore Airlines to Bali and with Trans Nusa to Labuan Bajo.
In the bag: Beachwear only.