When we headed out to the island of Flores, Indonesia it was in search of an infamous and rare predator. The Komodo dragon, found on only five islands in the world. The Komodo dragon is the largest living species of lizard, growing up to 150 pounds and over ten feet long. Recent studies have found that a bite from a Komodo dragon contains both venom and a mix of bacteria that is found in their mouth. This combination allows the Komodo dragon to take down full grown water buffalo, deer, wild pigs and even their own freshly hatched young. This habit of cannibalizing infant Komodo dragons leads young dragons to spend the first few years of their lives in the trees around the islands. These beasts reminded me of an ancient dinosaur, and I could easily see them not changing much since that time period.
Komodo National Park gets even better under the waves and has some of the best and most diverse scuba diving in the world. We visited the national park each day with a quick boat ride (1 – 2 hours, depending on the dive site) from Labuan Bajo, Indonesia. There are tons of different options in this little town with just about every company offering full dive packages all the way up to live aboard options.
The diving in the national park is some of the best we have come across to date. We were blown away at the amount of macro life we came across during our dives, not to mention the giant turtles, manta rays, sting rays, eagle rays, and the huge numbers of fish. I often found myself looking at something amazing in the corals only to look up and spot a giant Manta Ray swimming over our head. Additionally, the geography of the area leads to some fast currents during tidal changes. We found this out first hand when we dove the “Cauldron” it is bowl like dive site that has an exit point called “The Shotgun”. You can see in the video how strong the current was if you keep an eye on our bubbles blowing straight behind us! Our dive master said there are days when the current is so strong it will rip your mask off if you look up while anchored to the rocks. The video also shows a few people with the current pressing on their secondary air source and releasing the contents of their tank. This made for a sweet video, but also meant they lost all their air and had to end the dive early.
We can’t recommend diving in Komodo National Park enough, and will hopefully be able to return one day to visit again.