We recently received our advanced diving certification on a Komodo liveaboard with Uber Scuba Komodo. I went from having nightmares about scuba diving to loving it. We fell in love with the underwater world while completing our Open Water Course in Bali last year. Our goal is to dive the Darwin and Wolf Islands in Galapagos one day, which means we need more XP to level up in this scuba game.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re planning a Komodo liveaboard:
What is a liveaboard?
You live on a boat for a couple of days and follow this cycle: eat, sleep, dive, repeat.
Why should I choose liveaboards over day trips?
Liveaboards allow divers to explore dive sites that are difficult to reach on day trips. Divers have the advantage to get to sites before day trippers and see marine life that are only visible at certain hours (early mornings and late nights).
How do I even get to Komodo?
Komodo National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site made up of 29 islands. Labuan Bajo, a fishing town on the western tip of Flores, is the entry port to Komodo.
Tip: Wings and Garuda Indonesia are the recommended airlines. Flight time from Bali is just over 1.5 hour.
Why Komodo and what kind of marine life will I see?
Komodo National Park is where the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean meet. The currents are intense, which means Komodo offers some of the richest marine biodiversity on Earth. It’s like being in a massive aquarium. On top of the bijillion species of fish that I can’t name, we also saw tons of sharks, mantas, turtles, stingrays, nudis, and cuttlefish… even a pygmy squid (the size of your fingernail) on our night dive!
How experienced do I have to be to join a Komodo liveaboard?
It’s recommended that divers have a minimum of Adventure Deep dive since most of these sites have strong currents and are deeper than 18m. If you are only Open Water certified, you can do your Advanced Course on board like we did.
If you don’t want to take the full Advanced Course you can opt for individual Deep and Night Adventure courses. You can simply sit out on these dives if you don’t want any training at all, but you’ll probably end up missing most of the fun stuff.
Just how strong are the currents in Komodo?
Pretty damn strong. Komodo has up and down, and even roller coaster type currents. We were exhausted after Tatawa Besar and had a difficult time hooking onto rocks at The Cauldron!
HOWEVER, the divemasters and crew know these dive sites like the back of their hands. They would jump into sea for a quick final check of currents before we all back-rolled in. Leave it to the pros to determine when to dive where.
What can I expect on a Komodo liveaboard?
If you choose a phenomenal dive operator like we did you’ll be in good hands. You’ll swim and dive in crystal clear waters, feast on gourmet meals, see Komodo dragons up close, and witness breathtaking sunrises and sunsets every day. An amazing crew will help with your heavy equipment and make sure you have dry fluffy towels after dives.
Oh yea, you get to befriend some pretty rad people along the way!
Are there things to do other than diving on a Komodo liveaboard?
Yes! Our package included a trek on Rinca Island to see the famous lizards that can only be found in Komodo National Park: the Komodo Dragons. We also hiked up Gili Lawa Darat to catch the sunset one evening.
You can go snorkeling, swimming, or SUP-ing any time you want. On our last evening, the crew prepared a BBQ dinner on a secluded beach. They played music and sang for us, and even taught us some dance moves!
Waiting for the sunset on Gili Lawa Darat, one of 29 islands that make up Komodo National Park, a #UNESCO World Heritage Site. No, there are no Komodo dragons on this island but we did see them on Rinca! 🇮🇩💦 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ —————————— ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @uberscubakomodo @uberscubakomodoliveaboard #komodonationalpark #divekomodo #wonderfulindonesia #komodoliveaboard #amalialiveaboard #scubadiving #uberscuba #ssi #flores #amalialiveaboard #vistindonesia
How do I choose the right operator for my Komodo liveaboard?
No one feels comfortable wiring such a large sum of money in advance, especially when shady boats and scams are all too common in Indonesia. Do your research; be wary of operators with sketchy reviews where the reviewer has only posted once (*cough* fake news).
I came across horror stories where people would pay up front, only to find that the dive center is nonexistent when they land in Labuan Bajo. Others end up in dirty and worst of all, unsafe boats.
Ask lots of questions: Is the dive centre PADI and/or SSI certified? What’s included/excluded from the total cost? Is the boat you paid for the actual boat you’re getting on?
After hours of scouring reviews and forums we decided on Uber Scuba, which proved to be the best decision ever! The staff were quick and helpful in responding my never-ending questions. Our boat, The Amalia, was exactly what we had expected.
What was The Amalia like?
Uber Scuba uses Amalia for liveaboard trips. It has 5 sleeping cabins, an upper sun deck with comfy day beds, and a spacious outdoor dining area connected to an indoor saloon and kitchen. Juices, tea, coffee, and snacks are available throughout the day.
Note: The double en-suites are perfect for couples. We had a private bathroom (marine toilet!) in our small but clean cabin.
The crew does an amazing job in keeping the whole boat tidy, including the wet station. Each of us had a designated spot for our BCD’s, tanks, fins and weights. The only thing you have to be responsible for is to hang your wet suit up after every dive.
How much does a Komodo liveaboard cost?
Our 3-night Komodo liveaboard in the en-suite cabin came to $890USD per person, plus an additional $200USD for the Advanced Course. This includes everything except for the Park fees and alcoholic drinks. Not bad at all, especially when liveaboards in the Galapagos or Palau are in the thousands!
Disclaimer: This post was done in partnership with Uber Scuba Komodo. As always, our opinions and experiences are honest and our own. We wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!
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