July 31, Wicked Divers, Sabalon Island, just outside Komodo National ParkMy logged dives #1228-1229
Find Sabolan Islands on this map just northwest of Lambuanbajo
We're heading for Lombok tomorrow. If bandwidth is better there I might try and upload videos; otherwise they will be forthcoming on my return to UAE soon, so stay tuned
Bobbi and I booked on the 'big' (bigger than the alternative) Perama boat leaving Labuanbajo Aug 1 bound for Lombok and due to arrive there Aug 1. We got a cabin, $200 each for the trip, which includes 3 nights on the boat and stops at Rincon to see dragons and at other places in Sambawa like Mayo for snorkeling. We are due to arrive in Mataram or Singgigi the evening of Aug 3.
Meanwhile we had a day to kill, and where to spend it, seeing mantas or sharks, or just a quick hop local dive to a nearby island, bet back early, and not hassle currents. Bobbi seemed happy with the latter prospect so we booked a boat just the two of us with Wicked Divers for $75 each of us for a short nearby, 45 minute distant, island that is not really in Komodo park. I suppose that's why its coral did not seem as pristine as with the other sites, and possibly because bombing has been done here, there were not so many fish as there are inside the park, or maybe if we had been there another day, we would have seen plenty. Our guide Christin said that sharks were often seen here (we didn't see any) but then again the last few boats to go to Makassar Reef didn't see manta/s either, so to describe a dive site on the basis of one day diving it is a little like a blind man describing an elephant.
On the day we were joined by a couple of wholesome looking but slightly chubby Swedish girls (they'll never find my blog, right?) so we had others in our group. The girls were fun to chat with, but our diving today was on the least interesting part of the Komodo diving elephant, though it was relaxing and pleasant, exactly what we had bargained for. On the first dive I remember a green moray, garden eels and just after that some barracuda just ahead of our group. Along the reef we were bothered by the most annoying batfish that tried to swim in the way of any photos we might be taking. Apart from these highlights there were the usual critters. We got down to 26.5 meters and dive time around 58 min.
Bobbi and I went snorkeling during our surface interval at an idyllic beach location, with turquoise water turning to deep blue where the sand sloped downwards. Right here we saw a hundred or so small squid aimed in a line all the same way with the youngest (smallest) at the end of the line. I continued over some coral and this is where, half an hour later, we began our dive with intent to go north, the way the captain said the current was running. But instead we were pushed to the south and drifted that way over a lengthy stretch of nothing until we finally picked up coral on the other side and continued our drift.
This dive was a little more interesting than the first one. We found a couple of blue spotted rays, always fun the way they ripple along the bottom, kicking up sand at they go, not as graceful as their cousins. Bobbi said she saw two turtles, one at the beginning of the dive and one at the end, which we followed on our safety stop. I found a scorpion fish hiding in a small cabbage coral and we saw a couple of clutches of crayfish.