Bluewater Travel and Eco Dive Center Bali-Komodo Trip Recap

Bluewater Travel and Eco Dive Center Bali-Komodo Trip Recap

BALI & KOMODO, INDONESIA

with Bluewater Travel and Eco Dive Center

Words By LISA WALSH

Pictures by Tim Yeo

 

 

Eleven travelers set out on a mid-August Southeast Asian adventure. Eight began their adventure with a pre-quest in Singapore.


  

  

Friday, August 17, 2018

On our first day, we spent the morning checking out the behemoth maze of interconnected air conditioned malls that is Orchard Road, then had lunch at Food Republic. Designed to resemble a historic hawker center during post-independence Singapore, Food Republic offered a variety of uniquely Singaporean street food. We then headed to Emerald Hill No. 5 for drinks, which is an atmospheric place to view Peranakan shop houses and relax with a classic cocktail. Dinner was at the popular outdoor hawker centre, Newton Circus before we capped off the night with drinks at Holland Village, a popular Singaporean and expat drinking destination.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

We met at Gardens By the Bay to explore the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, and Supertree Grove, then walked to Marina Bay Sands (the integrated resort) for lunch in the food court. We followed this up with drinks and the River Cruise at Boat Quay, then dinner at Lau Pa Sat—the grand dame of hawker centres with classic colonial architecture and street-side satay.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

On our final day, we took an impromptu visit to the Singapore Zoo. Situated in lush rainforest, Singapore’s Zoo displays animals in naturalistic, open exhibits. The zoo houses the largest "captive" colony of orangutans in the world—although the orangutans are not caged, but actively roaming around the zoo.

 

Monday, August 20, 2018

After a brief 2-3 hour flight on Singapore Airlines—on which flight attendants in traditional sarong kebayas mixed us Singapore Slings—we touched down in Ngurah Rai International Airport. Once through Indonesian immigrations and customs, we met our drivers who took us to our villa in Jasri Beach. Words are unable to do the villa justice. Villa Mandala was a white stoned, grass-lined, 2-story, 2-pool, 7-bedroom palatial estate overlooking Jasri Beach. We spent the afternoon sipping beer, wine, and cocktails at both pools.


 


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Pick up by dive operator Aquamarine was at 5:15 am. We were ready to finally get into the ocean.

Dive 1: Liberty Wreck, Tulamben - Viz: 40 ft | Temp: 80F | Time In: 7:08 AM | Max Depth: 70 ft | Bottom Time: 57 mins

Dive 2: Liberty Wreck, Tulamben - Viz: 40 ft | Temp: 80F | Time In: 9:52 AM | Max Depth: 81 ft | Bottom Time: 57 mins

Lunch was al fresco at a local resort overlooking the dive site, which offered both local (e.g., nasi goreng, gado gado) and Western (e.g. omelets) dishes.


Dive 3: Drop Off, Tulamben - Viz: 50 ft | Temp: 80F | Time In: 1:19 PM | Max Depth: 81 ft | Bottom Time: 60 mins

Our dives finished for the day, Aquamarine dropped us back off at our villa, where we hung out at the pool. Some stayed back for dinner, while others went out to explore the restaurants and nightlife in the nearby town of Candidasa.


  

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The next day, Aquamarine picked us up at 6 AM, and drove us to a nearby boat, which took us to the island of Nusa Penida.

Dive 4: Crystal Bay, Nusa Penida - Viz: 40 ft | Temp: 77F | Time In: 8:55 AM | Max Depth: 82 ft | Bottom Time: 55 mins

Dive 5: Crystal Bay, Nusa Penida - Viz: 40 ft | Temp: 74F | Time In: 10:50 AM | Max Depth: 73 ft | Bottom Time: 57 mins

Dive 6: Manta Point, Nusa Penida - Viz: 30 ft | Temp: 75F | Time In: 1:25 PM | Max Depth: 71 ft | Bottom Time: 62 mins


  

Thursday, August 23 – Saturday, August 25, 2018

The next day we transferred from Villa Mandala to Villa Heron, another lavish Balianese manor overlooking verdant rice fields with several rooms, a pool, and staff. The next few days were spent exploring the highlands and cultural heartland of Bali: Ubud.

This part of our trip turned into a choose-your-own-adventure-type excursion, with smaller groups breaking out to do a variety of things such as:

• Checking out Ubud’s iconic temples (for example, Uluwatu and Tanah Lot)

• Taking an Instagram Tour of Bali’s most beautiful vistas

• Catching up with the monkeys at the Monkey Forest

• Swinging out over the multi-tiered rice terraces

• Buying beautiful local artisan crafts, such as shirts, dresses, sculptures, and furniture

• Learning to make local dishes in a Balinese cooking class

• Enjoying Bali’s version of musical theatre, such as the Kecak Fire dance and Barong Trance dance


  

Sunday, August 26, 2018

We left Villa Heron at 7 am to catch our group flight from Ngurah Rai Airport to Komodo for our final destination: M.Y. Oceanic Liveaboard Boat. The Oceanic was a beautiful white liveaboard boat, with large, comfortable deck spaces and a separate camera room to charge and store cameras. The cabins were wood-paneled and tastefully decorated in the Indonesian style; the beds were large and comfortable.

Dive 7: Bidadari - Viz: 20 ft | Time In: ~3:45 PM | Bottom Time: ~60 mins

Dive 8: Bidadari - Viz: 40 ft | Temp: 81F | Time In: 6:48 PM | Max Depth: 63 ft | Bottom Time: 57 mins

After a long day of travel and diving, we ate a delicious dinner in the main cabin. Over the course of the trip, our chefs would feed us tempeh, tofu, fish, beef, chicken, fried rice, fried noodles, gado gado, steamed vegetables, Spanish omelets, fresh fruit and fruit juices, and more. All dietary needs were met (e.g., pescatarian and vegan).

After dinner, some divers stayed up to drink and talk, while others went to bed to be ready for our early AM wake-up the next day.

    

Monday, August 27, 2018

Dive 9: Horseshoe Reef - Viz: 80 ft | Temp: 81F | Time In: 7:26 AM | Max Depth: 84 ft | Bottom Time: 53 mins

Dive 10: Siaba Kecil - Viz: 80 ft | Temp: 79F | Time In: 11:15 AM | Max Depth: 65 ft | Bottom Time: 46 mins

Dive 11: Secret Garden - Viz: 20 ft | Temp: 76F | Time In: 2:48 PM | Max Depth: 72 ft | Bottom Time: 57 mins


  

After our third dive of the day, we donned footwear, boarded the zodiac boats, and sped toward one of the nearby islands. We then walked a couple hundred stairs—some of us huffing and puffing more than others—to the top of a mountain where our eyes met a stunning view of the desert-landscaped Komodo islands set against blue waters. We soaked in the spectacular sunset views and took several photos before walking back down to enjoy one last night dive.

Dive 12: Padar Beach - Viz: 30 ft | Temp: 74F | Time In: 6:43 PM | Max Depth: 40 ft | Bottom Time: 47 mins


    

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Dive 13: 3 Sisters - Viz: 40 ft | Temp: 74F | Time In: 7:23 AM | Max Depth: 97 ft | Bottom Time: 40 mins

Dive 14: Karang Makassar - Viz: 60 ft | Temp: 80F | Time In: 10:57 AM | Max Depth: 47 ft | Bottom Time: 72 mins

Dive 15: Batu Bolong - Viz: 80 ft | Temp: 76F | Time In: 3:15 PM | Max Depth: 93 ft | Bottom Time: 55 mins

Dive 16: Wainilu - Viz: 60 ft | Temp: 79F | Time In: 6:33 PM | Max Depth: 66 ft | Bottom Time: 54 mins


  

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

We began our morning at Rinca Island to see the infamous Komodo dragons. One zodiac boat ferried us over in two groups to a long wooden dock, where we walked down a curved dirt trail to a massive welcome sign flanked by giant Komodo dragon statues. It felt as though we were entering a desert version of Jurassic Park. The dirt trail became a raised wooden walkway, which we followed to the ranger station.

  

As we walked through the desert terrain, our guide showed us 5-7 Komodo dragons and their nest. He taught us many things about the dragons. Komodo dragons can live up to 30 years. The mothers make their nests by chasing large birds out of their nests, then digging a deeper hole. Komodo dragon mothers dig four holes, then lay their eggs in one hole—the other three holes serve as decoys. During our walk, we summited another small mountain on the islands to glimpse the desert terrain of the island, the green mangrove swamps, and aquamarine waters. Once finished with our visit, we returned to our liveaboard boat, and began diving.

    

Dive 17: Tengah Kecil - Viz: 80 ft | Temp: 79F | Time In: 11:20 AM | Max Depth: 63 ft | Bottom Time: 61 mins

Dive 18: Castle Rock - Viz: 80 ft | Temp: 81F | Time In: 3:17 PM | Max Depth: 97 ft | Bottom Time: 41 mins

Dive 19: North Komodo - Viz: 40 ft | Temp: 81F | Time In: 6:39 AM| Max Depth: 73 ft | Bottom Time: 50 mins

  

  

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Dive 20: Shotgun - Viz: 80 ft | Temp: 80F | Time In: 7:24 AM | Max Depth: 57 ft | Bottom Time: 56 mins

Dive 21: Golden Passage - Viz: 80 ft | Temp: 79F | Time In: 11:19 AM | Max Depth: 40 ft | Bottom Time: 38 mins

Dive 22: Crystal Rock - Viz: 80 ft | Temp: 80F | Time In: 2:45 PM | Max Depth: 90 ft | Bottom Time: 57 mins

Dive 23: Golden Slope - Viz: 60 ft | Temp: 78F | Time In: 6:50 PM | Max Depth: 60 ft | Bottom Time: 55 mins

  

Friday, August 31, 2018

Dive 24: Castle Rock - Viz: 80 ft | Temp: 80F | Time In: 7:20 AM | Max Depth: 70 ft | Bottom Time: 64 mins

Dive 25: Tatawa Besar - Viz: 80 ft | Temp: 81F | Time In: 11:22 AM | Max Depth: 62 ft | Bottom Time: 65 mins

  

Our dives for the trip finished, we spent the rest of the day hanging out on the comfortable middle deck of the liveaboard—listening to music, mixing drinks, and taking turns jumping off the boat into the incredibly blue waters. It was a perfect end to a perfect trip. At sunset, cruise director, Hugo, directed us to the top deck of the liveaboard to watch an endless stream of bats flying overhead—streaking out of some unknown origin into the dark, and away. There had to be thousands of them. The boat then motored back to Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores for the night. Half the group took the zodiac boats to the shore for one last night on the town.

  

Saturday, September 1, 2018

On our last day, we met in the main cabin at 7 am to say our goodbyes to the crew, then took the zodiacs to a dock, where the liveaboard arranged for 3 vans to transfer us and our luggage to Komodo Airport. We checked in for our flight back to Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali, with many of us connecting through Singapore to various flights headed back toward the U.S.

All-in-all, this was an exceptional trip. From the skyscrapers of Singapore to the temples of Bali to the stunning desert islands of Komodo National Park, we had yet another unforgettable adventure with fun-loving scuba friends. Eco and Bluewater trips always make for an awesome and enjoyable experience.

- Lisa Walsh

 

HOW TO BOOK A TRIP TO INDONESIA

Bluewater Travel has many years of experience booking and leading group and individual trips to all destinations in Indonesia, including Bali, Komodo, Raja Ampat and more. We can book you on any liveaboard or resort in Indonesia for the same cost or less than booking any other way.

We know the diving, accommodation, rooms, cabins and when to go better than anyone else!

 

Email us at info@bluewaterdivetravel.com and tell us that you read this article to get $100 off your next personal dive trip to Indonesia. Conditions apply. 

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