Recently I was lucky enough to lead our first West side Komodo trip. Having worked in Komodo for some years, I spent nearly all my time in the main park area. It goes without saying I was excited to go and see the west side and what it had to offer. That side of Komodo is very remote and untouched. No day boats from the busy town of Labuan Bajo are able to cover that distance. Making this area very quiet with only a handful of liveaboards stopping there. So having mind blowing reefs to ourselves became normal.
Staying on the island of Sumbawa at the resort Kalimaya. A beautiful small boutique resort situated on the seafront facing Komodo. Surrounded by beautiful scenery and local villages dotted on the coast. With a 1.5 hour car journey over the mountains to reach here, you really get the feel of being remote and in the wild. Arriving at the resort we were greeted by such smiling faces and showed to our beachfront bungalows. With A\C, hot water and a ridiculously comfortable bed overlooking the ocean. What more could you want?? Great food and great snorkeling? That’s exactly what was delivered.
With a wide variety of snorkeling sites available all over the Sumbawa, Komodo channel we were ready to go and explore. Setting off from the resort after a tasty breakfast in our private speedboat. We started to explore as much as we could. With a big highlight being the island of Gilli Banta. Full of beautiful pristine reefs inside stunning white sand bays. Was a real picture of a tropical paradise. Not forgetting a very active manta cleaning station. With great guidance from our guides we were dropped on the money every time. We could observe and watch the Mantas go about there cleaning.
Spending days exploring Banta and the small islands surrounding it, we managed to see a large array of fish species. Sharks, turtles, Sea snakes, morays and plenty of mantas. The perfect walls covered in coral on the coast of Sumbawa were stunning. Watching Cuttlefish mating was an absolute highlight for me. Now was time to go spend some time with the real stars of Komodo. Taking our speedboat over to the very remote area of west Komodo, we were searching for the famed Komodo dragons. This area is never visited by day boats or liveaboards. Giving us a very different experience to the normal dragon trek.
Upon arrival on the shore of West Komodo, our group was greeted by our rangers for the morning. Armed with their trusty forked sticks was time to go on the hunt for them. As we arrived at the rangers station we were already welcomed by three large dragons. We were informed the dragons on this side had very limited contact with humans. Making this even more thrilling to see. With the close eye of the rangers we were able to observe and watch the behaviour of the dragons. On Komodo island alone there is an estimated population of 1800 dragons. With Komodo National Park being the only place in the world to see them in the wild.
We were very fortunate here on our full day trips out. The team would bring a BBQ, umbrellas and a very tasty selection of food. Finding completely deserted white sand beaches, we set up camp for our lunch and break. This really was so relaxing and gave the real feel of exploring. Having our lunch and watching baby sharks patrol the shore line was the good life.