Blue-barred parrotfish, Komodo National Park

Snorkeling Komodo National Park with World Wildlife Fund for Nature 2015

I have had the pleasure of leading World Wildlife Fund for Nature snorkeling trips for over 7 years and I must admit, Komodo National Park is my favorite! The reefs are stunning and though the dry islands are a seemingly out of place against the lush, jungle-draped islands that persist in the Indonesia, they are awesome to behold. I think it is that they do stand in stark contrast to the seas that surround them that make them all the more beautiful to me.

We had excellent weather heading out from Bali and the first few days included snorkeling over a variety of reef habitats that included exposed seaward reefs, sheltered bays and a personal fav, the black sand of Sangeang. What could possibly make the stunning colors of coral and other invertebrates stand out more? Seeing them against the backdrop of black sand! Even colorful nudibranchs seem to pop out more when they are crawling over the black sand.

marbled nudibranch, sangeang volcano, Komodo

A colorful nudibranch…

Our next few days revolved around the park, visiting Komodo Island for the dragons and the many reefs that can be found within the park. Though it was mating season for the dragons (and they tend to be deeper in the forests around the island looking for mates) we still saw a large male that measured almost 9 feet from tip to tail! During our visit to the cooler waters, but amazing area of Horseshoe Bay on Rinca Island, we got to see more dragons as well as some of the most colorful shallow reefs in the world! For me, as usual, it was about the fish but a tiny little critter made my night snorkel, a bob-tailed squid.

Bobtail squid (Sepiolida), Horseshoe Bay, Rinca

Bobtail squid…

Of course, the island of Tatawa and Siaba Kecil delivered with healthy reefs and brisk currents that made it even more enjoyable. Interestingly enough, the currents around Siaba Kecil allowed us to basically snorkel around the entire island…something I have not been able to do in the past.

Our final part of this amazing snorkeling tour included another visit to Satonda, the ancient caldera, and the shallow reef out front. A perfect ending to a fabulous trip! We get to do it again in September and for those who want to experience this remarkable place, please join us in 2016!

A special thanks goes to Mermaid Liveabaords and their staff and crew who, as always, hosted us on their amazing boat and provided the highest quality of service, food, and leadership.

Javanese damselfish (Neoglyphidodon oxyodon)

Juvenile Javanese…

Juvenile palette surgeonfish (Paracanthurus hepatus)

A palette surgeonfish…

Long nose filefish (Oxymonocanthus) longirostris

Long-nose filefish…

snowflake moray eel, Gili Banta, Komodo

A snowflake moray…

Bulb-tipped anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor)

Bulb-tipped anemones…

Blue-spotted fantail ray (Taeniura lymma)

Blue spotted…