Once again Coral Triangle Adventures had the chance to explore the beautiful Lesser Sunda islands between Maumere, Flores and Bali, while focusing on the rich marine habitats found within Komodo National Park. We never seem to get enough of this intensely scenic region that is so different due to its volcanic geology and weather patterns from other destinations within the Coral Triangle. Our trip began in Bali and we flew the following day to Maumere on the island of Flores. This small, far-flung city offers insight into an Indonesian area seldom visited. The shallow fringing reef growing just off our quaint resort provided an easy beach entry and nice array of corals and fish for us to begin with.
Beautiful reefs in Komodo
We then sailed from Maumere to Komodo National Park, the real focal point of our expedition. This is where we conducted our more “serious” snorkeling on the amazing reefs that have developed among the many islands within the park. The super moon provided strong currents for the first few days of the trip, providing amazing drifts over endless coral gardens. As the moon waned the tides soon dissipated, creating ideal overall snorkeling conditions. Most of the trip allowed just enough current to drift pleasantly along the edge of a reef while surrounded by thick schools of vibrant fish.
We also had several opportunities to observe the giant lizards that make this region so well known worldwide. Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) are somewhat intimidating reptiles that seem as if they belong in the Triassic period but continue to thrive on a few small Indonesian islands today. Viewing their natural behaviors in the wild certainly makes one appreciate such remarkable animals. A few notable areas within the park included Horseshoe Bay, where cool, upwelling waters create perfect conditions for colorful filter-feeding marine life and those organisms that feed on them. Also, snorkeling the clear-water mangroves and seagrass habitats found in the northern part of the park presented views of healthy nurseries for fish and invertebrates. Black sand sites offered up rare marine life riches including Warty frogfish, Painted frogfish, Roughsnout pipefish, bizarre nudibranchs, and many juvenile cuttlefish. Along the journey back towards Bali we were able to watch thousands of fruit bats migrating across the sky towards their feeding grounds on Sumbawa.
Our group in Komodo National Park
Juvenile warty frogfish
Overall, we had a truly great group of snorkelers who spent plenty of time in the water and were rewarded with a spectacular exploration of Komodo National Park and its surrounding environs.