The Komodo Chronicles – Part 8 – Back in the Blue

After a side trip to Fiji, here I am back to revisiting Komodo, about half way through our ten day adventure.

The last few blog posts covered the great macro dives we did in Bima Harbour, off the island off Sumbawa. After pulling anchor, we headed back to the Gili’s in North Komodo, for one more day of big blue diving before starting our way south, to the famed Rinca Island, and beyond.

Like all great dive trips, these Komodo blog bits are going to start speeding up as I move along. Coming up are several days, for several reasons, where I did not manage to bag a lot of shots. And there are only so many wide angles that I can share before things start getting a bit repetitive. I also had one dive (Golden Passage) where, taking the advice of Michael, our cruise director, I left the camera on the boat. The plan was to dive a ripping  current passage that would likely require hooking in to the reef, and he opined that handling the camera in such a mighty current might be task overload. As it ends up, we hit the water just at the end of the exchange, and so ended up in fairly benign drift where a camera would not have been a problem. Bummer, as we saw schooling Oriental Sweetlips and a skittish parade of Bumphead Parrotfish, not to mention some lovely, colourful, encrusted reef structure – but always better safe than sorry. On another dive, against the good advice of Michael, I went with a mid-range lens instead of wide angle, hoping to get some close ups on some current lovin’ sharks. Again, I think we hit the site a bit late on the tidal exchance, and the sharks were not so much – but the massive schools of fusiliers and triggerfish were – and damn if I really couldn’t take full advantage of the photo ops with the wrong lens. Lessons learned…

Anyhoo, enough excuses for a dearth of good shots from this day ;^) We awoke to yet another beautiful sunrise and a first dive at Gili Lawa Laut lighthouse. After the murky viz of the Fuzzy Bottom muck dives the previous day, I think everyone was ready to drop in to some clear water.

Awoosh.com Images

The viz did not suck…

This site was pretty much all about hard coral gardens – and they were loverly:

Kiddoc and his video rig

I haven’t seen a lot of turtles in Indonesia (I suspect they are heavily fished as they are apparently good eating), but this guy seemed at home in his garden.

Bannerfish (these are Longfin – Heniochus acuminatus) and Butterflyfish ballet.

Crescent-tail Bigeye – Priacanthus hamrur

Soft Coral in the breeze

Mr G and his trusty G10

This was a mellow dive – no current to speak of, and a manta ray swooping in close over our heads was a sweet surprise.

Manta!

The second dive of the day was the wrong lens dive at Castle Rock. Here is the best I could do with the 17-70mm lens I had screwed (up) on. Note to self – this lens sucks inside a macro port for semi-wide angle – the lens can’t be fully dialled to wide as the rim of the port then shows in the frame. (PS to add some technical stuff:) I had the macro port on as I had recently added some wet diopters to my rig – and with this lens and a screwed on diopter, I thought I’d be able to shoot little subjects up to semi-wide angle all on the same dive. Unfortunately, not so much.

Anyways, after a while, I gave up with the camera, and just tried to be at one with the huge swarm of fish. It was heartwarming to see such healthy populations of schooling ocean animals – it is getting rarer and rarer these days.

A whole whack of fish

Emperor Angelfish – Pomacanthus imperator

Fusiliers

Schooling Surgeonfishes

The third dive of the day was at Golden Passage – the no camera dive. I had an itchy trigger finger the entire dive as there were some really lovely reefscapes, and as mentioned above, awesome aggregations of sweetlips and bumphead parrots.

Our mooring was in a pretty bay of Gili Lawa Darat, and we were all invited to go for a hike up to a viewpoint. About half of us were up for the grind – which was a hot, sweaty, scrabbly climb, but the views from on high were definitely worth the effort.

Sure, it looks like an easy walk in the park…

Let the climb begin…

It was serious cardio in this heat, especially with sea legs…

Kiddoc bagging the breathtaking (literally) view…

Happy Hikers…

Ladies and gentlemen, we are starting our descent…

The boyz go for a dunk to cool off after the hike…

A night dive was offered – but after the hike, I really wanted to quaff a few cold ones, so I sat it out. Others that went said it was a nice, if not overly productive dive. I believe the highly coveted Saron shrimp were spotted here.

Sunset at Gili Lawa Darat

Next up: One more morning dive in the Gili’s, and then we take this show to south Komodo.

 Chapters of the Komodo Chronicles:

Chapter 1 – Here We Be
Chapter 2 – Time to Rock and Roll
Chapter 3 – Champagne Diving and Nudibranch Dreams
Chapter 4 – Things That Go Bump in the Night
Chapter 5 – Getting Bombed in Bima
Chapter 6 – The Muck, And Nothing But The Muck
Chapter 7 – Rinse & Repeat
Chapter 8 – Back In The Blue

About Judy G Diver

Born and raised on the west coast of Canada, I have always felt a strong connection to the sea. But for many years, I stayed on the surface, afraid of what lurked down deep. When I was in my early 30's, with three young children (aka the P's), my husband (aka Mr G) signed us up for a SCUBA certification course, as a surprise. Although I had my fears, my stubbornness prevailed, and somehow I made it through four murky, frigid, cold water dives in Vancouver to successfully pass the course. Soon after we went diving off the west coast of Mexico, in the Sea of Cortez, where my eyes were opened to the beauty and other-worldliness of the life down under. And the rest, as they say, is history. I currently have well over 2000 dives under the belt, and I have been fortunate to travel extensively in Asia, Australia, Fiji, Galapagos, Costa Rica, California, the Caribbean, Mexico and here in British Columbia. After shooting hefty DSLRs for many years, I just switched over to a groovy Olympus Micro Four Thirds camera, in a Nauticam housing, with dual Sea & Sea strobes and a bag full of lenses. In addition to this blog and my personal website (Awoosh.com/Directory), which is linked at the top of the blog, my stuff has been widely published in a variety of magazines and websites, including an ongoing regular monthly feature on Scubadiving.com. All links to this work can be found in this blog.
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2 Responses to The Komodo Chronicles – Part 8 – Back in the Blue

  1. Johnoly says:

    Great opening picture with the incredible viz and all the divers below. If you had video mode and played it to the “Harlem Shake” you would have the best youtube video! Excellent chapter segment my friend !!

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