Komodo National Park is located in the center of the Indonesian archipelago, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. Established in 1980, the main purpose of the Park was initially to conserve the unique Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) and its habitat. However, over the years, the goals for the Park have expanded to protecting its entire biodiversity, both terrestrial and marine. In 1986, the Park was declared a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, both indications of the Park’s biological importance.
Terrestrial species on the islands include the Timor deer, wild boar, water buffalo, macaque and civet and twelve species of snake. Some of the species are Australian in origin, including the orange-footed scrubfowl, the lesser sulphur and the helmeted friarbird.
The hot and dry climate of the park and its islands are characterized by savannah vegetation which make it a good habitat for the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard and among the world’s largest reptiles growing up to 10 feet long and 150 pounds.
But the terrestrial species pale in comparison with life underneath the water. The Park includes one of the richest marine environments on earth including coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, seamounts, and semi-enclosed bays. These habitats harbor more than 1,000 species of fish, some 260 species of reef-building coral, and 70 species of sponges. Dugong, sharks, manta rays, at least 14 species of whales, dolphins, and sea turtles also make Komodo National Park their home.
In the prolific fringing and patch coral reefs along the northeast coast it is possible to find whale sharks, ocean sunfish, manta rays, eagle rays, pygmy seahorses, false pipefish, clown frogfish, nudibranchs, blue-ringed octopus, sponges, tunicates many species of coral.
Snorkeling in the heart of the Coral Triangle!
Komodo National Park, identified as a global conservation priority area, is located in the center of the Indonesian archipelago between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. The park itself encompasses three islands: Komodo, Rinca and Padar as well as a multitude of smaller islands. With a total surface area (marine and terrestrial) of over 1800 square kilometers, it contains an unparalleled variety of marine life in its underwater environment.
Upon arrival, we will overnight in Sanur, Bali at the Puri Santrian before boarding our ship. Cruising comfortably aboard the privately-chartered Mermaid I, our snorkeling itinerary will provide us with the opportunity to visit a variety of marine habitats, from colorful coral gardens and shallow reefs to marine channels harboring large pelagic species-and everything in-between! During our visit we will also take time to explore the island where the 10-foot long Komodo Dragons live in the wild.
For this snorkeling program, we have created a custom expedition itinerary specifically designed to feature the best snorkeling opportunities this region has to offer. In collaboration with the Mermaid I Team, we plan to work in concert with the tides, currents, weather and other local conditions at the time of our visit to make the most of our snorkeling opportunities. Our visit to Komodo National Park promises to be the adventure of a lifetime.
While Sea for Yourself programs feature snorkeling as the top priority, this particular occasion also provides certified SCUBA divers with excellent diving opportunities. The ship offers a complete complement of tanks, weights, rental gear, and divemaster services.
After our daily snorkeling activities, evenings will be spent enjoying leisurely dinners, marine biology lectures and interpretive sessions.
Snorkeling Expedition in Komodo National Park
Our program begins in the late afternoon when we join our fellow participants in Sanur, Bali for a program orientation at the Puri Santrian Resort followed by a welcome dinner. D
After a morning on your own, we transfer to Benoa Harbor, located between Kuta and Sanur Beach and board the Mermaid I, our expedition ship. After our boat orientation, we will depart for Komodo National Park. B, D
Angel Reef and Satonda Island. We begin our snorkeling in the calm clear waters of Angel Reef on the west coast of Moyo Island. The reef with its shallow, lush coral gardens is named for the wide variety of angel fish that can be seen along with nudibranchs and Ghost Pipe fish. There are also frequent sightings of sea turtles. Satonda Island is what remains of an extinct volcano of which the caldera was filled with water when nearby Mount Tambora erupted in 1815. This was the biggest volcanic eruption in the collective memory of mankind, much larger than Krakatoa. With an estimated volume of 160 cubic kilometers of rocks and ash ejected from the volcano the following year became known as the “year without a summer” because of the effect it had on North American and European weather. Underwater we will find a wide variety of marine habitats including coral gardens, sand flats and sea grasses that host clown frogfish, nudibranchs, Pipe fish, Scorpion leaf fish Ghost pipe fish and Boxer Crab. A short walk on a paved path to the island’s interior will take us to a stunning crater lake. Back at the boat, keep watch at sunset when literally thousands of fruit bats migrate to Sumbawa Island in search of food. B,L,D
Our itinerary in the Komodo National Park will be determined by conditions at the time of our visit. Likely sites to visit include Tatawa Besar with its reef fish and endless fields of orange soft corals. Turtles can often be seen very often as well as manta rays. We might spot white-tip reef sharks sleeping on the sandy bottom. Giant trevallies are plentiful and we might see eagle rays. Drift snorkeling at Siaba Kecil will allow us to float effortlessly over coral gardens and underwater canyons revealing groupers, sweetlips, mantas and sea turtles.
At Gili Lawa Darat and Gili Lawa Laut we can observe small, colorful invertebrates, but it is the rich variety of fish species that we will notice most. We can snorkel through a narrow channel into a coral garden with that is home to a wide array of angelfish and butterfly butterfly species. Sea turtles are also prolific.
At Makassar Reef, we will explore a pink beach colored by fragments of red coral that have washed ashore. Manta Rays agregation site. This is a manta ray aggregation site and the mantas come here to be cleaned by small reef fish. Along the surface, it’s possible to spot the mantas eating plankton.
At Horseshoe Bay, we will see gold-striped fusiliers, scorpionfish, red snappers, surgeon fish, and purple gorgonians where pygmy seahorses hide. We will also visit Loh Liang to see the Komodo dragons which Komodo National Park was designated to protect. Up to 10 feet long and 150 pounds. Batu Balong is a rock pinnacle that hosts large schools of fish including jacks, anthias, and white-tip reef sharks.
Most of the sites we will visit are in the northern part of the park with its wide-coverage of shallow reefs. Please be aware that the expedition nature of our snorkeling adventure will mean that we will work in concert with conditions at the time of our visit to determine the sites we will visit.
In the evenings, back on board ship, enjoy sunsets and stargazing. Throughout the program, our leisurely dinners will be accompanied by lectures or interpretive sessions led by your Sea for Yourself staff.
Satonda Island or Angel Reef. B,L,D
Disembark in Benoa Harbor and return to the Puri Sanrian Resort. After an afternoon on your own, gather in the evening for our farewell dinner. B, D
The itinerary on this expedition-style adventure is flexible and may be subject to change.
Due to the limited space available for this tour, reservations will be accepted in the order deposits are received. You will be notified when your space is confirmed.
The cost for this program is based on cabin and single/double occupancy as follows:
Lower Deck Double/Twin Cabin: $TBD — pp/dbl
Upper Deck Double: $TBD — pp/dbl
Single cabin: $TBD — pp/del
Deposits & payments
A deposit of $1000, plus a signed, completed reservation form confirms your registration for the trip. You will be notified when your space on the program is confirmed. Final payment, plus single supplement, if applicable, is due 150 days prior to departure.
The tour fee includes
Group airport transfers within Indonesia, meals as indicated in the itinerary, accommodations as indicated in the itinerary, marine park entrance fees, all snorkeling activities, guided cultural excursions, local taxes, group gratuities to Mermaid I staff, services of the trip leader including any needed snorkeling lessons, marine biology lectures, interpretive sessions, and explanations of Komodo’s natural history.
The tour fee does not include
International airfare to and from Indonesia, increases in international airfare rates, international departure taxes, SCUBA activities, rental gear, medical immunizations or prescriptions, passport fees, accident/baggage/cancellation insurance, individual transfers, excess baggage charges, medical expenses, meals not specified in the itinerary, dishes and beverages not part of included meals, laundry, telephone, internet or fax charges, room service, and other items of a purely personal nature.
International and/or domestic airfare
Sea for Yourself does not issue airline tickets. Trip participants are responsible for making their own air travel arrangements. Please do not purchase airline tickets until your reservation for the program has been confirmed and you have reviewed your travel schedule with our office.
This program will be best enjoyed by experienced snorkelers or individuals who are comfortable being in the water. Our tour leader will gladly provide any needed snorkeling instruction, from floating to free diving. Whenever possible, we will seek out protected water for our snorkeling excursions, but at times there might be moderately swift currents or the surface may be a bit choppy due to wind. Any “hiking” will be easy to moderate.
The climate in the Komodo National Park region is tropical. The temperature ranges from 75- 90°F with high humidity. Water temperatures can range from 68°-86°. The wide range of water temperature occurs when trade winds displace warm surface water which is replaced by cooler, nutrient rich water rising from the ocean depths. Currents and tides may necessitate deviations from the daily itinerary. As with any tropical destination, there will always be a chance of rain, mosquitoes when on land, and sand flies.
The snorkeling destinations in this itinerary were selected based on professional assessments of the reefs in January 2015. Please be aware that climatic events, such as coral bleaching, may occur at any time and could adversely affect the reefs. We will work with the crew of the Mermaid I to monitor conditions and provide timely updates to participants when relevant.
Please remember that some kind of covering (such as a Lycra suit or even pajamas!) when in the water is highly recommended as protection from sun, occasional stinging zooplankton, and to prevent coral abrasions. We strongly recommend that you consider wearing a wet suit both to regulate body temperature and as sun protection.
After you have reserved space on a trip and the program is confirmed, you will receive information to help you prepare for departure, including airline information to arrange for your international and/or domestic flights, optional supplemental travel insurance information, a complete packing and reading list and other useful information about our destination.
Sea for Yourself provides participants who are U.S. or Canadian citizens with limited medical, accident and evacuation coverage under our group travel insurance policy. We highly recommend the purchase of optional baggage and trip cancellation insurance; information will be sent to registrants. Exclusions for pre-existing conditions may be waived with the prompt purchase of travel insurance.