We were excited to meet our guests at Bali’s Ngura Rai airport as having traveled with most of them before I knew we were going to have a great trip. After some fresh air (albeit humid and hot) and cold water, we boarded a mini bus for the 2 hour transfer to Scuba Seraya Resort – home for the next week.
Upon arrival we were treated to iced tea and shown to our rooms where dive boxes were waiting to be filled with our gear. We completed all relevant paperwork and resort briefing over a delicious dinner. We were all knackered and in bed early. The rooms are scattered around the beautiful gardens, and each is air conditioned and has an open air en-suite bathroom. Waking up to the sunrise over the sea visible from bed was a treat in itself. Following a hearty breakfast we headed down to the dive centre to kit up and be briefed.
The resort, on the Eastern side of Bali, is set in a luscious garden right on the black sand beach making access to the boats and house reef incredibly easy. This meant that we were back at the resort between dives, and that one could easily do three dives a day without any sense of urgency. Scuba Seraya has two boats and very experienced crew and dive guides who were eager to find some fabulous critters for us to marvel at and photograph. The following days were filled with incredible muck diving, beautiful reef dives, delicious food and lots of laughter. Some of the critter highlights include mimic octopus, pygmy seahorses, ornate ghost pipefish, orangutan crabs and all manner of nudibranch, to name a few. The resort is a ten-minute boat ride from the famous USAT Liberty Wreck in Tulamben, which we dived at sunrise and again during day light hours. Here we saw a school of bumphead parrot fish, barracuda, tangs, rays and too many critters to name.
After a fantastic week of diving we dried and packed our equipment and made our way to the airport and onto Labuan Bajo. Here we were greeted by the friendly staff of Komodo Island Resort. A short ride to the pier and we boarded our private boat for the 1.5-hour transfer to Sebayur Island. Here, on this otherwise deserted island, sit 16 beautiful air-conditioned on-suite luxury bungalows, an open-sided restaurant, a beach bar and dive centre. Surrounded by uninhabited islands and calm blue water, Komodo Island Resort is magnificent. All meals are included – a lush breakfast buffet, and lunch and dinner pre-ordered a la carte, all 4 courses! Yum.
Excited to get diving we did a relaxed afternoon dive on a nearby reef. The closer sites (3-10 mins away by boat) offer awesome critter hunting, pretty reefs and protection from current; perfect for later afternoon and night diving. The following day we set off on our boat for the hour long journey to some of the further Marine Park dive sites. The boat was extremely comfortable, with large bean bags and shade cover on the upper deck, and ample seating and kit up space on the lower deck. The crew loads equipment and rinses it for you daily and provide tea and snacks during surface intervals.
The week’s diving did not disappoint. The water was clear and mostly a comfortable 28°C. Some of the sites are prone to strong currents at certain tides, but the benefit of diving at these times is a greater chance of seeing pelagics and sharks. We were lucky enough to encounter manta rays on several of our dives, as well as black tip reef sharks and schools of jacks and barracudas, and countless hawksbill turtles. The reefs are in superb condition and teaming with fish. At times one could not even see the reef through the schools of fish!
After a fantastic week at Komodo Island resort we returned to Bali and spent the night in the Rama Beach Resort, a few minutes from the airport. Here we relaxed by the pool, ate delicious local food and enjoyed the last few hours of our trip. With heavy hearts, wonderful suntans and incredible memories we bid our farewells. A fantastic trip, enjoyed by all.
Bernita is the Operations Manager and Tour Leader for UK-based tour operator Dive Safari Asia. to find out more, visit www.divesafariasia.com.
This article was originally published by Scubaverse