I'm currently in Ubud and trying to organise a liveaboard dive trip to Komodo at some point between now and 9 May.
I'd love to hear your recommendations for great Komodo liveaboard operators (that don't break the bank).
Many thanks all
I'm probably going to go with these guys:
Anyone have any experience of them / advice to offer?
I'll file a trip report afterwards and let you know how it goes!
but a Perama boat sank off Komodo a few weeks ago too. Post about it TF here
Unfortunately I don't know the name of a reliable company.
Thanks all for this info.
After a chat with the Blue Dragon operator, I decided to book with them and have just returned to Labuan Bajo after a 6 day liveaboard on Blue Dragon. Here's my trip report.
Great trip report and it sounds like you had a wonderful time! Glad you weren't too put off by my posts and that everything turned out OK...the diving around Komodo is supposed to be some of the best in the world, just a tad below Raja Ampat where you're planning on going next time.
I wish I could afford to go to Raja Ampat too....*sigh*. I have researched the possibility but both liveaboards and land accommodation seem horribly expensive and so does getting there.
Indonesian transport, be it by land, sea or air does not meet international safety standards most of the time. It's a question of weighing up risks and benefits.
Last trip I flew in what can only be described as a very old songthaew with wings and a propeller out of Bandaneira. At no point during the entire flight were we requested to fasten our seat belts or told what to do in the case of an emergency and excess passenger luggage (like dive gear, guitars, bags full of jars of nutmeg jam etc) was piled up in front of the exit doors and blocking them.
The flying songthaew took off downhill and landed uphill which gave it a better chance of getting into the air in time and not falling off the end of the runway when it landed.
The runway was extremely short and had sea at both ends...not to mention a bloody great big volcano in the direction we were going.
As we were racing downhill for take off, I casually mentioned to the flight attendant that the back door was still open ... He replied, "They'll close it later". They did, about two seconds before we were airborne, and we all arrived safely at destination as usual.
However a brand new Merpati plane did crash in West Papua last Saturday.... and planes do seem to crash quite regularly in Indonesia.
I've been in near death situations on boats buses and planes so often in Indonesia that I've become rather blase about it ... all part of the fun and adventure and I haven't suffered a scratch yet, never mind died. However I could be leading a charmed life and it wouldn't be very responsible of me not to mention that there's a distinct lack of Western safety standards on Indonesian transport.
Raja Ampat, while certainly not cheap, doesn't have to be super expensive. There's a lot cheaper ways to do it than with the liveaboards and dive resorts/lodges.
Check out http://www.rajaampathomestays.com/ for a bunch of homestay and guiding options. Koranu Fyak Homestay offers a pretty good diving package http://www.rajaampathomestays.com/homestays/koranu-fyak-homestay.
While still relatively expensive, Raja Ampat's worth every cent IMHO - one of the world's last great unpillaged marine environments. There's a lot of great stuff above the water there too.