The Komodo Islands name is derived from the giant lizard living in Komodo Island and Rinca Island that located in the East Nusa Tenggara Province, precisely in West Manggarai Regency. The four legs dinosaurs ‘miniature’, varanus komodoensis, is the largest living species of lizard as heavy as up to 70kg and growing to average 2-3 meters. Komodo is an endemic to the islands of this area, thus they are preserved. In 1980, the archipelago is declared as National Park in order to conserve the species. In 1986, Komodo National Park was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site, and now it is one of The New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Labuan Bajo, the capital of the Komodo Islands, is a growing area where the airport hosting direct flight from Bali. There are also a wide range of accommodations- from budget to high end- and dive centers available for visitors. The diving facilities are surely becoming easier to find; dive centers are cooperating with liveaboards or resorts in providing best service to the guests. As the city is growing, lines of restaurants and bars arise in the area.
The Komodo Islands boast more than 29 dive sites spread from the northern Komodo island to Rinca island. Name it Chrystal Rock, Shot Gun Chanel, Batu Bolong, Pink Beach, Tatawa Besar, Tatawa kecil, Nusa Kode, Canibal Rock, Padar, and Manta alley are famous sites among others. Located in the Sape Straits, between Flores and Sumbawa, its north border is Flores Sea and south border is Sawu Sea and the Sumba straits. High and low tides on these two seas have created strong currents around Komodo waters.
The strong currents don’t come alone but with rich nutrients that help the growing of the marine life such as 1000 fish species, 260 coral reef species, as well as sea mammals like whales and dolphins. Komodo waters also hosts sharks, turtles, and manta rays. The water area is known as “warehouse” of unique biotas, such as leaffish, frogfish, sea apple, nudibranch, and rhinopias. Those biotas can be found if you dive in the south of Rinca, around Nusa Kode and Cannibal Rock.
Most of the dive sites can be reach in around 1-2.5 hours boat journey from Labuan Bajo. To dive in this area you are compulsory to pay conservation fee for park visitors: US$ 15-US$ 45 for foreigners, and IDR 75,000- IDR 225,000 for domestic; the amount is based on the length of visit. However it is worth a visit. Komodo islands are blessed with magnificent beauty and diversities, both above the water and underwater.