Gili Lawa Darat seen from the drone. (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)
© Christoph Würbel

Komodo seen from above, it's even more beautiful

  Indonesia : Komodo + Raja Ampat - July 2016

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

Drones are the new trendy gadget for travellers... On the boat taking me to Komodo, Indonesia, two of my little diving buddies have one!

Komodo filmed by a drone

So I have these wonderful images of Komodo seen from the sky at Christoph Würbel, a German expatriate in Asia, based in Singapore, who was like me on vacation in Indonesia in this month of July 2016. (He post other aerial photos here.)

Two months after I came back from this new diving trip in Indonesia, I made a little montage for the blog from his drone videos. So I rediscover them on my computer screen... How beautiful !!! 😮

It must be said that this volcanic archipelago of Indonesia is really the perfect place to shoot magnificent spectacular aerial images, in fifty shades of blue & #8230;

It consists of three main islands (Komodo, Rinca and Padar) and many smaller ones. To help you locate, it is here:

This is my second stay in Komodo. I had already dived there during a previous trip in 2011.

The pretty little red and white two-masted on the video is my new princess boat, the Duyung Baru. I chose, like six years ago, for a small pinisi (a traditional Indonesian boat), all comfort & #8230; I boarded with five other divers for a week-long cruise (another one solo trip where I never ran out of company). Great boat, great international atmosphere (Germans, Finns, Indonesians, Australians and I, the little French girl), I came back delighted & #8230;

The Duyung Baru. (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)
The Duyung Baru. (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)
The manta rays are there, just under the surface ... (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)
The manta rays are there, just under the surface ... (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)

In the incredibly fishy waters of the Komodo archipelago, manta rays can be observed very closely, whether you're a simple swimmer in a tuba-fins or a scuba diver or freediver (more underwater photos to come in a future special mantas post)... You can see them well in the video of the drone: they are the black rhombuses which are on the surface, around the dinghy!

See also on the blog → In the middle of manta rays in Komodo

The images taken from above show the typical landscape of the archipelago: steep hills covered with savannah, which tumble down to white sandy beaches and azure waters, where coral outcrops. You can see from the vegetation that the climate here is much drier than in other parts of Indonesia.

Even if the archipelago has become quite touristy, you really have a very exhilarating feeling from the end of the world when you sail in this intense blue sea dotted with deserted and wild, rather preserved islands. Komodo is a national park, inscribed on the list of World Heritage and UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.

How do I get to Komodo? The region is very easy to reach from Bali : there are many daily flights to Labuan Bajo, the port located on the western end of the island of Flores, just in front of the archipelago. The duration of the flight is approximately one hour. I prefer for companies Garuda and Lion Air / Wings (schedules and rates are on their websites). Update (October 2016): since Jakarta, there is now a direct flight Garuda for Labuan Bajo !

A feeling of end of the world ... (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)
A feeling of end of the world ... (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)

Jurassic Park

Komodo belongs to another world, almost a lost world. Located at the junction of two continental plates, the archipelago is on a volcanic "belt of fire" between Asia and Australia. Unique terrestrial and marine ecosystems have developed here, and species that exist nowhere else!

The most famous one, you may know it: it's the Komodo dragonTourists are allowed to disembark on the islands of Rinca and Komodo to observe them, accompanied by rangers now dressed in a jacket flocked with the words "Naturalist Guide" on the back.

Rinca (pronounced "rine-tcha") really does have a little side. Jurassic Park. Listening only to my courage, I gave up mantas and sharks for a few hours to return to see the dragons - old friends, who I went to say hello in 2011... ????

Welcome to Jurassic Park! (Rinca, Komodo National Park, July 2016)
Welcome to Jurassic Park! (Rinca, Komodo National Park, July 2016)
A young Komodo lizard takes the cool in the slush on the island of Rinca. (Indonesia, July 2016)
A young Komodo lizard takes the cool in the slush on the island of Rinca. (Indonesia, July 2016)

The Komodo dragons are very impressive, especially if we are lucky enough to meet them during the trek on the island (and not asleep near the trash bins of the rangers). But I admit, it's still the creatures that live in seawater that I prefer to admire and photograph & #8230;

The adventurers of the lost path

To conclude this little overview above the surface (while waiting for the underwater images), I leave you on a few images of another island, the very photogenic Gili Lawa Darat. This is the one we see at the end of the drone video, with our small group of divers at the top of the high hill overlooking the bay.

Gili Lawa Darat seen from the drone. (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)
Gili Lawa Darat seen from the drone. (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)
Panoramic view of the bay ... The path rises to the top of Gili Lawa Darat Hill ... (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)
Panoramic view of the bay ... The path rises to the top of Gili Lawa Darat Hill ... (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)
View of Gili Lawa Darat, a little higher ... The gold of the setting sun ignites the horizon. (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)
View of Gili Lawa Darat, a little higher ... The gold of the setting sun ignites the horizon on the other side of the hill. (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)
The sunset over Gili Lawat Darat Bay encourages contemplation ... (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)
The sunset over Gili Lawat Darat Bay encourages contemplation ... (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)
The Milky Way over Gili Lawa Darat Bay, illuminated by boats and, under the surface, divers with torches. (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)
The Milky Way over Gili Lawa Darat Bay, illuminated by boats and, under the surface, divers with torches. (Komodo, Indonesia, July 2016)

What the video does not show is more ... Playing drone pilots in beautiful landscapes in broad daylight is one thing. To orient oneself overnight on a desert island is another.

With the other two girls and one of the guys, we left the other boys at the top of the hill with their equipment, because they wanted to stay photographing the sumptuous night sky (I put you above a photo posted on Facebook by Christoph).

Due to poor trail selection, our panoramic climb turned into an endless junglesque expedition on the way back down... Yes, Indiana Jones style, in impassable brush - in shorts, canvas sneakers and flip-flops, of course - by the glow of two headlamps and an iPhone loupiot!

I've renamed us "Adventurers of the Lost Trail"... 😂

We ended up succeeding in reaching the beach, without breakage. Fortunately there were no dragons on this island & #8230; We would probably have been less intrepid. 

  Indonesia : Komodo + Raja Ampat - July 2016

  1. Hello Corinne,
    Thank you for all these photos.
    We dream of it already ... ..
    Yes, we are going back in December for the 3rd time:
    Castle Rock, Crystal Rock, Batu Bolong, Manta Point, etc., we will have pleasure to plunge there.
    We would just like to know which other sites you have dived and which ones you have preferred.
    Again thank you for making us dream.
    We look forward to your photos under the water, we also prefer mantas and sharks varans ....... !!!!
    Alain & Yolande

    1. @Alain & Yolande: We have done all the "classic" sites that you quote, nothing new, but only good: Castle Rock, Batu Bolong, Karang Makassar (Manta Point), The Cauldron, Tatawa Besar ... My favorites: Batu Bolong always teeming with life, Karang Makassar (Manta Point) full of mantas, and Castle Rock with impressive schools of spinning trevallies ... We gave up some sites because we were right in the full moon, with currents that, as you know , can be really problematic, especially as the levels were uneven in our small group of divers. Everyone was able to have fun, photographers cluttered with gear like me, like those who had never used a hook under water ...

  2. Oh sure, the video with the drone, here's off! I will certainly launch one day in this adventure ... Superb as always!

    1. @Didier: I'm starting to see drones regularly, during my trips to Asia. It's really becoming more democratic. But it makes a hell of a mess to carry around as well... 🙂

  3. The photos are crazy!
    If we could have stayed longer in Indonesia and visited another island, we would have most certainly gone to Komodo. Given these crazy pictures, we'll really have to come back to this incredible country 🙂

  4. I rediscover this site after experiencing it at the beginning when I also accumulated miles to Indonesia. Children shorten travel but not emotions. This site has undergone a great evolution. 17 trips to Indonesia in 9 years !!! You will be able to open a commission nasi goreng to the federation !!!

    1. @Bertran: very happy that you come back for a walk here ... I did not count the exact number of trips to Indonesia since 2006, the beginning of this blog. Especially since there had been others before. It's true that it's starting to happen ... By the way, I'm already planning an 18th in July 2017, hey, hey ... Commission nasi goreng? I take !!!

  5. Wow! To fall! We had to go to Komodo, but we finally chose North Bali and Menjangan. But it looks fantastic Komodo! I heard about strong currents ... Is it true? And level accommodation, hoses or boat cruise rather? Thank you for your information. Your photos are fantastic!

    1. @Anne: in July 2016, it was my second time in Komodo. I am very late, I have not yet managed to post the story of my dives this summer ...
      My first experience of Komodo, it was in 2011, it is there that I put myself (like you to Raja Ampat) to crochet ...

      So yes, in Komodo, the currents are impressive (some are descendants) and they can be dangerous, if you are not with people who know the sites and the tides well, who know where and when to take you dive, adapting the difficulty at the level of the teams ... Every year there are people who are carried away a little too far from the boats (I do not know if you remember this story of divers who had managed to succeed on a beach where they had to chase the lizards a little too inquisitive with stones all night, before we find them the next day ...).

      During this very nice cruise on the Duyung Baru, we were divers of heterogeneous levels, and I was congested like my partner of a big camera. So Vovo, the German who was responsible for the organization of our dives and who knows the park very well, preferred to avoid us to dive too complicated or too sporty, we gave up some sites, because we were stacked at the full moon , when there is really a lot of juice ... But we feasted anyway, not to say "stuffed", with a profusion of mantas in Karang Makassar in particular, and the always beautiful site of Batu Bolong.

      Komodo is best done by cruising (even on a 4-5 day short cruise), since from Labuan Bajo, it is still a long way to reach the sites, day trip, and suddenly we can not really enjoy it or discover them all ...

      If you have taken a taste of Indonesia, Komodo is really a mythical spot, to discover absolutely, by coupling with the excursions in the islands of the archipelago, and taking also the time if possible to visit the immense and magnificent island from Flores, which has a lot to offer.

      In short, I place Komodo in my top 3 staff of great dive sites in Asia, with Raja Ampat and Sipadan ...

  6. fabulous trips that makes you want!
    in this regard, we go with family (6 adults and 2 teens: 13 and 16 years) from 27-12 to 3-01, normally in Komodo and South Florés. Diving baptism for teens and their parents, who are eagerly waiting for it, could you give me your opinion on this project, and / or another place in Indonesia, where my little girls will be able to admire multicolored fish and other corals, snorkeling and diving, we will be in the rainy season!
    Thank you.

    1. @taxil: Hello Claire, thank you for taking the time to leave a note! Yes, at the end of December - beginning of January, it is not the ideal season to visit Indonesia. And for Komodo / Flores, it's usually the moment you really enter the rainy season. I can only refer you to this page which summarizes (in English) what we can expect, climate issue, in the region (see the table month by month at the bottom of the page):

      But of course, the weather is not an exact science, and the rainy season may be early or late ... If there is one thing difficult to predict in Indonesia, it's time. Sometimes we go to areas that are supposed to be in the dry season and we take the rain, and sometimes going in so-called wet season in other places we have a big sun ... I refer you to this page (in English) of a great connoisseur of Indonesia, who explains this very well:

      In principle, the region of Flores / Komodo is less watered than others, throughout the year. But in case of bad weather (wind and showers) it will not be a pleasure to sail from one island to another in Komodo. From 27/12 to 03/01, it's been only 8 days, if I count ... I think it may be a little short, given the weather uncertainty, if you come across a really rotten week (but you can also fall on a super sunny week).

      Also think that bad weather can cause transportation issues, on Flores or to go there (delayed or canceled airplanes, impassable roads, etc.), so do not be too tight for your air connections, it is more cautious.

      There are many other places in Indonesia to swim and see fish (Bali, Sulawesi, Borneo ...) but you will face the same uncertainties weather issue. The two regions where the season is considered "dry" while the rest of the country is in "wet" season, are the Maluku and Raja Ampat. But it is further and less easy to access than Flores and Komodo, if you have only 8 days it would be a shame to grill a day at each end in transport ...

      Anyway, Flores is a beautiful island to discover and even in wet season I think it's worth it. With a little bowl, you will only have a few showers from time to time, nothing that prevents you from moving and visiting ...

      PS. And I add this link (in French), which recapitulates well the complexity of the Indonesian climate:

    2. Wow, I'm blown away by the speed, accuracy and the time you took to answer me!
      I did not want to monopolize your blog, that's why my message was quite brief.
      I'll add, just, some info: we leave on December 17, arriving on the 18th in Singapore. 2 nights in this city, then Jakarta, Bandung, Pangandaran, Yiogiakarta ... Kawah ijen .... I wanted to book 9 to 10 days snorkelling and diving, my little girls are waiting with such impatience! But here I block on the choice: Moluccas? Do you know?
      return Thursday, January 4th from Singapore at 23:05.
      in any case, I will not miss my return to come on your blog, to share my info.
      Thank you.

    3. @taxil: Maluku is a group of islands, between Sulawesi and Papua ... I do not know very well, it's still a bit far and complicated to go there compared to other more accessible destinations in Indonesia. Some posts below:

      Moluccas of the Center: I went through Banda Neira during a diving cruise in 2015 from Ambon:

      North Maluku: I stayed at Weda Bay in Halmahera in 2013

      For snorkeling and diving, even if it is not the best of the season, maybe stay on the idea of aiming at Bali and / or Komodo, the laisons are numerous and there are many choices in terms of tourist infrastructure and spots.

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