The island nation of Indonesia straddles the equator between the Indian and Pacific Oceans and lies at the heart of the ‘Coral Triangle’ - the epicentre of the world’s marine biodiversity. Nowhere on earth can visitors experience such a range of spectacular diving - from encounters with huge whale sharks and oceanic manta rays, to muck dives with beautiful Rhinopias and the exceedingly rare psychedelic frogfish.
Wicked Diving runs relaxing and affordable trips onboard the Komodo Shalom, a phinisi-style schooner that explores the famous dive sites of the north and centre of Komodo.
- Dive the best sites of the north and central areas of the national park
- Visit the islands in search of Komodo dragons
- Variety of different shared cabins with space for 16 guests
Wicked Divers first opened its doors in 2006 and has been running liveaboards trips to the Surin and Similan Islands from their base in Khao Lak, Thailand, every since. In 2011, Wicked ran its first expedition to Komodo and after falling in love with the area and its extraordinary diving, opened a Wicked dive centre in Labuan Bajo. From here the company now runs liveaboard trips in the national park, adventure tours on land and its own environmental organisation - Wicked Good - based in Labuan Bajo.
Wicked Diving has always worked on the premise that safety and service can work hand-in-hand with responsible tourism. In their own words, “Wicked Diving is not your ordinary dive centre. We fiercely believe in making a positive impact each day - from the ecologically friendly products used on our boats & shops to the community based training programs we undertake.” The company was the first in Thailand to employ a responsible tourism policy and the first Sea Shepherd dive centre in Thailand and Indonesia. They strive to maintain a ‘no impact’ dive ethic and maintain the highest possible standards of safety - vital in an area such as Komodo with its famously-strong and unpredictable currents.
KOMODO NATIONAL PARK
The Komodo National Park lie close to Flores to the east, and separated from Sumbawa to the west by the Sape Strait. Covering over 1,730 square kilometres, the park includes the three large islands of Komodo, Padar and Rinca, along with 26 smaller islands. On dry land, Komodo is justifiably famous for its incredible landscapes. The park’s rugged terrain is dominated by jagged peaks, mountain slopes covered in dry savannah and dense stands of deciduous forests that cling to life in the sheltered valleys - a testament to the park’s dry conditions. Erosion has carved the the coastlines of the islands into deep bays, inlets, channels and isolated beaches, creating some of Indonesia’s most spectacular scenery. Locations such as Komodo’s ‘Pink Beach’ and the incredible view from Padar looking across back-to-back, circular bays, are worth the trip alone!
The national park was founded in 1980 to protect its infamous resident - the Komodo dragon. This extraordinary species is the world’s largest land-dwelling reptile and can still be observed in the wild on both Komodo and Rinca islands. Komodo dragons can grow to over 70kg in weight and are thought to have evolved from giant monitor lizards that once roamed across Australia and Southeast Asia - before the arrival of man drove the lizards to extinction in all but the most remote corners of Indonesia’s archipelago.
Komodo’s dramatic landscape continues beneath the waves, and the diversity of different habitats is matched by the park’s incredible species biodiversity. In fact Komodo is one of the richest marine environments in the world, and the reefs, channels, seagrass beds and mangroves are home to over 1000 species of fish and 250 species of corals. The islands of the park lie within a channel that funnels a huge volume of water between the Flores Sea and the Indian Ocean - part of the famous Indonesian Throughflow. The result is nutrient-rich upwellings from the deep surrounding waters, and dramatic currents that sweep past the islands with every tidal change - perfect conditions for the an incredible diversity of marine life, as well as superb diving.
The Komodo Shalom is a 24m, sturdy phinisi-style schooner that has been operating as a liveaboard in Indonesia since 2005, but was refurbished in 2018. The Komodo Shalom is not a luxury liveaboard nor does it offer luxury trips, but the boat is a very capable and has an excellent and knowledgable crew onboard - making this fantastic phinisi a very affordable and safe platform to explore the diving of the Komodo National Park.
The Komodo Shalom has a main dining and living space, plus a sundeck - and both offer plenty of shade and seating and are perfect for relaxing between dives. Meals are served on the main deck and following dinner, guests can climb up to the cabin roof for some star gazing. The boat has four twin berth cabins and a large eight berth cabin, catering for a maximum of 14 guests. Each bed is designed as a ‘pod’ with power outlet, LED reading lamp, personal fan and privacy curtain and the cabins have secure storage for personal gear. The rooms are shared between males and females and there are a total of 3 shared bathrooms on board. There are also fresh water showers on the dive deck and separate crew and guide quarters. All of the cabins have aircon and soundproofed walls. The purpose-built dive deck at the stern has plenty of room for equipment, a filling station, a shower and direct access to the tenders. To support dive operations, the Komodo Shalom has two dive tenders and is fitted with all necessary safety equipment suitable for operating a boat in a remote location.
NORTH AND CENTRAL KOMODO
The Komodo Shalom focuses on the north and central areas of the national park, visiting the best sites and searching for those amazing encounters that the park is so well known for. The exact itinerary and dive sites are chosen depending on the currents, weather, experience level of guests onboard and lunar cycle - as the currents in the park can be particularly strong around the new and full moons. Safety is paramount and given the challenging nature of some of the sites in Komodo, the Wicked Diving guides use their experience to carefully select the best location at the best time.
Guests can join the vessel for trips of different lengths and focusing on different areas of the park. The full trip - 7 days and 6 nights from Saturday to Friday - explores both the north and central areas, and includes a trip to visit the Komodo Dragons on land. This trip is split into two sections and guests can join for 4 days and 3 nights from Saturday onwards, exploring northern sites such as Cauldron, Castle Rock and Batu Moncho, or for 4 days and 3 nights from Tuesday diving Manta Point, Batu Bolong, Tatawa and visiting the Komodo dragons.
7 days and 6 nights from Saturday to Friday, exploring the best dive sites in both the northern and central areas of the park, as well as a visit to the famous Komodo Dragons. The package includes 20 dives, accommodation in a 6 bunk dorm and all meals. Upgrades to a 2 bunk room are available. Rental equipment is also available.
- Transport to the pier in Labuan Bajo and back
- All meals onboard
- Tea, coffee, water and electrolytes
- Tanks, weights and dive guides
- Good times, great memories and lots of fun
- Rental dive equipment
- Soft drinks and beers
- Park Fees, payable onboard