Whether you’re an open water diver with some questions about Komodo diving for beginners, or simply someone contemplating to learn how to dive in Komodo National Park, this Komodo Diving for Beginners Guide will tell you almost everything you need to know!
Our dive center manager Luca Canessa has answered some of the most important questions about Komodo diving for beginners, especially in regards to safety, how to dive in strong currents, what to expect, where to dive and more.
CAN BEGINNERS DIVE KOMODO?
Q1: Komodo is known to be challenging for beginner divers. Can beginners enjoy scuba diving in Komodo as well?
Answer: Yes diving in Komodo can be challenging due to the fact that it’s located between the Pacific Ocean (in the north) and Indian Ocean (in the South). The strait between Rinca and Komodo Islands also has strong currents.
BUT, beginners CAN dive Komodo safely as long as the dive sites are chosen correctly and the sea conditions are observed closely. If the weather and conditions allow, actually all the dive sites should be accessible even by beginners. Many people also try out their first Discover Scuba Diving experience in Komodo National Park.
The small exception might be in the north where there we often have to swim against the currents, and hence it is recommended that beginners get some practice first at some calmer dive sites.
Castle Rock – one of the more challenging Komodo dive sites that might require lots of practice beforehand!
Q2: To dive the more challenging dive sites, what are the skill/experience levels you expect?
Answer: To dive challenging sites like for the 3C (Castle Rock, Crystal Rock, and Cauldron) for example it doesn’t really matter what your certification level is, Open Water or more advanced. The dives here are not deep but more challenging because of the strong currents.
In terms of experience usually, 100 logged dives is more ideal. BUT it’s possible to be confident diving these sites with as little as 30 logged dives as long as you:
LISTEN TO THE BRIEFING, stick to the plan, ALWAYS STAY BEHIND YOUR DIVE GUIDE and follow him closely. Observe what he does, and try to mimic his positions.
Have a good control of your equalization when diving sites with strong currents. You can’t spend too much time in the water trying to equalize because you have to move pretty fast.
Keep your body as hydrodynamic as possible and swim close to the bottom where the current is less strong (that’s why good buoyancy is also important).
Try to avoid swimming against the currents and learn how to use a reef hook properly on a rock or dead coral (never on a living creature!) to avoid exhausting yourself from swimming too much.
LEARNING HOW TO DIVE IN KOMODO
Q3: Is Komodo is a suitable place to learn to scuba dive or take beginner certifications? There are a few beginner PADI courses available, which one would you recommend a beginner to take in Komodo?
Answer: While Komodo is one of the most beautiful dive destinations with a great biodiversity, it might not be the easiest and the most convenient place to take your Open Water certification. One of the major reasons is because of the density of corals everywhere, that makes it hard to find sandy patches to do your Open Water exercises.
However, with special care and attention, it is very possible to become a certified scuba diver in Komodo. Perhaps the best move is to try out a Discovery Scuba Diving experience for one day, to get a feel of the area and see if taking your Open Water in Komodo suits you.
If you do decide to get certified in Komodo, it might be a great idea to take your Advanced Open Water as well. With a little extra money and time, you will get to dive deeper and learn more skills which might include drift diving and peak performance buoyancy which will help you a lot while diving in Komodo.
Turtle City, arguably the best dive site for beginners in Komodo
Q4: What are the 5 dive sites you can recommend for beginners? What can they expect to see in those dives?
Answer: If I have to pick 5 the best dive sites for beginners in Komodo are:
Sebayur Kecil. It is a sloping reef that extends 15-18 meters deep. Very protected from currents especially in high tide. You can see nice boomies, trumpetfish, Moorish idols, crocodile fish, damselfish, porcupine fish, angelfish, lionfish and many more!
Turtle City at Siaba Besar. Nice area, part of Siaba Besar, that is protected from currents. You can see lots of green turtles, Hawksbill turtles, snappers, garden eels, sweepers, bamboo sharks, giant sweet lips and lots of other fish.
Sabolong Kecil. A nice site suitable for beginners where you can see pretty much the same marine life and species as other top Komodo dive sites such as, white-tip reef sharks, tunas, garden eels, frogfish, cuttlefish, nudibranchs, snappers, groupers and many more.
China Shop at Cauldron. This is the calm dive site which is actually part of Cauldron. You can see glassfish, scorpion leaf fish, barracudas, turtles, mantas, eagle rays, sweetlips, angelfish and many more.
Crystal Bay. A great alternative to Castle Rock for beginners. You can see damselfish, butterflyfish, trumpetfish, snappers, groupers, cleaner fish, lionfish, fusiliers, gobies and moray eels.
KOMODO DIVING FOR BEGINNERS: SAFETY TIPS
Q5: What are your tips for beginner divers to dive in Komodo? Any specific gear to bring? Any “mental” tips?
Relax when you dive, save your energy and air by taking slow deep breaths and not making too many unnecessary movements.
Remember to streamline your body and keep your buoyancy neutral. Remember that when you inflate your BCD in the deep, eventually you will have to deflate in a straight up body position with the house stretched.
Keep an eye on your Submersible Pressure Gauges (SPG) and take a safety stop at 50 bars.
If for some reason you floats up nearing the surface and you are already low in air, don’t waste your time to go back down. Instead, stay there to do your safety stop and wait for your divemaster or buddy to go up together.
Both our liveaboard (L) and day trip (R) boats are spacious and well equipped with all the standard safety equipment.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST DIVE CENTER IN KOMODO
Q6: Last but not least, what do you think is the most important things in choosing a dive center/dive guide, in regards to safety? What should a person expect from a good dive center/guide?
Make sure that the dive center has adequate safety equipment such as Oxygen on the boat, emergency first aid kit, life jackets and radio.
For the dive guide, you need to feel comfortable to dive with him/her to be able to communicate any of your dive-related concerns. Of course, it is also good to know how much experience the dive guide has in the area you’re diving.
You should expect a good degree of safety standards, professionalism and fun personality from a dive guide, as well as some marine biology knowledge.
For the dive center, a few things you need to pay attention are their punctuality, conditions of their dive equipment, and possibly a spacious (of course you need to compare the size of the boat with the capacity of divers as well), fast and well-maintained dive boat. Make sure there is never more than 4 divers assigned to a dive guide.
Those are our answers to some of the most important questions about Komodo Diving for Beginners. Got any more scuba diving questions for Komodo? Feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your question in the comment section below!