Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Extra stop: Loh Serau via Makassar Reef, September 6 2016

This was an interesting day out. We started out from Labuan Bajo - Flores, went over to Makassar Reef - Komodo for a swim with the manta rays and then headed around the corner to Loh Serau, Komodo Island to anchor for the night. It took about two hours to motor over to Makassar Reef and then about 1.5 hours to motor around the corner to Loh Serau.

Our attempt at trying to anchor in sand at Makassar Reef (at an allocated spot) was not very successful. A few of our rally boats where 'harassed' by a fast boat, maned by hooded men in commando outfits, who demanded money as Makassar Reef is inside a national park (all of Komodo is a national park, including its waters) stating they were rangers. We did not encounter this problem, but we couldn't find a place to anchor safely as the current is crazy strong here.

This area is world famous for it diving & snorkeling. There are 100's of options and well worth revisiting for us.

However, as we moved about a bit we saw the massive manta rays lolling around in the warm water near the surface. Some of the bottom here is 'rubble'  made up of large broken coral (making anchoring very difficult) in which the manta's like to rub their bellies on to clean them of parasites. Being on the bow I could see them clearly and so in awe of what I was seeing I forgot to grab the camera. These things are massive!

Local boats full of tourists doing drift dive and snorkeling with the manta rays.
We did not drift snorkel with the manta rays and left feeling very disappointed that we missed this wonderful opportunity. However, a few other rally boats seemed to get it right and we loved seeing their underwater photos and listening to their stories. If you ever get the chance to do this, don't miss it! I would even go as far as saying for the time, money and effort we would consider actually doing a day tourist trip over to save the hassle and leave Matilda at anchor in Labuan Bajo.

At Loh Serau, Komodo Island we anchored at 08 27.05S & 119 26.97E in 12 meters of water. The anchorage was a touch rolly for us.

However, we enjoyed snorkeling for a few hours straight off the back of Matilda and the coral and fish where fantastic. As the sun was setting we sat with our binoculars watching the shoreline for any komodo dragons coming down for a scavenge, we didn't see any but we did see a large boar who come down to have a look around.

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