The Amalia Liveaboard

This was not in our plans. This amazing part of our trip happened because of a backpack. As we got off the plane into Labuan Bajo and got to baggage collection we waited for our bags to come out and As Hannah's did a couple from New Zealand picked it up realised it wasn't there's and put it back down followed by them picking up another that looked exactly the same. "You must have read the same blogs we have" I joked and from there on we hit it off with Alain and Victoria we took a taxi to there hostel and then moved on to ours dropping our stuff off we decided to go for lunch. Walking down the high street were Alain and Victoria "hello again" "we've just booked on to a liveaboard boat for diving in Komodo and they've had a last minute cancellation would you guys be interested in coming?" We decided to go for Mexican for lunch to have a think about it and fill our protesting stomachs.

In the restaurant, Alain showed us the flyer and it looked amazing four days 3 nights of 5 meals a day, 10 dives overall and DRAGONS yes real life komodo DRAGONS in the one place in the world you can see them, Komodo. It didn't take any more than that after lunch we headed to Uber Scuba to book our place on the Amalia. 

The next morning we met back at uber scuba and were introduced to another member of the party Niels. A Dutchman who had just qualified for the police academy and was travelling before he started his training. After a brief introduction, we were moved along with all our luggage to Uber Scuba's smaller transport boat. This took us to the Amalia so we could drop off our gear and head directly to Rinca to see the Komodo dragons.

On the speedboat, we were introduced to Sergio our divemaster for most of the trip. And he led us up to the guide hut so we could get a guide to show us the dragons safely. Armed with a forked stick the guide took us for a short walk and then led us to the kitchen but where 5 or 6 of the prehistoric beasts were lazing in the sun. The guide was really informative telling us that the dragons could weigh as much as 100kg on an empty stomach but when full anywhere around 160kg and they could also run at 20kmh. Which is a good trot by any measure. The lizards are awesome, huge scary and 100% deadly. A bite from one of these is guaranteed to get infected as their mouths are cesspits of nasty bacteria. There is a great clip of how they kill here.

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Then we headed back to the boat so that we could really get a look at it and the Amalia is stunning. Our room was the family room right at the front of the boat it was spacious enough for everything we would need and we were introduced to the crew and the other guests.

After this we got to the diving. The dives were handled in a superbly professional Manner Sergio and Astrid the second divemaster would draw out the dive sites for us before each dive and clearly describe what would take place on the dive explaining the sea life and coral that we may encounter on each dive. The crew are more than helpful getting you into your gear and the tanks always had a minimum of 200 bar which is great for me as I am still learning to control my breathing properly underwater.

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The dives on komodo are beautiful there is a plethora of sea life and the coral is incredibly healthy. On the boat you do three dives a day most days starting around 6.30am 11.00am and 2pm with solid meals in between and after.

There were two dives that really stood out to me China shop was one of the best corals I've seen and it was so full of little sea creatures from trumpet fish all the way to the amazing mantis shrimp. China shop was a really relaxing dive and luckily for us the current was low on that particular dive.

The  second was the cauldron this was my favourite dive out of all of them it was what is termed as a shotgun drift. You descend at a point with no current and As you ascend a bank at the dive site a current grabs you and whips you across a giant coral encrusted basin you have to just let the current take you and it was as exhilarating as any roller coaster I've been on the drift finishes back in China shop so if you have enough air left you can explore that site a bit more. But that particular dive was very special, we all got out of the water super excited and wanting to do it again.

On the third day the crew had set up a bonfire and barbecue on the beach of one if the islands with cushions and music for us all to enjoy. We got to enjoy a lovely sunset eat some fresh kebabs and then the crew tried to teach us a local dance around the bonfire. My two left feet didn't help me much in this endeavour but Hannah and some of the others figured it out.

The Amalia and it's crew were so much fun I would highly recommend adding a liveaboard in Komodo to your itinerary if you visit labuan Bajo and There are a whole host of them to choose from at varying prices. The reason I say this is that for what you get the price is very reasonable, if you were to pay for the dives separately it would probably come close on cost but you get the added benefit of accommodation and food added in. Throw in the fact that you are at the dive sites before anyone else and you can see why we chose to do it.

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