October - Dolphins, Mantas and the Marine Megafauna Foundation

At the start, and at the end of, the month we have welcomed Lisa, an intern from the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF) at Scuba Junkie Komodo. Established in 2009 the MMF’s aim is to research, protect and conserve marine megafauna. It was founded by Dr Andrea Marshall (the first person ever to do their PHD on Manta Rays) and Simon Pierce (the world’s leading Whale Shark expert). Part of Lisa's work is to collect ID shots of Manta Rays, and by having her on our boats she is able to gather essential sightings data on these majestic creatures.

Not only do they conduct essential research, but they also aid in raising awareness. Whilst she was here Lisa gave some great presentations on Manta Rays. Education is extremely important in conservation, and the presentations given informed our guests about the unfortunate threats Mantas face and what we can do to help them. The more we know about Manta Rays the more effectively we can work to protect them. Citizen science is a key part of gathering information that will help to protect Mantas. Many of you may have already heard about the Manta ID project. By taking a photo of the belly of a Manta you can help ID it, as the pattern there acts as a fingerprint. Through this project it has been found that Manta’s travel great distances (for example from the Komodo National Park to Nusa Penidah!!) and that protection is required across larger areas. So far there are almost 800 Mantas in the database for the Komodo National Park! It’s be great working with these guys, we will continue to support and contribute to what they do in the future.

This month we have welcomed Dimas to our team! Dimas is already a free diver, but decided he wanted to take the leap and become a professional scubadiver. Dimas is taking part in our divemaster internship programme whereby Scuba Junkie Komodo will be supporting him from Open Water diver through to Divemaster. We have already taken him on his Discover Scuba Dive which he loved, and is now in the process of going through his Open Water Course. There have not been many happier faces than when he came up from one training dive after having seen 14 Mantas! Over the next six months we will guide him through his Advanced Course, his Rescue and finally his Divemaster training. The Komodo National Park will a challenging place to learn, what with the interesting (but super fun!) currents.  Ultimately it will make him a better divemaster, and diver! It’s going to be great fun showing him the joys of the diving in this area – even if it ruins all diving for him in the future J

Instructor Ben with Dimas and Ann

Evan and Mo, two of our divemaster trainees completed their four week course this month. It was entertaining month and we were sad to say goodbye to both of them. The four week course flies by, and just as these guys were really showing what great divemasters they will be, it was time for them to head off. We want to say a huge congratulations to them and we hope to see them again soon. We were then given a few days to recover, and now Helene is starting her course! It is Helene’s fourth time at Scuba Junkie Komodo, she has already completed her Advanced and Rescue Course with us. It’s always great to have people come back and see us, especially when it means they’ll be sticking around for 6 weeks!

At the resort we have added a new decking area and continue to try and make it the best place to relax. The boys have been hard at work sanding and varnishing. With the sun setting in front of the resort, the new decking area provides another fantastic area to relax at the end of the days diving.

Enough of our out of water action, what has been happening in the glorious blue water? Well the Mantas have been paying frequent visits to our divers. Mawan has provided some great dives for us, with Mantas playing around in the cleaning station for hours on end. We’ve also been seeing dolphins from our boat nearly every day! These beautiful and intelligent creatures have been seen in huge pods around the Komodo National Park. We are lucky enough to have several species of them in this area. There have been so many around that some extremely lucky divers got to see them during a dive and several guests were able to snorkel with them! Something that not many people can say they have done in their lifetime.

There has also been some fantastic macro dives! A wonderful Wonderpus was seen in the National Park. This shy and elusive cephalopod is a rare sighting in the diving world, and is much coveted by many macro loving divers. Often confused with the Mimic octopus, it can be very hard to recognise the differences between these two species of octopus. They both have white and reddish/brown bands along their tentacles and a reddish/brown and white pattern on their mantle. The main distinguishing feature is that of a continuous white band that runs along the tentacles  of the Mimic. Check out the video of this on our Facebook page, or our Instagram account.

We hope you guys had a fantastic month, until next time; happy bubbles!


Instagram: @sjkomodo


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