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Uber Scuba Komodo Dive Center, Labuan Bajo


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The Deadliest Animal in the Sea

Good (and Deadly) Things Can Come in Small Packages…

 

The blue ringed octopus is a relatively docile, tiny creature with spectacular colouring. They have pretty, pale yellow skin, marked with brilliant, bright blue rings. Should you get too close, and you notice that the octopus’s skin (like her mood) is darkening, it’s a signal to stay back. The blue rings may appear to pulsate. Seriously. Leave the beast alone, and swim away…

 

They say size matters. So too does strength. And the poison that one tiny blue ringed octopus contains is enough to kill approximately 26 adult humans. Don’t think that your wetsuit will provide any meaningful protection from a bite. Despite their tiny size, these cephalopods have a super strong beak to deliver an even stronger venom, should they feel threatened.

 

And for the unfortunate creature who finds itself on the receiving end of a blue ringed octopus bite, death is may not be quick, and it certainly won’t be easy. The venom of this octopus is very similar to the poison found on the spines of pufferfish. It’s called tetrodotoxin, and it is 1200 times more toxic than cyanide.

 

It works by causing motor paralysis. So while your brain may be fully functional, and your eyes wide open, you cannot speak, nor can you move. You are trapped in your own immobile body. Death usually occurs as a result of suffocation. Could take minutes, hours, or days. Not a particularly pleasant way to exit this world for the next.

 

Interestingly, this poison is nearly identical to the one produced by poison dart frogs. Tetrodotoxin from puffers is also rumoured to be used by witch doctors in Haiti and other islands in the Caribbean to turn people into zombies. It’s no joke. They say that if you can get the mixture just right, you can turn someone into a mindless, speechless robot that is easily manipulated into carrying out your evil deeds.

 

Get the mixture wrong, and you kill the person. Never mind, if you were trying to turn them into a zombie, you probably didn’t care for them much anyway…

 

Like other members of the species, the blue ringed octopus has multiple hearts (three in this case). Two are used to pump blood to their gills, and another one to move the blood through their body. Unlike members of the British Royal Family, an octopus truly does have blue blood. This comes not from breeding, but from a blue copper-containing protein that they use to bind oxygen in their blood.

 

Human blood is by contrast red, as we make use of hemoglobin which contains iron. While our ability to change shape is severely curtailed due to our rigid skeleton, an octopus has no such trouble. They are capable of squeezing through spaces far smaller than you would imagine. And they are smarter than you think. Perhaps we should not be surprised given that octopus have the largest brains of any invertebrate.

 

And they know how to use them. Researchers working in a lab with octopus and crabs were puzzled by the disappearance of several crabs from their aquariums. A video camera was set up to capture what was going on at night when they left the labs.

 

Turns out the octopus had figured out a way to push open the tops of their own tanks. They then crawled across the counter to the crabs tank and indulged in a midnight snack.

Satiated, they exited, and made their way home. Several species of octopus have demonstrated the ability to learn, and even to “teach” others their tricks. They can open jars to obtain food, and one diver reported having his camera grabbed by a large octopus that he appears to have gotten too close to!

 

Here in Indonesia, these fascinating marine dwellers can be found hiding in the cracks and crevices of tidal pools and in the shallow reefs. They are found in other areas of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but due to their shy nature are rarely seen by divers. Take your time however, and keep your eyes peeled on your next dive with us. We know where they like to hide, and you may be lucky enough to spot one of the sea’s most spectacularly coloured, and complex creatures.

 

Happy hunting!

bucket list scuba diving komodo

7 Scuba Dives to Put on Your Bucket List Today

Our Definitive List of the Best Scuba Diving Experiences Humanly Available!

Whether you are an adrenaline junkie or just looking for a new hobby, whats certain is that a new world awaits you underwater and this is our pick of the ultimate bucket list scuba diving experiences. From dancing with Manta Rays to diving an active volcano, this is our ultimate list.

Be a stranger in another environment as you navigate colourful reefs, bursting with corals and multicoloured fish. Experience the history of a forgotten shipwreck, the thrill as the ocean takes you under it’s spell in a drift dive. Experience the rush when you tick a new sighting off your bucket list of marine species encountered.

Scuba diving not only gives us a magical glimpse of what’s under the sprawling blue ocean, but also has many health benefits. It’s been said that on an average dive you can burn up to 500 calories, and as well as being the new trend among celebrities, diving is accessible and affordable to the average thrill seeker.

Grab your mask, fins and passport as we run through our pick of 7 Scuba Dives to Put on Your Bucket List Today…

7. Touch Two Continents – Silfra Fissure, Thingvellir National Park, Iceland.

With up to 100 meters of visibility at temperatures of around 1 degree Celsius on average, a dive on Silfra Fissure allows you to submerge between two continents! The tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia are some of the most pristine waters around, and if you get thirsty, the waters are fresh and clean to drink.

You can dive Silfra Fissure with Dive.is

6. Navigate a Shipwreck – Sugar Wreck, Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

A former cargo container carrying sugar, as its name suggests, sits submerged at 18 meters in depth on her side. Sugar Wreck still retains her shape and inexperienced divers can access the wreck via buoy line which gives access to around 6 meters of depth. Sunk in the 1999 monsoon, abundant fish life including a juvenile barracuda school call this amazing shipwreck their home.

You can dive Sugar Wreck with the multilingual Panorama Diver team

5. Take a Jacuzzi under an Active Volcano – Champagne Reef, Sumbawa, Indonesia

Watch as gas bubbles escape from the seafloor, like the bubbles in champagne, in this once in a lifetime dive experience. Situated at the edge of Sangeang Api volcano which erupted just recently in June 2014, Champagne Reef hosts a black sand bottom with countless macro life to find, including the rare Wonderpus. Shallow up to 5 meters, and the air vents become abundant and the lava hot water bubble jets act like a jacuzzi bath.

Dive Champagne Reef via a Liveaboard leaving from Komodo National Park

4. Behold the Underwater PyramidsYonaguni, Japan

Host to one of the most disputed discoveries of marine biologists to this date. Yonaguni lies 120km off the southern tip of Ryukyu discovered in 1986. It is thought to be the city of Mu, a fabled civilisation submerged approximately 2,000 years ago. Hammerhead Sharks litter the waters which are said to be the third clearest in the world.

3. Perform in an Underwater Ballet – Manta Pont, Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Experience time stop as you watch as up to 40 Manta Rays perform an underwater ballet inches to your bubbles. These graceful and friendly creatures are abundant just off the Komodo Islands at Manta Point – it’s one of the only places in the world to see these bucket list beauties all year round.

Dive Komodo with Uber Scuba for the ultimate experience

2. Scuba – Skydive The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

Looking for a real adrenaline boost? Gulliver Page did and went the extra mile in this epic mish-mash of sky-snorkel-scuba diving. Promoted by the Tropical North Queensland tourism board, Gullivers video went viral within days, pioneering a new hybrid of adventure sports. Check it out here:

1. The Ultimate Bucket List Diving Experience Alexa Private Cruises, Yacht Charter, Indonesia

Charter your own 100 foot Phinisi luxury dive boat, for the ultimate romantic experience. Alexa Private Cruises offers luxury liveaboard diving in Indonesia. Included is a butler, chef and masseuse along with a private dive guide. Why not wakeboard between dives and at night snuggle in with a glass of champagne to watch a movie in the Under the Stars cinema. What’s more is that there is only one cabin so perfect to share with the one you love.

That’s it folks, our Top 7 Bucket List Diving Experiences.

Have you been lucky enough to experience any of these? If so comment in the box below.

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Learning to Dive in Komodo – Open Water Diver

There are thousands of places on the planet where you can become a certified diver. For some people, it’s a few days of diving, selfies, and the certification card that comes with bragging rights. For others, it is a commitment to learn to dive safe, and to dive smart. To be a responsible visitor in the underwater world. One that understands the delights, but also the potential dangers of diving. An individual who shows the sea, and her inhabitants, the respect that they deserve.

For a few of us, diving, teaching, and the preservation of the underwater environment becomes a life long passion. We fall into this category.

At Uber Scuba Komodo Dive Center, we believe that the even the most experienced divers will always be students. We, as instructors, never stop learning. Every dive is different, and the dynamics between the divers, the submarine environment, and the creatures who decide to show up, guarantee that there is never a dull moment!

We strive to pass on the knowledge gained from our past lessons learned. Our visitors, their experiences, and their feedback, improve the quality of instruction that we can provide to our clients.

It’s tough to pinpoint exactly why we believe that Komodo is the best place to learn to dive, or to earn your advanced and speciality certifications. Nevertheless, we have put together a list of five fantastic reasons why we can’t wait for you to join us as we explore the marvels of the Komodo Islands…

1. Our Experience

Our instructors have decades of experience teaching PADI and SSI courses to scuba students all over Southeast Asia. Perhaps you are coming to complete your Open Water Course in Komodo. Or maybe you have hundreds of dives already under your belt, and want to earn a speciality certification. Whatever your situation, this corner of the world, where the fantastic Komodo Marine Park exists, will not disappoint. Nor will our team of incredible instructors.

2. The Diversity of Diving

We try not to brag, but we can’t help ourselves!

The diversity of dive environments, and the incredible variety of marine life is unparalleled in the warm waters surrounding the Komodo Islands. We will visit calm, sheltered sites where even first time divers will gain the confidence to continue on to open water sites. There are so many spots suited to so many different levels of diving experience.

3. The Creatures

Each site that we visit is home to a unique and thriving underwater ecosystem. There is always something new to see. From seahorses that measure a few centimetres in height, to our magnificent Mantas with wings that span meters across, you’ll be exposed to an incredible variety of life.

You’ll have the opportunity to swim with the big, beautiful fish that are sadly so rare in the waters where they once reigned as kings and queens of their world. See several species of sharks in all their glory. Realise that while they deserve our respect, they have been maligned and grossly misrepresented in the movies and the mass media.

At Uber Scuba Komodo, we will ensure that all of your dives, and your interactions with our underwater locals, will be safe, and secure. It is a top priority for us to provide you with a professional and safe environment where you will learn to dive and appreciate species you may have never thought you could get close to.

4. The Currents

Like sharks, the ocean’s currents can be a source of fear, and danger, to a diver. If you do not understand the way they work. Currents are an inescapable reality when diving in the ocean. The best diving (like here in Komodo) often involves open water dives that require an understanding of how oceanic currents work.

We’ll teach you how to make currents work for you on a dive, not against you. Tips that will help you know what to expect when you hit the water, and be ready for any situation. Signs that may mean you shouldn’t enter the water at all. Signals that it is time to get out.

Many divers can feel overwhelmed when they feel a strong current, especially on the surface at the start of a dive. Beginning a dive stressed out and nervous is never a smart plan. Even if you are hanging off a line as you descend, you may be wondering, what happens when I let go?

We will show you what to watch for, and when to drop down to avoid the strongest parts of a current. How to anchor yourself, without harming the coral, and tips to help you conserve precious air. Strong currents are an unavoidable reality if you want to dive the world’s top spots, and see the most magnificent marine creatures. Understanding how they work, and experiencing them first hand with professional supervision is essential for every diver.

5. Leave Us As a Confident and Safe Scuba Enthusiast!

Complete your Open Water Course in Komodo with us to enjoy the adrenaline, and the rush, of joining the global diving community. Your first dives will be an indescribable experience that you will never forget. The experienced instructors at Uber Scuba will make sure that your initial exposure to the wonders of the oceanic world will be safe, secure, and controlled. Learn with us, and leave knowing that you have a solid foundation on which to build your scuba future. Whether as an instructor in training, or a recreational fun diver.

We can’t wait to meet you.

Things to do in labuan bajo flores

Things to Do in Labuan Bajo: Waterfalls

Just 35km from Labuan Bajo lie the majestic Cunca Rami waterfalls (pronounced Choon-cha Rahmi). Hidden within the local villages and farms, which offer a cultural experience by itself, these picturesque waterfalls create the ultimate experience of beauty and tranquility. Relax as you swim in the invigorating pools, taking in the natural allure of the surroundings.

Not only does this trip involve the waterfalls but the trek there encompasses the local rice fields and various plantations, including banana, cacao, vanilla and avocado. The guide will explain all about the agriculture of the area along the walk, which proves very informative. The bamboo huts that house the villagers and farmers give a raw outlook of how the inhabitants live. Beyond the village, the terrain opens out into sprawling fields with numerous wildlife creatures roaming freely.

How to get there:

From Labuan Bajo, follow the main road out of the town (the only road) until you reach Ruteng. Continue until you reach a crossroad, turn right in the direction of Werang. Once you reach Werang, there is a 45 minute walk until you reach the waterfalls (signposted, the Indonesia word for waterfall is AIR TERJUN).

Note: It is important that you must bring your own food and drink as there are no tourist facilities in the area.

Other local attractions:

Within Labuan Bajo, there are many activities to engage in. Komodo is famous for its scenic National Park, therefore many boat trips around the park are available for day trips.

Another unique experience here is visiting the Komodo Dragons. This is the only place in the world where the dragons roam freely in the wild and the excellent tour guides are extremely informative as you walk among these magnificent creatures.

The abundant life on land is equally matched by the outstanding aquatic life under water. Scuba diving here in Labuan Bajo is very popular, and rightly so. The consistent appearance of manta rays, whale sharks and turtles along with the exquisite marine life ensures your diving experience will last a lifetime in your memories.

Strong current komodo

7 Reasons Why Diving in Komodo is EXTREMELY Dangerous!

Have you ever thought about traveling to a primitive land, to live off the earth, to sleep under a canopy of stars, to dance in an underwater ballet with a tribe of manta rays?

We love the Komodo National Park for its abundant marine life and challenging dive sites. Here is our satirical slant on the dangers posed when diving in Komodo…

Situated 20 km to the west of Flores, accessed via a sleepy port town named Labuan Bajo, is the Komodo National Park. Home to the largest living lizard – the Komodo Dragon – carnivorous beasts that can grow up to 3 meters in length, who govern the ecosystem around them. The surrounding ocean is home to a variety of aquatic life, from dolphins to dugongs, manta rays to mandarin fish.

With rapid tourism growth underway, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is quickly becoming a hot spot both above and below the water, with scuba divers flocking from all corners of the globe to dive komodo in order witness a phenomenal glimpse into the aquatic world.

The surrounding atolls, all 26 of them, are barren, where virgin white and pink sand beaches lay undisturbed. Eagles roam the skies and herds of goats, precariously balance on a mountain edge, taking cover from the hungry free-roaming dragons.

According to PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, there are around 1.2 million divers worldwide, with an average age of 29 years old. Dive travel will experience massive growth in 2015 and beyond. Perhaps you are planning a dive vacation this year and are perplexed by the endless options available to you – the ocean is, after all, 71% of the world’s surface.

Listed below are the reasons why, you should explore the waters of Komodo in your next diving vacation:

  1. The extremely clear underwater visibility can cause you to lose track of the depth you are diving.
  2. Lavishly multi coloured coral reefs that stretch as far as the eye can see may cause severe disorientation.
  3. An abundance of exotic and rare aquatic creatures force you to strain your eyes to get a closer look.
  4. Numerous manta rays, dugongs, and whalesharks may cause you to drop your jaw thus posing a threat to drowning.
  5. The underwater heritage is so vivid, the multitude of colours may cause a hallucinogenic effect potentially effecting your buoyancy.
  6. Indonesian boat crews are so helpful and friendly you are reduced to a spoilt amateur, twiddling your thumbs.
  7. Reasons 1 – 6 force you to overstay your visit to Indonesia, causing flight delays and awkward conversations with your bank manager.

PADI vs SSI – Dispelling the Myths

Today I would like to address the most common questions dive center’s and diving instructors are asked when a student is enquiring about entry level diving…PADI vs SSI.

If we had a dollar for the amount of times in conversation the phrase ‘I want to get my padi’ or ‘I did my padi with X or Y dive shop,’ I swear we would be able to feed ourselves Nasi Goreng until the end of time 😉

Today I want to dispel the myths, separate fact from fiction, enabling you to make an informed decision about your diving education choices.

Before I begin can I explain that Uber Scuba Komodo offers training with both organisations and all of our instructors are certified as both SSI and PADI Diving Instructors. Wait. What? How can you be PADI AND SSI trained? Read on…

Lets start with the mothership –

The WRSTC (World Recreational Scuba Training Council) is the governing body of diver training dedicated to diver safety, under whom all of the skill and knowledge requirements are written. A minimum training standard is applied to all organisations that wish to obtain membership to ensure worldwide quality education. Guess who sits on the member council? Those you know PADI, SSI…but also IDEA, PDIC, SDI, ACUC and many more…

Suddenly we have racing questions

‘Who to choose?’

‘Which is the safest?’

‘Can they be safe if I’ve never before heard of them?’

This brings us now to a kind of Coca Cola vs Pepsi debate – the Cola Wars – stay with me, it’s all relevant!

Coca Cola – prominent branding, red and white colours, huge corporate with billions of dollars in marketing budget.
Pepsi – the outsider, branded clearly, blue, red and white in colours, another huge corporation with millions of dollars in promotional budget.

What’s your favourite? Which are you most familiar with? Do you think there is any less quality in product between the two?

Let’s really drill this down. What really effects market share in our mass consumer world?

VISIBILITY

Perhaps you have a friend who has completed their PADI Open Water Diver training and another who completed theirs with SSI. Both loved it and are keen to dive again. They have invited you along to dive Komodo with them, yet you are not certified.

You have read about a number of dive shops online that you would like to enquire with about your training and have been offered a selection between PADI and SSI. You can’t wait to complete your open water course in komodo, yet you are confused…you ask yourself:

‘Can we all dive together if we have different certified via different agencies, and who should I choose – PADI or SSI?’

I’d like to explain the reasons why at Uber Scuba we prefer to teach SSI courses.

Firstly, this is NOT about price. We actually charge a premium for PADI courses, equivalent to the price difference between the two certification agencies – this money goes towards certification costs and not in our pocket. It’s roughly $60 different which is a large amount.

You may be asking, where does that money go? Why, if SSI and PADI are both members of the WRSTC, operating by the same rules, and certifying roughly the same number of students each year in Indonesia.

THE STRAIGHT ANSWER IS BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COSTS!

The even straighter answer is marketing. The team at PADI do a frankly fantastic job at promoting their brand. Those PADI posters you’ve seen, that dive show you attended, those magazine spreads you’ve read. These all stick in your head, just like Coca Cola does rather than Pepsi (remember our comparison earlier?)

SSI on the other hand, have a much smaller marketing budget. A budget that they gain from smaller dive agency fee’s, smaller certification cost fee’s and smaller staff budgets (I guess they don’t have a big fancy marketing team working from a new shiny office).

So just because you are aware of one more so than the other, is it fair to say that they offer a different service? A service that is less safe, that has less quality? Less educational value?

OF COURSE NOT!

We prefer to teach SSI because of these reasons:

Student Focused Learning:

SSI Instructors can modify 20% of their teaching methods to suit the students pace of learning but PADI run their courses in a set order.

Why is this relevant to you as a student…?

What if you are having problem mastering a skill with PADI who say that SKILL A must be followed by SKILL B and so on. As you continue to struggle, your confidence withers, and the enjoyability factor begins to lessen.

With SSI’s proven standards, your instructor can move on and come back to that particular struggle area at a later time, ensuring you feel more comfortable, less stressed – ultimately more safe and in control in the water at any given time.

It’s no secret there are currents and changing tides in Komodo, so our personal preference is to remove rigidity and focus on the student.

No Bulky Books:

You do not have to purchase a SSI manual/e-book, you can borrow one of ours! It is not a standard to purchase one (unlike PADI), and we will not make you pay for the privilege of explaining at the airport check in why you are overweight in baggage.

Instant Certification Card:

Our SSI affiliation means we can print your certification card on site, allowing you to move to your next location, card in hand and ready to dive. You can dive anywhere in the world, even if the next dive center you choose is only offering PADI diving.

The benefits of chosing PADI over SSI?

Well…errr. We don’t actually have an answer for that – sorry!

Let me check if I mentioned everything?

Both are governed by the WRSTC – so PADI & SSI have the same quality of training and safety – check!

Both offer the same format – videos, theory, knowledge reviews, confined water training, open water training, exam – check!

Both have been around for over 40 years – professional and have longevity – Oops I missed that, well, here you have it!

DID YOU KNOW?

You can even move between certification agencies, do your Open Water with SSI and then switch to PADI for your Advanced course, zig zagging all the way up to professional Instructor level.

Conclusion:

Which is better PADI or SSI?

Well, honestly when it boils down to it, it’s your decision. There’s no difference in training quality, world wide recognition or experience level. 

We recommend you make your choice based on the trainer rather than the agency. Pick the dive center you feel most comfortable with, the one who you have connected most with. The one that is the most informative, the one that doesn’t ‘bash’ the competition based on a negative, mostly uninformed, fictional view of the opposing certification agency.

To reiterate, all of the Uber Scuba Komodo instructors are dual rated meaning we can teach both PADI and SSI courses, we just have our preference to SSI based mainly on the flexibility allowed in the changing waters of Komodo.

 

Similarities 

Internationally Recognised – Dive anywhere in the world

Interchangeable – you can get certified as an Open Water Diver with SSI, then Advanced Diver with PADI

Safety – Science, Skills and Techniques the same

Insurance – have valid insurance? You will be covered.

 

Differences

Water Flexibility –

SSI: Yes. Taught with an 80/20 approach. The instructor can adapt 20% of the course to fit the pace of learning, ensuring a student focused training programme.

PADI: None. Skills performed in rigid sequence with no manoeuvre room for changing water conditions, student learning pace. If you do change, you break standards.

 

In House Theory –

SSI: Loaned Books supplied in our dive center, yours to borrow for the course

PADI: You must purchase a manual – adding cost and baggage weight

 

Certification ID –

SSI: Printed immediately on site

PADI: Sent to your home, 90 day temporary card issued.

 

e-Learning –

SSI: Yes and it’s free!

PADI: Yes but priced at $130