Komodo Resort Diving Club Sebayur Island – A Divers Paradise

As I walk along the shore, with it’s waters as clear and as warm as a tepid bath, I’m delighted to discover schools of fish darting over languidly lazy starfish, unperturbed by the commotion above.

This is our first morning on the island of Sabayur.

The words tropical paradise are just not descriptive enough for this beauteous slice of heaven 1 1/2 hours from the port of Labuan Bajo, on the island of Flores in the Komodo group of islands.

If Bali is the sassy showgirl of Indonesia, then this place is surely the quiet cousin who is content with her classic understated form.

No glitz for this gal, just perfection in nature.

For those who love diving, snorkelling and all things aquatic, this spot’s for you!

My husband reports that it is the best diving he has experienced so far, with an abundance of sea life, including turtles, majestic manta and truly stunning coral.

With 20 years of world wide diving experience under his belt, that’s no small statement.

Labuan Bajo from what I have heard, is the Bali of yesteryear.

One and a half hours flying time from Denpasar, arriving at the airport was classic.

Not quite a tin shed, but in a state of complete disrepair. Not to worry, the runway is all that matters.

A shiny new terminal stands behind ready to take the baton. Just another sign that the times are changing.

I would suggest you pre-book your trip before arriving, as the taxi and hotel touts were in full swing, clambering over themselves to get business like a bunch of zombies in a B grade shlock fest!

Not for the faint hearted, but all part of the adventure.

Our driver was waiting, and promptly we made our way to the town office of Komodo Dive Resort, where our luggage was stored until we needed to be at the port.

As our boat wasn’t leaving until 12.30pm, we decided to explore a little of the town.

We had breakfast at la Cucina then our plan was to have an 1 & 1/2 hour massage to pass the time.

Plan foiled! The only massage place we could find didn’t open until 1pm on a Sunday.

What you will notice here is that the population is predominately Christian or Muslim, unlike Bali which is largely Hindu.

Still easy going in that friendly Indonesian way, just not fully geared to tourist time. Although, I have no doubt that this might change too.

Finally it was time to hop on the supply boat that would take us to our destination, Sabayur.

Putting past islands rising out of the sea like sleeping giants, we are in a completely different world. The whole way we are filled with excitement, like children on a road trip with an “are we there yet” attitude.

It is with a hearty greeting, like one from a long lost friend, that we are welcomed by Elena, one of the four Italians who run the resort.

Ushered to a table in the communal dining pavilion, we are offered refreshing tamarind juice, which is both sweet and sour, yet delicious and an Indonesian style lunch.

So this is how it rolls at Komodo resort, three meals a day are included.

Breakfast is a classic buffet, consisting of fruit, cereal, eggs, bacon, pancakes, coffee, tea and juice. Lunch is aforementioned Indonesian and dinner is Italian. Soft drinks, beer and wine are extra.

My lunch on day two was some of the most mouthwatering eats I’ve ever tasted!

Grilled chicken with a fabulous topping of sautéd onions, accompanied by ample sides of water spinach with chilli, cassava leaves with chilli and garlic, rice and potato chips (fries), such a perfect combo! I had to turn down dessert as it was so filling. I must also add I was also offered a soup too.

There is no going hungry on this island!

Dinner is ordered at breakfast, so staff can shop during the day.

There is a choice of two dishes in each part of the menu, antipasto, pasta or soup and a main course followed by dessert.

The first night was a succulent steak, which I was told had been supplied by an Australian company. It was tender and juicy.

My husband gave a big nod to his gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce, and what can I say but “yes” when offered a whole lobster for a supplement of 10 euro for part of the next nights choice!

It just keeps getting better.

There is also a decent size wine list, for a resort this size. French, Italian and South African whites and reds are covered, as well as an Australian/Indonesian choice, Artisan.

Apparently the grapes are from Western Australia, and it isn’t half bad!

Being eco friendly, there are rules to obey, and rightly so.

This area has just been announced as one of the “new seven wonders of the world”, and UNESCO declared Komodo National Park a world heritage site in 1986.

This marine park has one of the greatest concentrations of biodiversity in the world, and on arrival you will receive a permit (*AUD$2) to dive and snorkel.

Keep this with you on the dive boats as rangers patrol and fines are hefty. And as goes without saying take nothing but memories and photos, leave nothing but footprints.

Fresh water is brought to the island by boat, so be mindful of how much you use.

We can all do a little for the environment, so maybe adopt a little upmarket “Survivor” attitude.

Eat, drink and be merry but save the Hollywood shower till you get home.

Towels and bed linen are changed every three days but as we were staying for four, I asked not to waste the washing water for one nights stay.

It never hurts to think outside the box occasionally. Believe me, when you experience a place as pristine as this, it is important to make every effort to keep it that way!

The staff, 60 in total, are locals from the surrounding islands, but all live as a community on Sabayur.

The resort is in the process of building a bar, shop and a few balés, which will round out the relaxed vibe nicely.

I was lucky enough to be taken to the fishing village on the next island – Mengiatan, where staff were buying fish for our dinner.

I was shown a warm welcome from the local community.

The smiles and curiosity were just so divine, and I was happy to respond to the calls of “photo please Miss”, gotta love digital photography!

I love that Komodo Dive Resort understands the integrity of the land and is maintaining its majesty, they are merely borrowing a piece of perfection for a slice of time, not owning it.

Time for a sunset drink, and just as I glance out to sea, a manta ray launches itself gracefully from the water.

That truly is inda sekali (very beautiful).

Jo Bayley Fashion Editor, The Culture Concept Circle, 2014

*approximate at time of publishing.

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