Labuan Bajo: The gateway to the Komodo National Park
Labuan Bajo is the gateway to scuba dive in the Komodo National Park for many a traveller. Which is one of the best scuba diving locations in Indonesia. Labuan Bajo offers various food and accommodation options and it’s situated close to the airport, it’s a no-brainer really.
Though being the prime departure location there is much competition for diving, with over 30 dive shops operating in a small area, all offering the best service.
Tourists are generally unaware of one thing before booking dive trips in Komodo. This is the distance from Labuan Bajo to the Komodo National Park. This can range from one to two-plus hours one way, depending on the dive site and the speed of the boat of course.
How long will I spend on the dive boat on a daily dive trip?
You’ll spend much longer on the dive boat than you realise and here’s why.
- Sailing from Labuan Bajo to the Komodo National Park – Average one and a half hours.
- At least one-hour surface intervals between each dive – Average two hours.
- The return journey to Labuan Bajo – Average one and a half hours.
This means you’ll be aboard the dive boat around five hours of the whole trip unless you’re on a speed boat. But why would you want an early return to Labuan Bajo, when you could be sailing through the beautiful Komodo archipelago.
So anyone in their right mind would want to remain comfortable and happy for the whole five hours, right?
Many of the old dive boats in operation around Komodo were once standard Phinisi boats. These were generally used for non-diving trips. Most of them have been transformed into dive boats which have several design and comfort flaws. This is because they had to make do with the space they had and to create a new design with an existing template. Some worked out well but others, well, we’ll not go down that path.
What would the most comfortable dive boat in Labuan Bajo need?
First of all, it would need space and lots of it! Enough space to lie down and relax, eat, prepare dive gear, gear up, and everything else in between. Secondly, there should be enough materials to lay on whether it be mattresses, bean bags, sofas, cushions, or anything comfortable and in large supply. Moreover, there should be enough space in a shaded area as well as a sun deck. This gives the guests the choice of where’d they prefer to relax.
Another desirable would to have a large dive deck so that guests are able to gear up and prepare for their dive with no stress or tight squeezes.
All these desirables will transform your journey of five-plus hours into a heaven-like experience.
But does this even exist? Of course it does!
Welcome Yolande the most comfortable dive boat in Labuan Bajo
Yolande was newly built in Sulawesi by Indonesia’s finest boat building craftsmen. Our concept when designing Yolande was to provide a spacious, comfortable, and functional vessel for all guests to enjoy.
The finished product turned out better than expected? and here’s why!
The size of Yolande
Yolande is huge in comparison to other daily dive boats in Labuan Bajo. It’s rumoured to be the same size as some of the small liveaboards in the area – now that’s saying something.
She?s five metres wide and 20 metres long, with around two and a half metres of height on the first level. So if you’re a tall human, this boat is definitely the choice for you. Also, if you’re quite small, then this boat will feel like a grand hotel sailing in the ocean.
The top deck of Yolande
The top deck offers plenty of shade and sunspots to relax throughout the day. Yolande has over 20 beanbags, mattresses, and cushions to achieve that desired level of comfort.
Let’s put that into perspective. The largest number of guest divers onboard Yolande is 16. Thus, at any one time, there will always be extra relaxing spaces to enjoy.
The kitchen and lounge area of Yolande
The lounge area comprises of two large sofas hugging the sides of the boat, creating ample room to walk around comfortably. There’s also plenty of overhead cubby space for safe storage. This is perfect for valuables and dry products/goods.
To keep the environment in mind, we stay away from plastic water bottles. We offer two water stations, hot and cold water, and we have mugs and cups on board. As well as two free canned soft drinks each, per day.
The food offered onboard is all homemade western style recipes. It includes dishes like pasta bolognese, potato salad, chicken curry, and Belgian beef stew. As well as, our pride and joy, our homemade Belgian waffles and cake after an amazing day of diving.
The impressive dive deck of Yolande
This has to be one of the best dive decks on a daily dive boat in Labuan Bajo. With 20 dedicated seated tank holders and space above and below to stow gear. As well as two freshwater showers to rinse off after each dive.
The highlight of this dive deck is the freedom of having over 10 divers able to enter the water simultaneously. Plus the efficiency created if we need to execute a negative entry, which at some sites with strong current is the preferred entry.
At first, you may not think this is a huge benefit in diving, but imagine that you’re on a dive boat with a total of 16 divers. The only way to enter the water is in a single file giant stride entry. Sixteen divers in a line waiting to enter the water will become annoying and slow.
Now think of 16 divers on Yolande all entering the water in under one minute. The more time we save, the more time we can stay underwater or relax on the top deck.
What’s your next step to dive in Labuan Bajo?
Let’s recap, everyone knows diving in Komodo is of world-class, so why wouldn’t you want the same for your boat. Don’t forget you’ll be on the dive boat here in Komodo for over five hours. So make sure you’ve done your dive boat research and you have an amazing time above and below the surface.
Here are some key points to think about:
- Plenty of space in the sun/shaded areas.
- Plenty of space to store valuables and dry goods.
- Plenty of relaxing materials to sleep on.
- Large dive deck with space for many simultaneous water entries.
- Great food, snacks, and desserts.