Flores and took Nate, Zack’s younger brother, Hanny – my cousin, and Caesar & Nitara – my
favorite couple on this planet. We’re planning to spend a week in Flores,
relaxing on the beaches and visiting Taman Bacaan Pelangi. But my cousin Hanny
could only stay for 3 days, because on Wednesday evening she had to fly back to
dive boat for 3 days & 2 nights, diving around Komodo National Park.
However, the price was pretty high, around Rp 5mio/person, including 4 dives
& 3x meals. So, I decided not to pursue with such idea.
bumped into my friend named Matheus, who owned a restaurant in Labuan Bajo and
a boat called Treebucca. Curious, I asked him how much was it to do a safari
trip for 3 days. He said, “Rp 1.5mio per person”. I was like, “Really? For 3
days?”. He said, “Yes”.
cheapest price ever! I shared this good news to everyone in the group and soon
they said, “Let’s do it!”.
1.5mio/person/day and that excluded renting the dive equipment of Rp
250,000/person/day. What a ripped off! And we could only dive 3x/day, not 4x
because Treebucca didn’t have the right tool for night dive.
But then Matheus was willing to negotiate and in the end we settled for Rp
20mio for 4 divers & 2 snorkelers for a 3 day & 2 night trip include
dive equipment for 4 divers. (Snorkelers also had to pay extra for the
snorkeling gear, unfortunately) L.
noon the boat would be ready to go – according to Matheus. But, when we got to
Treebucca – the boat, it wasn’t even ready yet. We then decided to have some
drinks at Paradise Bar first, then at 1pm, the Captain informed us that the
boat was finally ready to go.
cabins. There were 3 cabins in total: one cabin was the main one with queen-sized
bed and two cabins with two single beds. Matheus said, “Don’t worry, all cabins
have AC and the bathroom have hot water”. Sweet, I thought.
western toilet. (later on I found that the AC in the cabins would be switched
off after 10pm. So, the cabins would turn into sauna rooms because the windows
Apparently, there was a problem with the engine. We patiently waited. Another hour
later, still nothing happened. The mechanic came and tried to fix it. Zack
& Caesar decided to buy pizza to cheer the girls up, but when they came
with the pizza, the cook was ready with our lunch: fried noodle made of instant
didn’t even move an inch.
divers were all surprised to know that we still hadn’t left the harbor since
this morning! They said, “We have dived with 5 manta rays and you guys were
still here???” Sadly, we said, “Yup!”
and our boat finally departed. We negotiated that Tribuca should give us 1
extra day for free since we already lost 1 day. They agreed. They would pick up
my cousin Hanny on Wednesday morning with a small boat heading to Labuan Bajo,
while the rest of the gang stay on Treebucca until Thursday.
So, finally, we left Labuan Bajo. I was just happy that I
traveled with my good friends, Caesar & Nitara who were very easy going and
didn’t make the whole situation worse by complaining.
important! Don’t choose people who often complains and not easy going, because
most likely if something happened not according to the plan, that type of
person would get angry and turn the whole travel experience into a nightmare.
and we couldn’t do our check dive. Our boat stopped there and we would stay
over the night on this spot, according to the Captain. Suddenly, the dive
master that they hired told me, “Mbak, there’s a problem here. The compressor
there were only 4 tanks that were filled with oxygen, which meant we could only
do 1 dive.
looking for a compressor that they could borrow in Labuan Bajo”, the dive
couldn’t talk to Matheus directly to get any update.
whole trip!) and try to find a signal spot to call Matheus. Zack then called
him and from the conversation Matheus said that they had borrowed a compressor
and would meet our boat around Sebayur Island by dinner time. “By the time you
finish your dinner, the compressor would be there”. Ok, so, let’s give this
boat another chance.
with the compressor to come. The cook prepared our dinner and we finished the
meal by 8pm, yet the boat hadn’t arrived yet. And the boat didn’t have any
radio, so nobody knew when it would arrive.
arrive, we would abort the whole trip and head back to Labuan Bajo, sleep in a
hotel and either do some daily dive trips with Dive Komodo or do our safari
trip with Dive Komodo or Divine Diving, companies that I trusted.
It was my first time to see moonrise! The moon rose in between the two hills
and shone so bright. It was full moon. It started to create a shadow on the
dark water. Very pretty.
In the dark, we saw a small boat coming. Could it be the
boat with our compressor? Apparently yes! Ahhh finally! This boat didn’t have
any light nor radio. Crazy, eh? What if something bad happened to it? Better
not to think about it!
Instead, the boat came with 12 tanks filled with oxygen, enough for us to do 3
dives only. WTF?!!
picked up Hanny on Wednesday morning. By that time, I was already speechless.
It wasn’t so much about the tanks anymore. It was more about building trust to
customers. At that point, I’ve lost trust to the company who runs Tribuca boat
and also to Matheus. One shouldn’t lie to his/her customers and whoever violated
that, had lost my respect.
was out in the sea at Komodo National Park surrounded by beautiful scenery all
around with my loved ones. I didn’t want to ruin this holiday only by some
unprofessional company’s crap.
We woke up in the morning and were about to do our first
dive at Sebayur dive site until Sudir, the dive master, came to me and said,
“Mbak Nila, we have another problem. One of the regulators doesn’t work. It’s
broken”. OMG. What else?!
rented the gear from another company. I said, “Yes, but your boss (Matheus)
recommended that company to us!”. And
this boat didn’t have any extra dive gear, according to the Captain. Shoot.
borrow a regulator from other dive boats when we meet them later in the
afternoon?”. They said they would try.
to dig in whatever crap the boat had there and fortunately found some dive
gears: wetsuits and a regulator. This was super weird. How a Captain of the
boat didn’t know what’s in his boat? My goodness.
just fine. Thanks to Zack!
confidence & skills of the dive master. He didn’t take care of my friend
Nitara who was still a beginner even though I already asked him to. Only in the
last dives he took care of her.
after 10 minutes. We were very confused. He told us to go up to the surface and
all of us went up so fast until my dive computer beeping all the time. I
already tried to slow down, but he kept on telling everyone to go up.
Geez!!! So, no safety stop even though
my dive computer said that we had to do 4 minutes of safety stop.
we do safety stop???!” He said, “Ahhh we only dive for 10 minutes, no need to
do safety stop”. What the hell??!
full and lengthy speech on the importance of safety stop. I told him that in my
6 years of diving experience, this was the first time I skipped safety stop and
I didn’t like it.
I asked him, “Why did we abort the dive?”. The dive master said, “The current
was too strong and we already missed the dive spot”. Again, I was disappointed
by his skills of dive master-ing. If he’s a good dive master, he could’ve
calculated it well so that we jumped in to the right spot and all of these
craps wouldn’t have to happen.
the next day, we were at the Qualdron dive site, in the North of Komodo Island.
All of us could see the current was very strong there. Caesar even said, “Welcome
to the Qualdron of Hell!”. I asked the dive master, “Are we going to dive here?”.
He said with an un-confidence facial expression, “Up to you, Mbak Nila”.
A dive master should know the capability of his/her divers. Seeing those crazy
currents and had handle my friends who were still beginners, he should know by heart
that it wasn’t a good idea to dive on that spot.
said, “No. We’re not going to dive here”. I had to make that decision because I
didn’t want the same thing happened to us again like the one in Castle Rock.
with Dive Komodo or Divine Diving boats that I already knew for sure their
professionalism & high quality of services. I would never take my risk in
trying an anonymous/new boat again and do a live-on-board dive trip in Komodo
National Park or anywhere else in the world. (Treebucca wasn’t even a dive boat
as the owner claimed it at the first place!)
In the end, I refused to pay Rp20mio, because my cousin from Holland had lost 1 day (worth of Rp 850,000) of her trip when the boat’s engine was broken and we were stranded in Labuan Bajo’s harbor for a whole day. So, basically my cousin only stayed 1 night on the boat and she shouldn’t pay for 2 nights. I paid a total of Rp 19,150,000 (excludes snorkeling gear for 2
persons) for 4 divers and 2 snorkelers.
please go on a live-on-board dive trip only with a trusted dive center!