Famed for the giant lizards that inhabit its parched grasslands, Komodo National Park, Indonesia is also home to one of the world’s richest marine environments and a plethora of spectacular dive sites. Encompassing the three islands of Komodo, Rinca and Padar along with scores of islands, islets and barren rocks, the Komodo National Park was originally set up to protect the Komodo Dragon. But the conversation zone has now expanded into its crystal clear, tropical waters. Home to over 1,000 species of fish and more than 350 reef building corals, Komodo offers a huge variety of dive sites. Divers can swim through monumental boulders, drop down onto seamounts, venture into caves or simply search out the weird and
wonderful in protected bays and islets. Even the most experienced divers won’t be disappointed with the national park’s fascinating underwater world so, here, we round up 11 of the best dive sites in
Komodo to help you plan your dives with Komodo Getaway Tours.
1. Cristal Rock
An open water pinnacle located to the north of Komodo Island, Crystal Rock takes its name from the strikingly clear waters that surround it, yet it is widely celebrated for its dazzling multi-coloured marine life. Formed by a huge seamount, the site is frequented by rainbow-hued fish such as yellow-ribbon sweetlips, surgeonfish, damselfish and pyramid butterfly fish, and covered in red, blue and orange coral, rust coloured sponges and large fans with protruding fingers. Captivating nudibranchs and flatworm species call the rock home, and intriguing rockfish species such a grouper and barramundi can be found under table corals. White tip sharks, grey reef sharks and red octopuses can be spotted here too.
2. Castle Rock
Situated to the north of Crystal Rock, Castle Rock plays hosts to an abundance of big fish rarely seen elsewhere in the world. Many of the creatures come here to take shelter from the strong currents and, likewise, divers can use the seamount to seek protection. Pigmy seahorses swim in the soft coral growth, and enormous schools of fusiliers, unicorn fish and bannerfish attract big predators such as grey reef
sharks, tunas, barracudas and dolphins. Micro life abounds here too. Look out for the Blue Dragon, a nudibranch with a giant feathering mane stretching in rows down its back as well as a variety of shrimp, morays, sea snakes and crabs.
3. Manta Point
Manta Point is a small island located off the east coast of Komodo where a series of long current-swept reefs run north to south, creating a highway and feeding ground for manta rays. The graceful giants frequent the spot in heavy currents, using the large coral bommies and interspersed reef for shelter. Watch them as they glide along with their mouths wide open to feed on plankton. Those lucky divers may even be surrounded by large packs but, if not, reefs nearby are resplendent with creatures such as turtles, eagle rays, giant trevallies
and huge clams, making your visit worthwhile. Plus, for those who don’t dive, this makes a fantastic snorkelling site.
4. Batu Bolong
A small island located between Komodo and Tatawa Besar, Batu Bolong is swept by the strong currents that run from north and south between the Pacific and Indian Ocean, and is thus teaming with marine life. Defined by a giant hole in the south side of the rock, the site also features large walls and crevices where giant grouper, moray eels, Indian lionfish and the occasional turtle hide. When the tide rises, divers can access the north side where a giant wall descends some 35 metres alongside a series of spurs peppered with giant table corals and incredible formations of barrel sponges. Also watch out for vibrant silver and
yellow sweet lips, grouper, bass and coral trout. A large wall also runs along the southern side beyond which is a large coral garden where a huge variety of tropical fish seek shelter and feed.
5. Sebayur Kecil
For a relaxing dive free of currents, head to Sebayur Kecil in the north of Komodo. Among the different sites located here is a coral slope that runs into a pristine sandy bottom visited by garden eels, goat fish and commensal shrimp. Sea cucumbers and other types of echinoderms and octopus can be found here too, while a series of spurs with amazing coral formations, including bright white lace coral, Gregorian sea fans and fantastically coloured tables faces the beach. For the more daring, the final spur juts out 100 metres and provides a great wall dive teaming with healthy coral. Beyond this are two seamounts and a valley that sometimes get swept by strong currents, where sweetlips, giant trevally and tuna swim.
6. The Couldroon
Usually a drift diving along the channel between Gili Lawa Laut and Gili Lawa Darat. With the high tide we start from the south-eastern side of the channel and we cross it swimming among corals and school of fishes. On the other side of the channel we will be drift up on the edge of the cauldron. Once entered the cauldron we will dive down to the bottom watching the the wall covered by corals and crinoids. Inside the cauldron you will enjoy the amazing view of sharks and big pelagic fishes whirling round.We will go up along the northern side of the wall, we will be drift a bit longer to end up behind the western tip of Gili Lawat Laut where the boat will be waiting. Great snorkeling, but suitable for expert swimmers, due to the strong corrents.
7. Golden Passage
This dive site is the channel that separates Gili Lawa Darat from Komodo Island. It’s a surprising drift dive better to be done in rising tide when the current pushes east to west. Get into the water in the shallow eastern bay and follow the current. The coral garden is beautiful and deeper you get more life you’ll find there awaiting for you. You will cross the channel about 20 meters deep surrounded by amazing landscapes always changing and fishes. Schools of sweet lips, trevally, reefs white and black tip sharks. Lots of turtles. In few occasion we met giant manta ray and dolphins. The dive ends at the opposite side of the channel where divers can enjoy the bright corals during the safety stop. The dive with opposite tide still very nice and the site is very suitable for snorkelers especially in the shallow waters of the bays.
This dive is suitable for expert divers if not during slack or in proper moon and tides conditions. Approach the site during rising tide only and you will discover one of the richest spots of Lintah Strait. From in front of the southern beach enter the water around the west edge and just follow the slope toward south. You will meet big fishes with a good chance to spot some mantas and macro critters as well. Indulge yourself here for the longest you can at a depth of 12 to 18 meters, then swim back towards the beach for the safety stop. You will be surprise for the number of species you spotted during a single dive. A peculiarity of Komodo waters, the amazing biodiversity.
9. Tatawa Besar
At this site there is one of the most amazing coral gardens of Komodo archipelago, well worth more than one dive. This dive site can represent an alternative to Tatawa Kecil when the current is too strong. In this condition, the dive at Tatawa besar becomes a fun drift over a colourful underwater landscape for hundreds meters. The dive entry is at about 6 meters depth, in front of a small beach facing the open sea at the northern side of the Island. You will start getting down heading Northeast and then you will follow the reef in East-Southeast direction at about 25 meters depth. This site is an unforgettable place for macro-photographers, as invertebrate species are the most interesting here. However you will easily spot napoleon wrasses, sea turtles and black tip fin shark. Usually in no current conditions you will return to the starting point, while with strong currents the boat will wait in the bay at the southern side of the island. Visibility is good or excellent, exception made for January and February when the west monsoon can hit hardly the coast. Great place for snorkelling.
10. Siaba Besar
Siaba Besar is another amazing dive of north Komodo. The beautiful coral garden lies along the western coast of the island and the site can be dived both in rising and falling tide providing that falling tide, with currents pushing towards south, is the best. In falling enter the water at the north western tip of Siaba Besar and just follow the current at a depth of 18 to 25 meters. As in any other spot with running waters large schools of pelagic hunt here around. Black tip sharks, barracudas, snappers, trevally, wrasses and turtles are usually spotted during this dive. More you go south and more the current can be stronger but never too much. The dive naturally ends at the south edge of the island where a colorful garden awaits divers during their safety stop that normally last much more than 3 minuts.
11. Siaba Kecil
Siaba Kecil is a drift dive running through amazing canyons that lies 15 to 30 mt deep. Ending point is always around a beautiful coral garden. Current herecan be strong and the drift a real adventure for moderately expert divers, but beginners can enjoy the area too just hanging around the gardens avoiding the flying drift. Depending on currents divers can dive the site starting from the east or west cape of the little island and snorkelers can enjoy the site too if current is not too strong. The canyons with spectacular caves and ANFRATTI are home of big pelagic fishes, sharks, barracudas and schools of giant trevally and sweet
lips. Lots of turtles are usually found here. At the end of the drift there are rich coral gardens with a lot of life that are a paradise for macro lovers. Many critters live here around and the rare mandarin fish can be spotted too. Snorkelers will enjoy this spot as well.
12. Mini Wall
Mini Wall is also located on north face of Sebayur Kecil but further to the east. Usually we jump close to the boat mooring and start the dive with exploring a white sandy slope. Look out for ornate ghost pipe fish, shrimp and nudibranch in the small coral bummies. Continuing reef right we approach a beautiful hard coral reef that quickly develops into a coral wall with 5 to 30m depth. We explore the wall for macro life, also look out for bluefin trevally and the occasional Hawksbill turtle. If you go far enough there are also schools of bat
fish and fusiliers and perhaps eaglerays too. This site usually has no currents but be aware that current may be present further along if we swim far enough to enter channel between the islands. For advanced divers we can also start this dive at a coral filled seamount about 40m away from the wall.