Diving and Snorkeling Sites: Komodo National Park, Komodo Island

While the Komodo dragon remains the ultimate draw of Komodo National Park, numerous diving and snorkeling sites in and around the park are equally fascinating. The following are some diving and snorkeling sites you cannot afford to miss when visiting the park.

1. Batu Saloka: Is part of a cluster of unchartered rocky islets and reefs off the point of Tanjung Saloka. The westernmost islet is an excellent dive spot, although it is very prone to currents and swell. The terrain is very dramatic. Some of the types of marine life you are likely to encounter include the Napoleon wrasse, big groupers, snappers, turtles, sharks and giant trevalies. The best time to dive is during low tide.

2. Letuhoh Reef: Extending south from Tanjung Letuboh, the reef offers some of the best big-fish diving in Komodo park. Big potato cod, gray reef sharks, eagle rays, turtles, dogtooth tuna and snapper can be found on this reef. The best time to dive is during a falling tide.

3. The Alley: Marked with large giant trevally, sharks, beautiful coral and a high diversity of other invertebrate life, this tiny collection of rock islands in the south of Komodo bay is a great place for snorkeling and diving. The site tends to be current-prone, with temperatures dropping below 20 degrees Celsius at times.

4. Tanjung Loh Sera: There is superb diving all along the southern point of Loh Sera where you can see large pelagic fish such as dogtooth tuna circling off the point and around the pinnacles. Turtles, monster-sized giant trevallies, potato cod, malabar grouper, bumphead parrotfish, Napoleon wrasse, manta rays and much more can be seen along the reef wall. Due to potentially strong currents, however, only experienced divers should attempt to swim in the pinnacles while beginner divers should stay along the wall.

5. Yellow Wall: Is an excellent day or night dive spot just inside the south-eastern corner of Loh Dasa Bay at Rinca Island. Considered one of the best snorkeling sites in Loh Dasami, Yellow Wall is the place to see invertebrate diversity, especially during a night dive. Walls are packed with an array of marine life and colors including colorful sea urchins, bright red sea apples, beautiful soft corals and a great variety of tunicates. Nighttime fish life include sleeping coral trout, cat sharks, many kinds of cardinal fishes and parrotfishes in their mucus cocoons, as well as sleeping turtles.




6. Boulders: Located on Nusa Kode, the boulders are a good night dive location. A torch is useful at this site. The dive begins with a forest of soft coral at 30 to 35 meters deep. Along the way to the boulders is a good location for finding fire urchins and Coleman shrimp. The boulders themselves display good coral, invertebrate and fish life. Quite often manta rays are also seen in this area.

7. Payung Island: It is an interesting underwater landscape with huge rocks. Fish and invertebrate life is diverse and there are big schools of surgeons and smaller yellow snappers (Lutjanus kasmira and L. Quinquelineatus). Rocky reefs are covered with soft coral gorgonians and feather stars. The southern and western sides of Payung Island offer the most interesting reef capes. Visibility is between 9.5 and 10 meters.

8. Tiga Dara: Tiga Dara — literally means three sisters — offers a pristine reef with excellent coral coverage and rich fish life.

9. Batu Bolong: A tiny rocky outcropping in the strait between Tatawa Kecil and Komodo Island, Batu Bolong is one of the top diving locations in the park, offering undamaged reefs thanks to strong currents and steep drop-offs that make it difficult for local fishermen to use dynamite and cyanide-fishing techniques. Sharks, Napoleon wrasse, giant trevally, dogtooth tuna, and rainbow runners are found in the area.

10. Tatawa Kecil: This small rocky islet southwest of Tatawa Besar island is an egret nesting site and a fantastic snorkel and dive site when the current is not too fast. Rocks, caves and beautiful coral gardens race the reef on the western side of the islet. Many coral reef fishes including large groupers, snappers, sweetlips, trevally and sharks can be seen. An amazing number of anthias swim among colorful fields of branching corals. Dugongs have also been spotted here and manta rays are often seen on the southern side of the island.

11. Castle Rock: Is a colorful dive with soft coral coverage. Clouds of anthias and schools of yellow-ribbon sweetlips are usually encountered while frogfish, moray eels and scorpion fish are also commonly seen. It’s an excellent dive usually worth doing twice. It’s called crystal rock because of the clear water surrounding it. The top of the site is exposed at low tide.

12. Darat Passage North: The slope is very rich in marine life and the sandy bottom at 15 meters deep is covered in garden eels. On the approach to the channel, turtles and schools of giant sweetlips that live in a grotto may be seen near the surface of the water. Parrotfish aggregate here to spawn annually around April. Sharks and batfish also reside in the passage. An excellent dive and good snorkeling can be found on the northern side of the channel between Gililawa Darat and Komodo Island.

13: Darat Passage South: Turtles can be seen on this coral reef. At 20 to 30 meters deep to the south of the point, many small coral trout, large schools of anchovies and small tuna and trevallies come in to feed in the bay. There is good snorkeling here, although a lot of damage has been done by bomb-fishing and reef gleaning.

Kanis Dursin

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