Dive Sites of the Komodo Area
Abundant fish life exists in current-prone areas including large, missile-like Spanish mackerel. On the northwestern corner of this seamount grey reef sharks swim at 30m depth. Dogtooth tunas can sometimes be seen along the deeper slopes.
Big potato cod, gray reef sharks, eagle rays, turtles, schools of rainbow runners, dogtooth tuna, giant trevally and snapper frequent this reef. There are also large coral-encrusted pinnacles. This reef extends south from Tanjung Letuhoh and consists of big boulders and pinnacles that offer some of the best big-fish diving in Komodo. The optimal time to dive is during falling tide when a counter-current flows northwards. Recommended dive entry is on the southern-most rock that breaks the surface. Hang out on the reef face and watch the show, which is particularly good at around 30 m depth. Swim clockwise around the rock where you will encounter some big pinnacles encrusted with corals This site is affected by surge and can look quite frightening from the surface especially when there is a big swell running; however conditions are less terrifying underwater.
This area is marked with very large giant trevally, sharks, beautiful coral and a high diversity of other invertebrate life in relatively shallow water between 5-20m depth. Sometimes lots of manta rays may be seen feeding between September and January each year. The tiny rocky islands in this southern Komodo bay are great for snorkeling and diving, with even if there are no mantas. Only little damage has been done to the corals in this area and the damaged corals seem to be recovering rapidly. The best diving entry point is on the northeastern side of a rock located near a coral mound that is submerged 3-5m below the surface The temperature of the water can drop to the low 20°C range and this site tends to be current-prone.
Abundant small fish life at shallower depths, interesting invertebrate life on the walls and lots of larger fish somewhat deeper. Enormous schools of surgeon fish sometimes obscure views. Schools of large red snappers, Whitetips reef shark and huge groupers further down amongst the boulders frequent the reef. The southern point of Tala island is characterized by steep rocky walls and occasional strong surge.
On the south west coast of Rinca you will find a point marked Toro Sie. Adjacent to the point is a rock awash. This rock has a ridge that extends to the west that is covered in crinoids and soft corals. On the seabed around the rock lots of interesting critters can be found. If you swim out over the sand southwest of the rock there is a patch reef that usually has excellent fish life on it and quite often a few big grouper. This dive is usually has better vis during the NW monsoon along with most of the parks other southern sites.
A very good place to see invertebrate diversity, especially during a night dive. Walls are packed with a mind-boggling array of marine life and colours including colourful sea urchins, bright red sea apples, beautiful soft corals, Spanish dancer nudibranchs and a great variety of tunicates. Crevices in the wall reveal sleeping fishes, spiny and slipper lobsters, cleaner shrimps, and decorator crabs. Nighttime fish life include sleeping coral trout, cat sharks, all kinds of cardinal fishes and parrot fishes in their mucus cocoons, as well as sleeping turtles. Yellow Wall is an excellent day or night dive spot just inside the southeastern corner of Loh Dasami Bay. It is also one of the best areas in Loh Dasami for snorkeling. The current usually flows south to north so the best entry point is just around the western-most tip of the headland; the dive should then continue into the bay along with the current.
Cannibal Rock / Batu Buas
This site is famous for its varied and colourful invertebrate life. Rich soft corals abound as well as sea apples and other sea cucumber species. Amongst many surprises are flamboyantly coloured nudibranchs, and fire urchins with Coleman shrimp. The fish life can also be quite good at times with an array of scorpion fishes, schools of red snappers and surgeon fishes. Unusual fishes such as pygmy seahorses and frogfishes may also be seen. Cannibal Rock is a small seamount in well protected Loh Dasami Bay, between Rinca and Nusa Kode, which allows for easy diving with little current. Night dives are excellent, especially on the sandy slope of the northern side of the island starting at about 25 m depth.
Many kinds of small invertebrate life can be found here on very colourful walls carpeted in feather stars. This site is located in a small cove just outside the southern entrance of Loh Dasami on the island of Nusa Kode, almost directly opposite Yellow Wall. The diving entry point is just south of the cove then continues along the wall in a counter-clockwise direction. Best to start the dive at 25 m depth and then continue swimming back and forth up along the wall to the surface. This is a easy dive location with no current and is good in the early morning as it catches the morning sun.
The dive begins with forests of soft coral at 30-35m depth. Along the way to the boulders is the best place in Loh Dasami to find fire urchins with Coleman shrimp. The boulders themselves have good coral, invertebrate and fish life. Quite often manta rays can be seen in this area as well. This site is located on Nusa Kode where the bay widens just northwest of Crinoid Canyon. Directly below this point there are several big boulders laying on the bottom. The shallowest boulder is in about 8 meters of water and the deepest one is in about 30 m of water. A torch is useful on this dive. The best point of entry is 100 meters south of the point where the reef slopes down to soft coral forests on a dark sandy bottom in 30 to 35 m of water. Continue the dive to the boulders by ascending to 20m with the reef to the left. This is also a good night dive location.
An excellent place to find unusual critters such as torpedo rays, Bobbit worms, flying gurnards, frogfish, and ghost pipefish. Located north of Cannibal Rock, critters can be found on a patchy rocky reef at a depth of 15m. A great low environmental-impact dive for photographers as most of the rocky habitats are surrounded by sand.
The south western tip of Kode island is characterized by large, coral-encrusted boulders and huge groupers. Amongst the boulders are some of the largest reef fishes residing in the Park such as gigantic potato cod and malabar grouper. Schools of large red snapper are normally prevalent. Diving entry is west of a small island at this site. Swim down to a depth of about 10 m and follow the ridge, which juts out in a southerly direction. Swim along the crest of the ridge and down to a max of 50 m depth.
Very interesting reefscape. Large schools of fusiliers can be found here along the reef slope, which is covered in an interesting variety of soft corals. Sharks and the odd turtle are often encountered. Pillaarsteen is a rock pinnacle located on the shore of a small island east of Padar Besar. Best diving entry is just off the point below the rock where there is a nice wall. Continue swimming to the west towards interesting caves and swimthroughs at different depths. Diving is particularly good at around 30-40m depth. This site is a good choice when other sites have too much current. This area may be effected by surge when there are swells from the southwest.
Pantai Merah / Pink Beach
There as a great variety of fishes here and also a good selection of critters such as leaf scorpionfish, blue ribbon eels, crocodile fish, nudibranchs, and more. Visibility varies but is best during falling tide. This is the most frequently visited site in the Park for snorkeling and diving. Snorkeling is excellent from the beach and there is a very good dive around a small area of reef around a steep rocky wall which is visible from the surface of the water at low tide. This site is also a very good night dive and offers excellent macro-photography opportunities. Several mooring buoys are stationed at this site.
An excellent "big fish" dive. Large boulders in deeper water to the west offer excellent habitat for grouper and other creatures. Mantas, giant trevally and other pelagic fishes are frequently seen here. Most of the coral growth is stunted as a result of the strong prevailing currents. Batu Tiga is without a doubt one of the most current-effected sites in Komodo and is tricky to dive. A rocky reef is situated southeast of Tanjung Kuning in Linta Strait and extends below the surface up towards Komodo Island. The best diving entry is at the northeastern side of the three rocks. Swim counter-clockwise until reaching some big boulders at 33 m depth. After exploring the area around these boulders turn around and swim back, keeping the reef to your right.
Good reef fish life and an endless field of orange soft corals. Mantas are often seen in this area. A good drift dive starts at the northwest tip of the island and runs along the western side in about 15- 20 m of water. A similar drift dive is also possible along the north coast of the Tatawa Besar from the same entry point. This site is a good dive option if the current is too strong at Tatawa Kecil or Batu Bolong.
This is another good site within easy reach of Labuanbajo. On the west side of the island there is a small white sandy beach. At the northern most point of the beach where the sand meets the rocks is the best point to enter. The reef slopes down to sand and there is a patch reef isolated from the islands fringing reef . The Water clarity is usually good and so is the dive. Once you have seen the patch reef you can return to the fringing reef slope to finish your dive.
Always a great dive site to see fish but does not have much to show in terms of hard corals. Behind a very large rock on the corner of the reef is a drop-off covered in boulders and many holes in between with hidden animals. Excellent grouper sightings, especially in October and November during spawning aggregations. There are usually many golden trevallies, snappers and sometimes huge napoleon wrasses. The site is located on the northeastern tip of Gililawa Laut. The best time to dive this site is when there is a slight current just before or after slack-tide.