Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dive sites at Komodo National park

Komodo National park
Dive sites

A good variety of hard and soft corals, plenty of fish life and other marine creatures can be found at this site. This site is a pleasant, relatively current-free dive just north of the ranger station where there is a small white sandy beach and a group of low, black rocks sitting on the reef. The entry point is just off the small white beach. The dive continues towards the ranger station with the reef at left.

The Alley
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.

German Flag
From September to January high densities of plankton attract many large manta rays that can normally be seen swimming on the surface along the shores and rocks along southern Komodo Island. The nearshore water is quite shallow (5 - 20m deep) and is composed of large rocks and boulders that shelter huge malabar grouper, potato cod, napoleon wrasse, schools of surgeon fishes and red snappers. Cooler water from the upwellings off the south coast provide a nutrient-rich environment in this area. There is usually current at this site and a drift dive is usually the best way to go .

Crinoid Canyon
Many kinds of small invertebrate life can be found here on very colorful walls carpeted in featherstars. 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.

Nusa Kode
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.

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.

Batu Tiga
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.

Karang Makasar
This site is for snorkling only, please don’t dive here as it will disturb the manta rays. The reef does not have much in the way of coral or fish life however this location is manta ray aggregation site. The best way to find the mantas is to cruise along the eastern face of the reef until you see them on the surface. The best time is during rising tide. Sometimes there can be between 40 to 50 mantas.

Batu Bolong
The top of the reef is covered in colorful corals, invertebrate life and thousands of brilliant reef fish. Along the steep walls in deeper water many large fishes including sharks, napoleon wrasse, giant trevally, dogtooth tuna, and large schools of rainbow runners can be observed on almost every occasion. Batu Bolong is a tiny rocky outcropping in the strait between Tatawa Kecil and Komodo Island. The reef is undamaged due to strong currents and steep dropoffs, which are difficult conditions for local fishermen to use dynamite or cyanide fishing techniques. This site is one of the top diving locations in the Park but it can only be dived around slack tide when the current is not too strong.

Tatawa Kecil
Rocks, caves and beautiful coral gardens grace the reef on the western side of the islet. Many coral reef fishes including large groupers, snappers, sweetlips, trevally and sharks can be seen. Amazing numbers of anthias swim amongst colorful fields of branching corals. Dugongs have been spotted here and manta rays are often seen on the southern side of the island. 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. Large or inexperienced groups should only attempt this site around slack tide.

Tatawa Besar
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.

Sabolan Kecil
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.

Sebayor Kecil
Large boulders shelter groups of giant trevally, whitetip reef sharks, coral trout, snappers and emperors. The northwestern corner of Sebayor Kecil is one of the better dive sites near Labuanbajo. A small reef extends northwest from the island where it drops off to greater depths along the northern coast of the island. A few hundred meters from the shore there are some large boulders with notable fish life. Currents can be quite strong at this site.

Gililawa Laut
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.

Castle Rock
Curious batfish as well as schooling barracuda, trevally and mackerels swim at 30- 40m depth. At approximately 20m depth there is excellent soft coral growth and numerous seafans that host pygmy seahorses. The top of the rock is a good, calm place to explore during safety stops. This site usually has excellent visibility but is prone to strong currents. The current usually flows eastwards and is much stronger at the surface than in the deeper water. However, the top of the rock, which is approximately 3 to 4m deep, also offers shelter from the current; hence the name “Castle Rock”.Recommended dive entry point is in blue water approximately 50m up-current from the shallowest point of the reef.

Crystal Rock
A very colorful dive with excellent soft coral coverage. Clouds of anthias and schools of yellow-ribbon sweetlips are always encountered while frogfish, moray eels and scorpionfish are commonly seen. There is a small mound northwest of the rock where different species of fish school seasonally, including tuna and mackerel. An excellent dive usually worth doing twice. This name of this site is from the very clear water surrounding it. The top of the site is exposed at low tide. This site is prone to currents, which usually flow eastwards. Best time to dive is during slacktide. Darat Passage North,
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