As my plane flew over Indonesia, I looked down at thousands of tiny islands, each surrounded by clear, turquoise water. This fascinating country, with its 18,000 islands, is home to some of the most beautiful diving sites in the World. Indonesia prides itself in having the longest coastline in the World, straddling the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is within what is known as the Coral Triangle, an area of tropical marine waters stretching from Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. This huge area is also known affectionately as the Amazon of the seas because of its biodiversity. Indonesia contains 20% of the world’s coral reefs and there are over 600 coral species and 3,000 species of fish for divers to marvel at. Indonesia offers a wide diversity in dive sites, ranging from shipwrecks, coral reefs and fascinating colourful underwater life. Given Indonesia’s all-year-round warm climate, divers can enjoy the warm ocean water without a wetsuit throughout the year. I was lucky enough to travel around the islands with the famous Indonesian scuba diving duo, Pinnang and Gemala, aka Wet Traveler. Pinnang and Gemala introduced me to some of the most beautiful dive sites of their country. These were my favourite places: diving indonesia
1. Batu Bolong site, Komodo Island
This island is not only famous for being the home of the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the World. It also includes spectacular diving sites. Komodo Island is famous for calm and colourful shallow reefs, crystal clear water with many reef fish, turtles and some sharks as well. There are also deep coral walls and pinnacles. It is a wonderful diving location, with great visibility and warm water.
2. Mari Mabuk, Wakatobi Islands
The first time I heard about the three islands known collectively as Wakatobi and its spectacular underwater life was from the in-flight magazine on my flight into the country with Singapore Airlines. The magazine described Mari Mabuk as offering some of the most spectacular diving sites in the world. I couldn’t wait to go to this remote dive resort on the Sulawesi Island to explore this underwater gem. Wakatobi consists of three islands: Wangi, Kaledupa and Tomea. These islands offer a paradise for divers. The area is rich in reefs, corals and fish. There were many sea snakes and small colourful fish in large groups swimming among us.
3. Tulamben in Bali
Bali is not only a surfers’ paradise, but it also offers great shore-based diving. Tulamben is a small fishing village in the North-Eastern part of Bali, where a giant US Army ship was sank in WWII. The shipwreck is within easy diving reach of the shore. Within about 20 meters from the shore, you can reach the giant shipwreck, lying just 30 metres beneath the surface, now completely overrun by corals and colourful small fish. If you are lucky, you can even see some large animals such as whale sharks and black-tip reef sharks around the wreck. For me it was a wonderful experience to dive on black sand beaches and observe how this giant ship was completely encrusted by colourful corals and fish.
4. Kal’s Dream in Alor
Alor is located in the eastern point of province East Nusa Tenggara and it is well known for its clear waters and pristine coral. Average visibility in Alor is 30m. It is situated in North-West Timor and it tends to be a ‘live onboard’ diving destination. It is only recommended to experienced divers as currents are very strong. One of the best diving spot is known as “Kal’s Dream“. This underwater mountain is fully covered with colourful corals and is permanently decorated with a living blanket of fish and ocean life, from bright coloured anthias to big pelagic like dogtooth tunas, bump head fish, and reef sharks. Fortunately it is not too frequented by scuba-divers, so the site is still pristine.
5. Nudi Falls in Lembeh
Lembeh is heaven for underwater photography lovers. During muck diving in Lembeh, you will have to keep your fingers close to your shutter button. Most of the dive guides will point you to the location of the critters which sometimes cannot even be seen with your bare eyes. It is important to find an experienced dive guide to point out the most fascinating underwater species. Nudi Falls is one of Pinneng’s favourite dive sites in Indonesia. It is just north of Tandu Rusa village. Here you will have encounters with different species of Nudibranches such as Pygmy Seahorses, Frogfish, Flamboyant Cuttlefish, Blue Ringed Octopus, Hairy Octopus, Wonderpus and Seahorses. These creatures have extraordinary colours and striking forms. Nudi Falls is an amazing place for night dives. All the little creatures light up at night and create an underwater light show.
6. Arborek in Raja Ampat
Arborek is a small village at the end of the Dampier Strait and close to Manta Sandy. It’s the perfect place for beginner divers because they can practice underwater skills in the shallow water. The dive site is frequented by angelfish, regal fish and 6 banded fish. The highlight of the site is a massive coral head about 12 meters deep. Tons of soft coral, sponges and big schools of small fish adorn this rock. It is a great place for underwater photography, as the water is shallow and lots of sunlight penetrates through the surface.
Read more about Raja Ampat by Sonal of Drifter Planet.
Check out the YouTube Channel of Wet Traveler to see more of the underwater life of Indonesia.