The Best Dive Sites in the North of Komodo National Park
In Komodo, the currents are ever-changing.
Photo 1 (Water mixing and swirling together in the current caused by tidal flow)
The north of Komodo National Park is known for its currents, clear warm water and a plethora of fish of various sizes. Here the currents happen to flow slightly different than in the rest of the park. This is because in the north we are not surrounded by different landmasses but open sea to the north and Komodo island to the south. This causes the current to flow from west to east on a falling tide and east to west on a rising tide.
What better place to put your skills to the test
With this in mind, it is very important your guide knows or at least has an idea of what the ocean is doing at any given time since it will indeed affect where and how you will enter the water! The north isn’t exactly something for beginner open water divers so you may want to consider furthering your skills while here.
Let’s dive in
Photo 2 (Large school of fish above a group of divers close to the ocean floor)
When looking at this dive site from the surface you can see the top of Crystal Rock just barely breaking the surface of the water where the current is deflecting around it. The water is known to be very clear, hence the name. This site is composed of two pinnacles, one that touches the surface and one that is tucked below the surface of the ocean.
This site is typically dived in a few different ways. For those who require a bit more excitement, enter the water using a negative entry descending into the spilt (where the current meets the face of the rock). Once at the split, we hook into a rock and enjoy the show happening around us. However less experienced divers can dive on the protected side for an easier, slower-paced dive. This site is usually bustling with activity of thousands of anthias schooling about, various species of reef shark, yellow ribbon sweetlips and many other beautiful creatures. It is definitely a dive worth doing more than once.
Photo 3 (The channel between two islands where the dive site is located.)
Situated between Gili Lawa Laut and Gili Lawa Darat, this site is usually dived as a drift from west to east depending on the current of course. This site has a large variety of creatures and terrain such as a sandy bottom littered with coral bommies teeming with life leading up to the cauldron itself. It’s called the cauldron because this part is shaped quite like a cauldron or very large bowl. Here you can come across whitetip reef sharks, ribbontail stingrays and the occasional giant trevally.
Ready for some excitement? Get your reef hook ready!
At the eastern edge of The Cauldron, rocks jut out creating an edge as well as a shallow plateau leading away from the cauldron at around seven meters. The current rushes over this part of the cauldron rather quickly making it a great spot to hook into the rock below you and watch the show around you. This part of the site is what we like to call The Shotgun since once you unhook you get shot out into the end of the site. Oh, did we mention this is also a location frequented by manta rays? Like most of the dive sites in Komodo National Park, we definitely recommend doing this dive more than once.
Photo 4 (Sea turtle resting on a sandy bottom)
This site is off of the coast of Gili Lawa Darat from this location you can actually see three of the other dive sites The Cauldron, Crystal Rock, and Castle Rock. Crystal Bay is a beautiful location for snorkelling as well as diving.?
This site is mainly used for its pool-like conditions for teaching dive courses, but that does not mean it falls short of beautiful marine life. Crystal Bay is a great place for beginners. There is a sandy bottom and no current to make things difficult. Mastering your buoyancy exploring around the coral bommies and sea turtles that call this bay home can be done with great fun.
This dive site can be dived on its own or your ability to explore it a bit after diving The Cauldron. Once you have unhooked from the shotgun you usually make your way to China Shop. This is also another great dive site for beginners. It is located on the east side of Gili Lawa Darat and within the protected bay. Much like Crystal Bay, there are lots of coral bommies teeming with life. Most notably the schools of glassfish one may see. Don’t forget to look out into the distance. The occasional manta ray is known to pass by as well as spotted eagle rays.
Photo 5 (The bow of a boat made out of wood with rope spooled up lying on the deck)
Manta Rhei Dive Center visits a variety of these dive sites Monday through Saturday depending on the day and weather conditions. Manta Rhei starts the day out meeting at the dive shop at 7 am and then walking down to the harbour. Once at the harbour we get on the luxurious dive boat where breakfast is served. They take care of everything throughout the day from breakfast, snacks in between dives, homemade lunch, and Belgian waffles for the ride back.
At Manta Rhei they take out a maximum of 16 divers a day visiting three dive sites. Manta Rhei likes to focus on having smaller, more personal dive groups, so each group of four can expect their own guide. Depending on how many people are on the boat you may even end up with a personal guide. Doing so gives them the best chance of having a highly enjoyable dive!