Top 5 Dive Sites in Central Komodo National Park
If you didn’t know that Komodo National Park is known around the world for its incredible diving, here is some insight. Komodo is one of the worlds most biodiverse marine environments. Imagine on one dive seeing things where in other parts of the world you may not see in a lifetime. Komodo doesn’t lack diversity in dive sites either, which is what we will be talking about today. We will be breaking down and going over the most common dived sites in central Komodo National Park.
Photo 1 (A diver below a swimming sea turtle in clear blue water)
Siaba Besar is also known as Turtle City, Turtle Town or any name related to turtles. This dive site is a favourite among many people and dive operators for it is very easy to dive. It is a rather shallow dive site that is home to beautiful cabbage coral as well as lots and lots of sea turtles.
Siaba Besar is located in a protected bay so it is a perfect place for divers who are starting out. It is common to do skills for the open water course here because of the pool-like conditions.
Photo 2 (A side view of a manta ray which shows it white speckled underside)
Makassar Reef is also known as Manta Point. This name change is dependent on if you see manta rays or not, for now, we will stick with calling it Makassar Reef. Makassar Reef is dived as a drift dive but of course, that depends on the tides. We always hope to get to this site when it is either rising or falling tide if the current is strong it increases our chances of seeing manta rays.
Makassar Reef is also quite the shallow dive site, we usually drift around 8-15 meters since that is where the manta rays seem to like to hang out. You can see a variety of things here, not just the manta ray but also marble rays and spotted eagle rays. As for fish there really isn’t much here which tends to confuse people. Makassar Reef has a flat bottom that is covered in crushed coral. Along this flat bottom, you can find small patches of coral teeming with life.
Photo 3 (A head-on view of a moray eel in black and white. The eel has its mouth wide open.)
Tatawa Besar is a beautiful drift dive full of life. Once below the surface, you find yourself drifting along a sloping reef. Going along with the current you keep the reef on your right-hand side making this a very easy and relaxed dive.
Watch out, everything is alive!
The first part of the dive you will notice the slope is covered in countless soft corals topped with feather sea stars and giant barrel sponges surrounded by many different species of fish. Keep an eye out for moray eels which tend to hide between corals and under rocks. If you get the chance to kick against the current and take a closer look you’ll be able to spot various nudibranchs and even the occasional frogfish.
As you drift further, you’ll notice a change from soft corals to hard corals. Equally as beautiful you can expect to find hawksbill and green sea turtles either resting or searching the coral for a bite to eat. This also means that you are approaching the end of the dive site. The end of the dive site is in a protected bay where the current is no longer pushing you which makes for a perfect spot for your safety stop.
Next stop, Mawan!
Photo 4 (Two manta rays swimming above the photographer showing their white under-sides)
Mawan is another dive site where we hope to encounter the majestic manta ray. Here there are a few coral patches that we like to refer to as a manta cleaning station. A manta cleaning station is a coral patch that manta rays hover over or circle while various fish come to clean the manta ray of things like dead skin or parasites.
There are two cleaning stations on either side of the dive site that we check for manta rays. The first being on the west side of the dive site located in the shallows. This is the first place we check and if there aren’t any manta rays here we kick east to the next cleaning station. On the way, there is lots of life from blacktip reef sharks to nudibranchs. You can find almost anything if you look hard enough.
Once to the east end of the site the bottom composition changes from various corals to a sandy slope. Here we wait. With any luck, a manta will be swooping over the top of us in no time. The sandy slope is perfect for kneeling in and relaxing as we wait. This is also the end of the dive site once it’s time for our safety stop we ascend and end the dive.
And of course the most famous dive site
Photo 5 (A group of four divers swimming towards the camera with a beautiful sloping reef on their right-hand side.)
Batu Bolong is among the most famous dive sites in the world known for its wealth of life and diversity. From the surface, you see a rather small rock formation protruding from the surface of the ocean but don’t be fooled – once below the surface, it turns into a very large seamount. Depending on whether the tide is either rising or falling decides which side you get to dive, either the north or south side. Both sides are quite similar starting as a wall closer to the surface and as you descend turns into a slope that continues into the depths.
The entire seamount is exploding with life. Here you can expect to see almost everything Komodo National Park has to offer. Every inch of Batu Bolong is covered in living organisms from soft corals, hard corals, sea fans, barrel sponges sea turtles various reef sharks giant trevally and even tuna. Diving here there is never a dull moment.
Let’s go diving
Now that you have an idea of what the dive sites of Komodo have to offer, where will you dive? In Labuan Bajo, there are a plethora of dive operators to choose from. Manta Rhei Dive Center does daily dive trips into Komodo National Park. They change the dive sites they visit daily and depending on conditions giving you the best opportunity to explore as much as the park as possible.
We hope when you come to Komodo National Park you get to see the beautiful marine the park has to offer. Feel free to follow Manta Rhei Dive Center on Facebook for the most up to date information.