South West of WA

Sipidan

Iceland

Lombok

Bunaken & Lembeh

Scapa Flow

Lake Baikal

Komodo Island

Pulau Weh

South Africa

HMS Hermes

Ambon & Banda Islands

SS President Coolidge

Murion Islands

Cuba

Norway

Wakatobi & Raja Ampat

Truk Lagoon

Maldives

Philippines

More Dive Trips

Diving in north and south west Lombok, Indonesia

 

Recently direct flights (Jetstar) started from Perth to the new international airport on Lombok, so I decided to take advantage of the relatively short (3.5hrs) and cheap (under $400) flights. I knew about diving on the Gilis off the north west of Lombok, but was also interested in diving off the south west in Sekatong and Belongas bays.

 

Gili Trawangen

 

 

From the airport it is about a two hour taxi ride to Bangsal, the mainland point of departure to the Gilis.. There are three islands, Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangen, with separate ferries to each. My ferry ride of about 30 minutes went to Trawangen, the outermost island, and the most developed. Despite this, the island is quite laid back with no cars, motorbikes or dogs, only horse carriages, bicycles and cats. Although there are a lot of tourists, and it has a reputation as the party island, I managed to find a quiet traditional bungalow close to the beach for $30 a night. There are many dive shops on the island as a lot of first time divers learn there, The one I picked was called IQ divers (www.iqdiversgili.com) for no reason other than it was small and next door.
I did two dives in the five days I was there, both from a boat and not far away, the first off Gilli Meno and the second at so called shark point (didn't see any). The water was warm  and visibility reasonable (15 metres), with quite a lot of small fish and especially turtles. The most disheartening thing for me was the coral, which has been seriously damaged in the past by previous dynamite or cyanide fishing practices. Although this stopped some time ago there were only a few signs that the coral is recovering.

On the other hand, the snorkeling was quite good, and there was lots going on above water.

 

Sekatong and Belongas Bays

 

und the pinnacle with some awesome overhangs and ledges. Another dive spot was the Blue Hole which I really enjoyed. Again it can be subject to currents (and resultant fish life) but I only got swells! The other dive sites I explored were called Gili Sarang and the coral gardens which were also very nice with plenty of fish including a school of devil rays.
The south west corner of Lombok has yet to experience mass tourism, although with the new airport, and a proposed direct fast ferry from Lombok, this is likely to change in the future. Access is currently by road; I used taxis to get there from Gili Trawangen. There is one boutique resort (Cocotinos) on Sekatong Bay, plus there are a couple of other cheaper options, on the mainland and on two of the islands. I stayed near Tawun on the mainland in a small beachside establishment called Krisna bungalows which was quite ok and about halfway between the two main diving areas. The only dive operator that dives both Sekatong and Belongas is a well run operation called DiveZone ( www.DiveZone.com) although Cocotinos also has one that dives Sekatong only.
Sekatong bay has a number of dive sites around the tip of the bay and the islands, which are generally safe and protected, although there can be currents. The dives are mainly coral and macro, and the coral is no where near as damaged as on the Gilis. Visibility was average, and there was quite a lot of reef fish around.
Belongas bay is on the other side of the peninsula from Sekatong bay and although the bay itself is protected, the dive sites are outside and exposed to the ocean swells and currents, so it is quite a contrast. There is a small resort there, or DiveZone can pick you up and drive you there (with the van that brings the air tanks) as they did me. From the bay it is about 30 minutes by boat to most of the sites, The most well known site is the Magnet, which is a rock pinnacle that breaks the surface from about 60 meters and is well offshore (it has a non working lighthouse on it). At certain times of the year, especially when the current is strong and the water cooler (22 degrees) hammerhead sharks can be seen to school, although I only saw white tipped reef sharks. Nevertheless it was quite exciting diving aro

 

 

The total all up cost of the trip came to just under $2,000 for two weeks including 12 dives.

 

October 2013