After some amazing diving in the Middle East, the bug had firmly re-bitten and I smashed the budget diving at a number of locations round Indonesia during my month trekking, dragon spotting and boating round this wonderful country.
First up was a dive on Gili T, the largest of the three Gili Islands, and while this may not have been one of the best dives I had done, the school of HUGE bump-head parrot fish we saw near the end more than made the dive. They weren’t scared by us at all and it looked like they were just saying hi on their way to work! The biggest ones must have been about 2m big and these were definitely the largest fish I’ve ever seen.
Basing ourselves in Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores for the week, next up were four dives in the Komodo National Park. I had heard the currents can be quite bad but we were fortunate to be diving round a full moon so it was calm. This was some of the best diving I’ve ever done with two of these in particular simply unreal – Batu Balong and Castle Rock – as I felt as if I was part of a National Geographic Special such was with the unbelievable concentration of fish.
I saw at least a dozen sharks (white tips, black tips and the mean looking Grey Reef Shark), half a dozen turtles, a huge and majestic manta ray, two effortless eagle rays, more bump-head parrot fish, awesome Napoleon wrasse, huge schools of giant traveli’s, tuna and barracuda and so much more! On one of the dives we had a shark right in front of us and then an eagle ray gliding by just behind it. Plus we saw a few smaller guys like the tiny ribbon eel and the finger nail size Pygmy seahorse. Simply spectacular.
The final dive site was in the north of Bali where we had three great dives exploring the USA T Liberty wreck, an American warship that was torpedoed by the Japanese during WW 2. While the afternoon dive was good to get an idea of the site before diving it at night, the said night dive, and sunrise morning dives, were definitely the better two. We encountered a school of 15-20 bump head parrot fish who were sleeping in the chamber of the wreck at night and then saw them again just outside the chamber in the morning. On the night dive we also saw these electric clams (bright red clams with electric charges) and decorating crabs while on the morning dive we encountered garden “raving” eels who all swayed together and then disappeared into the sand as you floated over them. Rather freaky to be fair but very special to see.
All in all, I dived nine times in Indonesia and along with the diving we did in the Red Sea, this is definitely one of the best countries I’ve been diving in. (It’s also perhaps the best place to see big fish, with the Red Sea being more about the coral and smaller fish).