The Gili Islands in Indonesia are famous for the amazing underwater world, lots of turtles and (baby) sharks! Divers from all over the world come to experience the warm and clear idyllic waters as well as the diversity of marine life.
The water temperature averages at 28 degrees and the visibility vary throughout the year but can be as clear as 30m+. The Gilis are protected by Lombok, but there are often strong currents, which means the majority of our dives are drift dives. If you haven’t been for drift dives before: we can assure you, it’s so much fun!
With over more than 25 dive sites to choose from it wasn’t an easy job to select our favorites but we did it! Here are our top 5 dive sites around the Gili Islands
1. Deep Turbo
Deep Turbo is, as its name suggests, a deep dive site, the shallowest part is around 18m. Since its location is further away from shore when you descend it feels like you are in the open ocean. You get this sense of feeling that the possibility of seeing something great is endless.
Once you get down there the topography of the place is truly magic. You cruise around these huge pinnacles and ridges, that have awesome coral formations and gorgonians waving out, like natural underwater skyscrapers with fish surrounding them as a busy metropolis. Not to mention a few banana nudibranchs dotted around controlling the traffic. As this dive site is deeper the chance of seeing bigger fish species is higher and in larger numbers too.
2. Shark Point
Shark Point is located on the north side of Gili Trawangan and is a super dive site because of its variability. To start the topography of the site is completely different from the shallows to the deep part. In the shallows part, it has stripes of hard coral and soft coral with the occasional coral bommie. This transitions into a field of large coral bommies dotted around, one is home to a few juvenile white-tip reef sharks chilling out underneath it.
Following this is three large canyons that go steadily deeper. The host of this area is a huge school of Humpback Snappers swimming between each of them. Also, you can find in each of the canyons are Blue Spotted stingrays or ribbon tail rays. At the start of these canyons, there is a big shipwreck called Glenn Nusa, that was purposely sunk a few years ago. Now the wreck is home to several large schools of fish; Black Snappers, Sweetlips, Trevallys, and a resident White-tip Reef shark!
If you love macro diving then Mentigi is the place to go. Although this dive site is not situated in Gili Mantra Marine Park, but it is definitely worth a visit. The dive site is located off Lombok and is a muck dive site, so there is no coral reef, the substrate is sand and silty. Buoyancy is key to dive this site, to see all the small creatures! Care also needs to be taken with your fins as well. You don’t want to stir up the bottom, as the visibility goes from being good to ‘I can’t see my hand’ in a couple of misplaced fin kicks.
Due to this sand and silty bottom, it is a host to all sorts of creatures. Octopus, nudibranchs, devil scorpionfish and crabs that bury itself in the sand to name a few. There is also a bit of seagrass here where the chance to spot a seahorse is high. This dive site is beloved by underwater photographers, as there is no current, the creatures stay still and the variety of the animals is large.
Halik is a beautiful dive site, it starts off as a mini wall where there is so much healthy hard coral and fish crowding around it. At the bottom of the wall, there are a few crevices that if you know which ones to look in you may just find juvenile White-tip Reef Sharks. Continuing on from the wall it is a slope which goes down to about 24m. Along the slope, there are a few small coral bommies that maybe an octopus or a grouper is hiding in.
This dive site has the potential to have very strong currents. But don’t let that stop you jumping in. When the current is going this increases the chance of seeing Bumphead Parrotfish as they love to swim against it. It is also a great dive site to see Black-tip reef sharks too, they are either swimming in the deep part of Halik or right in the shallows right where there are lots of bony fish they like to eat for their dinner.
Soraya, located on the southeast side of Gili Meno, has some awesome topography. Several huge ridges which you follow along in the current makes this a great drift dive site. It is another deep dive site where you usually end up doing the safety stop floating in the blue. A cool feature to this dive site there is a huge M statue, this was placed there in memory of a diver called Mirkos. This is also why this dive site is sometimes referred as Mirkos reef.
Due to its deepness and the currents it is the place to see big fish and in large numbers. Recently, there have been sightings of juvenile white-tip reef sharks. Hopefully, this means it will become another shark nursery area.
Although the ocean covers more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface, we’ve explored a mere five percent of it. So for those looking to channel their inner adventurer, our aquatic realms offer abundant opportunities. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or an expert, these dive sites offer you amazing sights and experiences.
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