Indonesia is known it’s phenomenal diving and snorkeling, but which sites are best and how is it possible to choose between so many incredible areas? To give you a glimpse of the diving and snorkeling possibilities which await you, here are a few of our favourite sites from different locations. By exploring Indonesia on board El Aleph our experienced crew will take you to the best sites available and, unlike liveaboard diving or snorkeling trips, you’ll have the freedom to discuss the options with the crew and choose where you’d like to go. A luxury private charter cruise is the perfect way to explore the Indonesian archipelago in comfort.
Diving and Snorkeling in Raja Ampat
Phenomenal topography, schooling marine life, hoards of fish, critters, pelagics and swim throughs – Boo Windows is an iconic Raja Ampat (Misool) site and it certainly has it all.
The topography of this site is what makes it remarkable, aside from the swim throughs, which appear as aquamarine windows in the rugged rock, there are boulder formations and pinnacles completely encrusted in vibrant soft corals. As you round the smaller rock the sheer volume of fish can make it hard to see your buddy it is that abundant! Schools of sweepers, glassfish, juvenile fusiliers and damsels stream past in the current whilst out in the blue; barracuda, trevally and other predators hover menacingly. The shallow waters are sublime with scorpion fish, shrimps, lionfish and sweetlips adding to the rainbow of colors. This site is excellent for both diving and snorkeling.
Cape Kri is the site where Dr. Gerald Allen is famously reported to have counted 374 species of fish in one single tank dive and once you have dived here it is a number that is easy to believe. Cape Kri offers excellent biomass, phenomenal diversity and some interesting currents. Cape Kri is widely recognised as one of the best diving and snorkeling sites in Indonesia.
The top of the reef offers a picturesque shallow coral garden comprised mainly of hard corals interspersed with sandy patches – it’s a great place for watching passing turtles feeding on the reef. The drop off is a little further out and gives way to a steeply sloping reef offering a mix of both soft and hard corals down to 40 meters. Where the current hits the reef you’ll find the majority of the fish– schools of fusiliers dart back and forth whilst hoards of damselfish glitter against the reef and glassfish schools seem to almost shroud the bommies. This is a wonderful site to watch the marine food chain in action; the schools of smaller fish here bring in numerous predators. Look out to the blue for patrolling giant trevallies, Spanish mackerel, hunting tuna and reef sharks. Cape Kri promises a bit of everything and never fails to deliver.
Diving and Snorkeling in Komodo
An iconic Komodo pinnacle site with exhilarating currents, hoards of fish, stunning, vibrant colors and the chance to see both huge schools and large pelagics.
The shallows are a myriad of darting brightly colored antheas, fairy basslets and damsels that shimmer in the light. As you progress down the pinnacle it is difficult to know how to allocate your time – the surrounding blue is packed with thousands of streaming neon fusiliers and clouds of red-toothed triggerfish and surgeons. Larger predators such as giant trevallies, tuna, Spanish mackerel, barracuda and occasionally sharks pass through or hang out in the blue surveying the action.
The sheer volume of fish is phenomenal and when coupled with the kaleidoscopic reef itself this is not a dive to miss. This site is best suited to experienced divers due to currents.
Another iconic Komodo site – a submerged seamount famed for sharks and pelagics. Head down to your maximum depth and watch the blue! White tip, black tip and grey reef sharks patrol the deeper sections; giant trevally, tuna, napoleons and Spanish mackerel are also visitors here together with schooling jacks and fusiliers in droves. From 15 meters up the reef is a cacophony of color – large angular boulders are encrusted with flat hard corals, sea squirts and small branching corals. The sheer volume of reef fish is impressive – brightly colored antheas, damsels and basslets persistently battle the current. Keep glancing over head – schools of fish stream through oblivious to the diving activities around them. This is known as one of the best dive sites in Indonesia for good reason.
Diving and Snorkeling in Sulawesi
Turkey Beach, Tolandono Island
The site is a gentle drift dive along a stunning sloping reef which has excellent coral coverage with intense colors and variety. Along the reef there is a healthy mix of gorgonians, whips, tubers and sponges which all add colour and texture. Diving or snorkeling this site under bright sunlight reveals mind-blowing colors, which are equally as impressive as the marine life. Turtles (both green and hawksbills) are frequent visitors as are blue spotted stingrays, lobsters, cuttlefish and crocodile fish. Schooling fusiliers are another common sight here along with hoards of antheas and damselfish over the corals in the shallows.
Nudifalls, Lembeh Strait
This site boasts a range of topographies and bottom compositions making it home for a wide variety of Lembeh’s critters including pygmy seahorses and numerous species of nudibranch. You’ll find rubble, reef, muck, soft coral gardens and walls – all in one site! Rhinopias scorpionfish have previously been spotted nestled amongst the vegetation and mantis shrimps favour the rubble for making their holes. Along the base of the wall are sea fans, which are worth checking for pygmy sea horses whilst on the wall itself numerous lionfish lay flattened, a variety of nudibranch species dot the corals, frog fish take camouflage and crocodile fish lay on the bottom. Snorkelers will enjoy the variety of reef fish which are drawn to the shallows including Moorish idols, triggerfish, butterfly fishes and wrasses. Nudifalls is also a good site for spotting the endemic Banggai Cardinal Fish (Pterapogon kauderni) which are often found hiding amongst the anemones.
This is a wall dive on the east coast of Bunaken Island with dense coral coverage, enchanting shallow water coral gardens (which offer phenomenal snorkeling), turtles, critters and kaleidoscopic colors.
On the top of the wall’s reef crest there are soft and hard coral gardens and an abundance of small fish. The colors are truly spectacular – reds, purples and pinks mingled in with green, blues and turquoises give a wonderful colorful patchwork effect.
The diversity of fish life is impressive with sweetlips, snappers, parrot fish, puffers and an abundance of smaller species including damsels, cardinal fish, schools of fusiliers streaming by and the blue is densely populated with clouds of butterfly and small trigger fish.
Diving and Snorkeling in Bali
USAT Liberty Wreck
The USAT Liberty is not only one of Bali’s most famous dive sites and a great wreck dive, it has also become a living reef in its own right. Vibrant and healthy corals have now encrusted the entire structure. Marine life flocks to the wreck; feeding, taking shelter in its many crevices and existing in symbiosis with this colorful jewel which stands out against the black sandy slopes on which it has come to rest.
The super structure stretches up to around 5 meters at the shallowest part, which makes it ideal for diving and snorkeling. The mast, ribs, guns and anchor are all identifiable.
The soft corals and fans are littered with various types of shrimps and pygmy sea horses are often seen here. Look out for larger, solitary pelagics such as barracuda and occasional reef sharks. If you get out early it is a great site for bumphead sightings and you’ll have the wreck to yourself.
Manta Point and Manta Bay, Nusa Penida
There are two manta ray dive sites along the south coast of Nusa Penida which offer stunning scenery, rugged underwater topographies and of course, the opportunity to dive with one of the most majestic and graceful marine creatures of the ocean planet.
The bottom composition of these sites is mainly rock covered with closely cropped corals, sandy channels and large underwater boulders which have fallen from the cliffs over time – these makes excellent swim throughs and hiding places for lobsters, resting bamboo sharks and small sting rays.
It’s not unusual to be surrounded by 20+ manta rays gliding and swooping overhead. Don’t be afraid – these gentle giants like to get close but are completely harmless.
Diving and Snorkeling in the Banda Sea
Also known as the “Snake Island” due to the large amount of sea snakes that can be seen here, Gili Manuk is a volcanic island with incredible underwater drop-offs. When diving here the blue is just as interesting as the reef: sharks cruise by, schooling mackerel and fusiliers often flash past while hunting tuna and barracuda’s bide their time before their next snack.
Snorkeling here, as you would expect from the Banda Sea is stunning with shallow coral gardens, usually clear water and a plethora of colorful reef fish which will keep you mesmerised for hours.
This site takes its name from a ship, stranded on the reef. The atoll here is often referred to as the “Forgotten Islands” and it’s easy to understand why as you cruise through this remote area. It’s a great location for forgetting about daily life and just absorbing the watery horizon. For divers and snorkelers the reefs are bursting with vibrant colors and teeming with fish life. For those divers who like to see bigger fish, hammerheads are known to be spotted in the area – often in schools.
Private Cruising in Indonesia on board El Aleph
With so many world-class dive and snorkeling sites to explore in Indonesia, a private cruise gives you full freedom to choose the places you visit and where and when you dive or snorkel. El Aleph’s dedicated and professional crew are experienced in all areas and will strive to ensure you visit the sites you want to, at the optimum times for seeing the best marine life. Once on board your needs will be catered for and your expectations not only met, but exceeded. Cruise on El Aleph and enjoy Indonesia in privacy and luxury.
For more information or to enquire about our private charter rates and availability: email@example.com.
Please note that to ensure your privacy and an exclusive experience we only offer full charters and do not take bookings for individual cabins.