Diving on the Gili Islands
The Gili Islands are among Indonesia’s top snorkeling and scuba diving areas. This is because the temperature of the water remains at around 28 degrees Celsius throughout the year and is rich in marinelife. Divers, both beginners and experienced, throng the islands for various reasons. While the warm water, high visibility (about 20 metres), short distances, and turtle sightings attract beginner divers to the islands, veteran divers are seduced by shipwrecks, drift dives amidst crazy currents, and not-so-infrequent shark sightings.
There are as many as 25 dive sites on the Gili Islands with varying topography and diverse marine life which includes reef sharks, turtles lionfish, cuttlefish, sea snakes, scorpion fish, octopus, moray eels, and many types of rays, among others.It is possible to dive in Gili Islands throughout the year, and the best time is between the month of May – October, during the dry season.
Diving courses are offered at Gili Islands at very reasonable rates. A number of people complete their PADI/SSI Open Water Course in about three days. If you are experienced diver, you can go for the PADI Advanced Open Water/Rescue or Divemaster training. Of course, if you are already qualified, there a whole range of dive packages available too
The Top 5 Dive Sites In Gili Islands
Shark Point on Gili Trawangan is considered by many to be the best dive site in Gili Islands. This can be attributed to Shark Point’s marine biodiversity. While turtles hang around in the shallow waters, sharks can be spotted in deeper areas. The mid-section presents a mixed bag of marine life.
Located on the eastern side of Gili Meno, this site definitely lives up to its name. You cannot simply count the number of turtles you can spot in one dive. The sloping dive site attracts colourful and diverse marine life. You may see lionfish, trevallies, clownfish, damselfish, mantis shrimps, octopus, and ribbon eels.
This dive site, located in between Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno, is very popular among divers. It is actually a seamount rising up from the sandy bottom. The top offers a magnificent coral garden. Black-and-white-tip reef sharks can be spotted within the interesting canyons that are there in the deeper areas. You can expect to come across a wide variety of reef life.
Simon’s Reef is a seamount series located on the northern side of Gili Meno. It boasts of a mix of soft and hard corals, including gorgonian fans and large barrel sponges. You can see cruising fusiliers, eagle rays (occasionally) and turtles. In the canyon and vibrant coral areas, you should be able to spot reef sharks and critters such as orangutan crabs, porcelain crabs, and squat lobsters.
This dive site, a sloping reef, is located on Gili Trawangan’s southern tip. It has an abundance of hard corals, including table and branching corals. A wide variety of reef fish species can be found here. Further, the Lombok Sea attracts reef sharks as well as other pelagics such as tuna and trevallies. Occasionally, manta rays can also be spotted, especially when plankton is present.