Liveaboard Diving in Lombok
What To Expect On A Lombok Liveaboard
Take a dive liveaboard to the island of Lombok, Indonesia and you will get chance to dive some amazing areas in this tropical part of the world. Lombok is situated in the Lesser Sunda islands close to the island of Bali. Like many of these islands Lombok is famous for its biodiversity and fantastically clear waters. The island and the small islets around it, the Gili islands in particular, are very popular for liveaboard dive trips. This is hardly surprising given the untouched natural beauty of Lombok and the isolated nature of the Gili Islands. Tourism is one of the main industries in Lombok with people enjoying its quiet beaches and the island’s laid-back backpackers style attitude.
The Gili islands, meaning ‘small islands’ in the local Sasak language, sit to the North-west of Lombok island. There are three of these islets, Gili Trawangan, Meno and Air which are very popular with Indonesian liveaboards due to their isolated nature and the fantastic coral reefs that surround them. Lombok also enjoys fantastic weather which means not only on-deck sunbathing but in in the West, dreamy sea conditions and very little current.
The conditions for taking a dive cruise in Lombok vary greatly depending on whereabouts on the island you are diving. In the West at Sekotong and the small islands around it the conditions are very easy with calm waters and scarce current. Liveaboards that dive in this area might be more suited to beginner divers who haven’t dived in currents before. The reefs here are beautiful and full of fascinating creatures and corals. Eels and sea snakes are abundant in many shapes and colours as well as nudibranchs, anemone and all kinds of box fish.
The South at Belongas bay and the northern Gili islands have good sea conditions as well but the current can be much stronger. These conditions however come hand in hand with an increase in big life and rich reefs. The Gilis have coral reefs surrounding the islets with stunning corals full of reef fish and critters. There is also a chance to see rays and sharks at both of these locations. In the North there are white and black tipped reef sharks and in the South hammerheads and schools of mobula rays as well.
Dive Sites of Lombok
There is no shortage of dive sites on offer for liveaboard diving in Lombok. Belongas bay should be high on any experienced diver’s list. The bay doesn’t have as rich coral reefs as the Gilis but there are huge shoals of fish, trevallies and snappers. The main attraction here though are the rays and sharks, there are shoals of mobulas, white tip reef sharks and even hammerheads here. Turtles are also frequently found resting on the reef or under rocks in the bay.
The Gili islands in the North of Lombok are probably what most people associate with liveaboard diving in Lombok. These tiny islets are fringed with beautiful coral reefs and crystal clear waters. Some of the deeper sites such as Shark Point are also home to white and black-tipped reef sharks and a host of turtles. If you are lucky here, you can even see mantas passing by over the sloping reefs.
Sekotong on the West side of the island is much better protected from the open sea than the other Liveaboard diving sites in Lombok. This means that the conditions are much better all round and more suitable for new divers. There are less of the big animals and sharks but the reefs are very beautiful and there are some reef sharks and turtles to be found here. It is really a perfect spot for macro lovers though, ghostpipe fish, sea horses and a host of other coral critters are in abundance. The visibility is also very good often over 20 meters making it a great place for photography too.
Top Tips for Divers
- The conditions vary so best to choose your diving in Lombok based on your experience.
- The water is a balmy 27-30 degrees but you should try to cover up somewhat as there are stonefish and the currents in the North can cool the water considerably.
Getting to Lombok
If scuba diving in Lombok is your priority, then liveaboard diving is definitely the best option. There are some shorter dive trips leaving from Lombok itself or Bali. Longer cruises tend to take in Komodo and the dive sites around Bali as well as Lombok and the Gilis and depart from Labuan Bajo in Flores or Bali.
There are a few options when choosing a dive cruise in Lombok, including you budget and taste. There are numerous well equipped luxury liveaboard boats and some more basic, laid-back ones as well. For the full Indonesian liveaboard diving experience however many people opt for a traditional sailing boat.
Flights to Lombok island are available from Jakarta and Singapore or a short hop from Bali international airport and the same goes for Labuan Bajo as well.
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