Why Indonesia is the best place in the world for scuba diving!
If you look up the ten best spots to dive in across the world on the net, every post will always list at least one Indonesian destination. Indonesia has a selection of the very best dive spots in the world, whatever your taste in diving, whatever the season.
So what makes Indonesia such an awesome (dive) destination?
Indonesia is one of the largest countries in the world with 17 000 islands covering almost 2 million square kilometres! It straddles the equator and is crossed by the Wallace Line, a fictional 'faunal' line that marks the biogeographical transition from Asia to Wallacea - a transitional zone between the ecosystems of Asia and Australia. Thanks to this, the country ' between land and sea' - as the locals call it - has incredible biodiversity. In fact, the 'Coral Triangle' which is at the centre of this transitional zone is considered one of the biggest marine biodiversity hotspots on earth, with over 3000 species of fish (the Great Barrier Reef has 'only' 1500). This diversity is reflected in the cultures, languages and physiognomies of the various people of Indonesia. Ranging from the big-built, strong-featured, afro-haired Papuans to the slight of build, daintily featured silky-haired Javanese.
Why is the diving so good?
You can dive year-round. Most spots are either diveable year-round or have short off-seasons (the diving around Komodo tends to slow down around October to only reopen fully in May-ish) but there are many other top-notch destinations close by so you can always find a great place to dive. Nusa Penida for example has Manta rays in its southern coastal waters year-round.
The temperatures are mostly tropical. The temperatures are mostly warm and pleasant, whether on land or in the water. Certain seasonal variations bring a bit of diversity. In Penida, for example, the cold upwelling of the May to October months bring with them the Mola Mola (oceanic sunfish). These fish can be spotted year-round but like the cool waters (19° degrees) of the European summer months best. Other tops spots like Komodo and Raja Ampat will also have some cool upwelling during the year with temperatures occasionally dropping in the low twenties.
There is every type of diving you can dream of. If you are a macro diving freak, Indonesia has some of the top spots in the world: Bunaken and the Lembeh straits as well as Alor, Ambon, Amed/ Tulamben, and a few others offer exceptional macro life. Creatures people cross the world to see: think pygmy sea horses, hairy frogfish, mimic octopuses, ornate and other ghost pipefish, and much more. If big stuff and pelagics are your thrill then Manta rays, Molas, sharks, turtles, etc., etc. can be spotted easily near Bali on Nusa Penida or if you are ready to leave civilisation behind (a little) in the incredible Raja Ampat area as well as in Wakatobi, Flores and the Banda sea to name but a few. Current junkies will get their adrenaline rush with (again) Nusa Penida and, famously, Komodo, especially with world-known dive sites like Shotgun (a.k.a the cauldron). Wreck lovers can spend a few days on North East Bali (Tulamben/Amed area) and leisurely discover the USS Liberty, the Japanese landing vessel wreck from WWII, and the artificially sunken but very picture-worthy Kubu wreck. And that's just North Bali, plenty more to find in North Sumatra's Pulau Weh for instance.
You can see whale sharks, almost guaranteed. Several spots in Indonesia are feeding grounds for these gentle giants. Most are of relatively difficult access or little known so still well preserved and managed (and want to stay that way). If your dream is swimming with Whale sharks, look no further.
After all this covid malarky, a lot of people are just itching to get their wetsuit back on and get to a top destination to get their fins wet and see some incredible sea life; if you're not quite sure where to go, take our advice and chose Indonesia. You will not be disappointed. Most dive centres (including us) will be happy to help you plan your trip and have good advice on where to go when, where to stay, and how to best organise your trip according to budget, time, and taste.
Welcome to diver's paradise!