Batu Bolong – Bucket List Dive Site
Indonesia is home to an amazing variety of dive sites. With its location at the heart of the “Coral Triangle”, Indonesia boasts a wide variety of fish and coral. We cruise in areas that are known world wide as some of the top diving destinations around. Although diving is only one of the activities we offer, we love to offer the best sites to our guests. In our latest in the series of “Bucket List Dive Sites” we explore the legendary Batu Bolong.
Batu Bolong is located in the Komodo National Park, off the western edge of Flores island. An innocuous looking rock sticking out of the Linta Strait, it doesn’t look like an obvious dive site at first glance. A closer look at the rock reveals the reason for the name Batu Bolong which means “Hole in the Rock”. The low lying black rocks are about 5 meters high and there is a large hole through one of the peaks. Although it would seem the rocks are too small for a dive site, they actually mark what could be compared to an iceberg, as the underwater area is much larger than the terrestrial portion.
Batu Bolong Underwater
The next thing that is noticeable before entering the water is the amount of current! As Batu Bolong lies in the middle of the strait, the strong tidal currents constantly wash around the rocks. For first time visitors this can look quite scary: “We aren’t diving here are we?” is a common question. However, due to the unique shape of the pinnacle there is always a safe way to dive the site. The way to dive here is by jumping in on the side of the rock without current. The large size of the underwater pinnacle means it acts to block the current and creates a large lee side. The lee side is perfectly safe as the current flows out to the side of the pinnacle and doesn’t turn into that side of the reef.
The typical dive will take us to around 25 meters max and then zig-zag back up the reef, staying away from the edges. It’s imperative to follow the dive guide on this site as he or she will know where the current is. We always need to stay away from where the current picks up on the side of the reef.
Although the current looks interesting, the main action at Batu Bolong happens away from it. The first thing everyone notices on descent is the sheer number of colorful anthias in the shallows. It’s amazing to see so much colour almost immediately upon entry as you float through this cloud of small fish. Lurking below the anthias are predators such as grouper and lion fish that are waiting for an easy meal. Further down the reef it’s common to find both hawksbill and green turtles. These ancient mariners hide from the current on the lee side of the pinnacle in order to eat and feed. They also visit cleaning stations on the reef where fish will clean parasites from their skin and shell.
Dive in the Current?
For a little more adventure it’s possible to swim to where the current starts on the corners of Batu Bolong. The guide will stop the group before the current and it’s possible to watch a great show. Many small fish are attracted to the current as it brings brings plankton to eat. Large schools of small fish attract predators such as white tip sharks and giant trevally which feed on the smaller ones. It can be quite a show when a trevally crashes through a school of fusiliers. As time runs low the best plan is to spend time in the shallows watching the fusiliers and anthias in the water column. The guide will group everyone together before surfacing in a safe location away from the current.
Batu Bolong is one of the favorite sites in Komodo for anyone who has dived there. The mix of colorful reef fish, pelagic fish, turtles, and healthy corals is a recipe for success. Even dive guides never tire of visiting this site due to the potential for action. If you are an experienced diver then this is a site that you don’t want to miss! Komodo is one of our favorite cruising destinations and we believe it will also be one of yours. Please let us know if you would like to experience this beautiful region of Indonesia on the private yacht Samata. We would love to introduce you to Batu Bolong and all of our other favorite attractions in the Komodo area.