Bucket List Dive Site – Makassar Reef
Makassar Reef consists of a series of small atolls and islands in the Komodo National Park. Located in the middle of the Lintah Strait, this low lying island complex features one of the most exciting dive sites in the world. However, there is more than just diving when it comes to this unique destination.
Manta Rays at Makassar Reef
There are three small, shallow reefs that make up the Makassar reef complex. Although there are incredible corals spread throughout these reefs, the main attraction is manta rays. These graceful giants inhabit these waters throughout the year. The reef complex offers two attractions for the rays, cleaning stations and ample food.
Cleaning stations are exactly what they sound like, a place for manta rays to be cleaned. Makassar boasts several large coral formations which are home to fish which specialize in parasite removal. Manta rays often visit these bommies in order to have the fish clean the parasites from their skin. When a manta is cleaning they move slowly and often hover over the bommie for minutes at a time. If there are multiple manta rays present they will move off and on to the bommie in an orderly fashion so each ray gets a turn. This is a great time for divers to observe these charismatic animals as they move slowly and gracefully around a small area.
The other manta ray encounter is when mantas are feeding. Feeding is more of a surface based activity where the mantas swim back and forth in formation. They feed on plankton in the water column and use their giant mouths to filter it. There can often be 10 or more animals flying through the water in formation when feeding activity is happening. This is a wonderful opportunity to encounter mantas for both snorkelers and divers.
Snorkeling at Makassar Reef
There is more to Makassar Reef than manta rays. The sheltered, shallow reefs at the southern end are rich in hard coral life. Beautiful hard corals are a welcome site to divers and snorkelers. The rich reef system boasts dozens of coral varieties. These areas are also popular spots for both hawksbill and green turtles. They often use these reefs to rest away from the current or feed on tasty sponges. Other inhabitants include cuttlefish, schooling fish, crocodile fish and big clouds of tropical fish such as anthias and damsels.
Although the vast majority of Makassar Reef is underwater, one of the highlights is the small bits of land. A famous sand bank is situated on the western edge and is a popular place to enjoy the beach. This is a great place for the whole family to enjoy. Surrounded by beautiful blue water, the sand bank is the ultimate spot for photography.
Explore at Your Leisure
Makassar Reef is one of the most popular destinations for our guests. The combination of beach activity, snorkeling, and encountering mega fauna is hard to beat. We offer Komodo cruises throughout much of the year. If this sounds like the perfect spot for you to enjoy with the family then please contact us today. We offer private cruises for families or groups of friends. The best way to experience the Komodo National Park is via a private yacht in order to tailor make the best itinerary to suit your needs.