Satonda Island – Destination Spotlight
One of our more popular cruises involves visiting the northern coast of Sumbawa. Sumbawa is a large island situated directly west of Komodo. During a Bali to Komodo cruise we visit several areas in Sumbawa including the very interesting Satonda Island.
Satonda Island is a small ancient volcano situated approximately three kilometers to the north of Sumbawa itself. Measuring three kilometers from north to south, this coral fringed island is very interesting geographically. One of the main features is the crater lake that covers 335 hectares and is over 80 meters deep. The water within the lake features a salt content considerably higher than the surrounding ocean. As the story goes, the lake consisted of fresh water before the giant eruption of the neighboring Mt Tambora in 1815 created a tidal wave that filled the lake with ocean water. This may or may not be true but it does make for a good story! We will feature the story of Mt Tambora in a future article.
Satonda Island Adventures
Satoda Island is home to a variety of adventures that visitors can enjoy. Satonda Island was designated as a Marine Nature Park in 1999 and remains a protected area. The island is surrounded by coral reefs and is a great place for both scuba diving and snorkeling. The diving takes place both at the island itself as well as on the nearby mainland. The main attraction of the diving here is the coral reefs and the small critters that live on them. Pygmy seahorse are perhaps the most sought after inhabitant here and our sharp eyed dive guides know where to find them. For snorkelers, the shallow reefs along the island are home to a wide variety of tropical fish of all sizes and colours. It’s easy to spend hours swimming in the warm, shallow waters of Satonda.
There are a variety of other activities to enjoy around the island. One of the most interesting is an early morning trek to a lookout point along the southern rim of the crater. Although much of the route consists of steps, the upper half is a dirt path that is not for the feint of heart. However, for those who attempt this 45 minute walk, the top offers a rewarding view. The ridge offers a view of the lake as well as the towering Mt Tambora on Sumbawa. This is best done either early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the heat of the day.
For those who prefer a less strenuous adventure, a kayak or paddle board in the lake is a great choice. The calm waters of the lake offer an easy ride and lucky guests can sometimes spot bats resting in the trees that encircle the lake.
One of the most exciting attractions of Satonda Island comes at sunset. The island is home to thousands upon thousand of flying foxes which nest in the towering trees. These fruit eating mammals are nocturnal and sleep in a giant colony during the day. At sunset they awaken at the same time and take off en masse to forage at night. This creates an incredible spectacle for curious onlookers as thousands upon thousands of them erupt into the sky at once. The best way to witness this is from the tender boat which allows us to get close to the beach where the colony lives. Watching these intelligent animals crowding the sky overhead is a wonder to behold.
When to Visit Satonda Island?
Satonda Island is a destination that can be visited throughout the year. We combine this exciting destination with visits to the nearby Saleh Bay and the enigmatic Moyo Island. This area is a great addition to all of our Bali to Komodo itineraries. If you would like to explore this unique area of the world then please contact us today. We would love to discuss exciting adventures and itineraries aboard our private luxury yacht with you. If you are looking for an adventure the entire family can enjoy, the Samata offers bespoke cruises throughout the Indonesian archipelago.