The more you go out scuba diving in Komodo, the more surprises you will encounter. The Komodo National Park has so many diving spots that you can spend weeks jumping into the water 3 times a day without repeating a single one of them.
This blog is dedicated to two of the dive sites in Komodo: Tatawa Kecil and the Golden Passage. These places don’t get a lot of recognition but are fantastic places for scuba diving in Komodo, both for topography and aquatic life, as well as for the complexity of the diving itself.
Planning is the key
Planning the dives based on the phases of the moon and the tides is something that we have to keep in mind for almost every dive in Komodo. The first diving point in particular, planning and finding the right time is the key to diving safely. Tatawa Kecil is a spectacular dive site in Komodo but can be a nightmare even for the most experienced divers if the planning is not done correctly.
Tatawa means laughter in the local language, Bahasa Indonesia. This small island located in the center of Komodo offers one of the best dives in the area with some spectacular topography. Normally diving in the tidal rebound (slack tide) or rising tide, when it flows from South to North is the best option. These conditions are safest and allow for diving the western part of Tatawa Kecil.
Topography and aquatic life
On the west side we find the most interesting part of this place. Here you’ll find caves full of gorgonians and large blocks of rock covered with soft coral. To be able to cross the narrow channels between the rocks, we must go down to a depth between 20 and 30 meters. However, there are shallow caves at about 17 meters, which are super fun to explore. A good diving profile is necessary to be able to take full advantage of the deep area and go inside these caverns without going into deco. The dive ends in the northeast part of a huge, shallow coral garden.
Clouds of pink and orange anthias cover the reef. We can also find schools of snapper, jackfish, sweet lips, black tip sharks, white tip and even gray sharks when there is current. Among the deep blocks it is easy to find big groupers, moray eels between the cracks of the rocks and the elusive barramundi. Mantas and eagle rays can also be seen swimming in the blue and sometimes we can even find dugongs or dolphins!
This dive spot in Komodo has very strong currents especially near the new moon and full moon. When there are strong currents, this dive is not suitable for even the most experienced divers.
We’re going to the North of Komodo
Scuba diving in Komodo is synonymous with diving in currents and Golden Passage can be one of the fastest drift dives in the entire Komodo National Park.
We go to the North of Komodo for this second diving point. The Golden Passage is located in the channel formed by Gili Lawa Darat and the island of Komodo, a narrow channel where the current reaches some wild speeds.
The best time to dive this channel is when the current flows from east to west, although it can be done in the opposite direction. We begin the dive in a sheltered bay with a hard coral garden in excellent condition. Once we approach the corner formed by the bay and the channel, we began to feel the current dragging us gently to the strait formed by the two islands.
Drift Diving in Komodo
The channel becomes less deep, starting at 18 meters and ascending to 6 meters at its shallow end. It is important to be close to the dive guide and copy their position in the water maintaining the same depth so as not to drift ahead. This is very important since at the exit of the channel we can find downstream currents. Towards the end of the channel we look for the protected area on the right side, to end up in another shallow bay with a calm reef where we can relax after flying over the seabed.
The first part of diving is a perfect place to look for leaffish and frogfish among the hard coral. Once we enter the channel: schools of anchovies, jackfish and small tuna swim against the current feeding. At the exit of the channel, there are several patches of sand in which white tip sharks rest, mixing among the fields of garden eels. At the end of the bay on the north side, we find turtles and black tip sharks swimming along the reef.
There are still many reefs to discover in Komodo, every time we have the opportunity we like to go out and explore new places or experience another type of diving such as blackwater diving, something totally different that can not be described in words.
Remember that before any diving in Komodo it is necessary to evaluate the conditions and with even more discretion when diving places like Tatawa Kecil and Golden Passage.
I hope you enjoyed this new installment on the best diving spots in Komodo!
Have you dived any of the previous points?
PADI Course Director #285713
We are a PADI dive center in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia offering daily dive trips to the Komodo National Park. The PADI courses available include Discover Scuba Diving, Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, EFR, Divemaster and Sidemount. Join us for an unforgettable experience diving in one of the top dive destinations in the world!