Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving – Crystal Rock, Indonesia
In September 2012 Kelly and I did a week long liveaboard dive trip in Indonesia which went from Bali to Komodo and back. We went on the MV Mermaid II. Click here to read about the boat. This is one of the dive sites we did on the trip. The trip heads north-east from Benoa Harbour on Bali out north of Lombok and then north of the other islands to Komodo Island and then down the eastern side of Komodo to the southernmost point of Komodo. For all dives on this trip we used 31% Nitrox, so bear this in mind when considering the bottom times we did.
Gilli Lawa Laut is located at the northern end of Komodo Island. To the north of this small island there are a number of excellent dive sites. Crystal Rock is located about one kilometre off the northern side of Gilli Lawa Laut. An approximate GPS mark for the dive spot is 8º 26' 32.5"S 119º 34' 11.7"E (using WGS84 as the datum). The site is north-west from the GPS mark and breaks the surface at low tide.
|A satellite photo from Google Earth that shows|
the location of the dive site
GPS is at the tip of the arrow
|A photo of the dive site|
As mentioned, the dive site breaks the surface at low tide and should be easily visible at all times. It is closer to Gilli Lawa Laut than the nearby dive site Castle Rock. The site consists of a coral reef on rock (I think) that comes up from over 30 metres. There are three pinnacles, one breaking the surface, another that comes to about five metres and another to about 15 metres.
|A map of the dive site – north is at the top of the map. Note that the pinnacle shown top left is more like |
above the gully between the main pinnacles and is much further than indicated by the scale of the diagram
Used courtesy of Mermaid Cruises
As with virtually all dive sites that you do when on MV Mermaid II, you use the RIB (rigid inflatable boat) to get to the start of the dive (and also to get back to the boat). The RIB will drop you normally on the larger bommie.
This site is also prone to current (as is the nearby Castle Rock) but seems it may not get as much. In any case, as there is more protection, you should be able to get out of the current and have a great dive.
We dropped in the water on the eastern side and up current of a slight current. You could easily swim against this current, so it was not too bad. We descended to about 10 metres and then drifted around the northern side of the larger pinnacle to the gully between the two main pinnacles.
|A gorgonia, one of many here||A huge gorgonia |
There are lots of large barrel sponges and gorgonias at this site, they are all over the place. There are also numerous sea whips. This makes for a very colourful dive site.
When we reached the gully, some of our group headed over to the third pinnacle, but we decided it was not worth the effort. Instead, we examined the larger boulder to the north of the western pinnacle. This is very interesting and also has lots of gorgonias and sponges. There were also a large number of giant trevallies here.
From here we headed around the back of the western pinnacle and did a circumnavigation. On the south-eastern side of this pinnacle there is another large boulder. In this area there was a large school of mixed fish. These included some very large sweetlips.
|Yet another of the gorgonias||A large barrel sponge on the wall|
From here we headed to the southern side of the eastern pinnacle. This has a shear wall. We intended to try to get to the eastern side but the current here appeared stronger than when we entered the water. We could have swum against it, but we decided it was not worth the trouble.
The rest of the dive was spent exploring the gully and the north-eastern boulder (the one we went to early in the dive) and then the protected western side of the eastern pinnacle. This was extremely colourful.
|More gorgonias, a bit different to the normal ones||A few diagonal-banded sweetlips with surgeonfish|
|Porcelein crab under an anemone ||Clown anemonefish (Nemo) |
As well as the GTs and sweetlips, we saw two clown triggerfish, one firefish (lionfish) and lots of clownfish, including one clown anemonefish (Nemo).
This was an excellent dive, nice and easy even though there was a current. There were lots of other divers here, at least three other boats plus a few yachties. The visibility was 30 metres and the water temperature was about 27ºC. Click here to return to see the dive profile from my computer.
Click here to return to the list of sites we did on our MV Mermaid II trip.