Diving at Lombok

More than 50% of the tourists coming to Lombok just for diving. Do not need to debate to realize how beautiful is the marine life at Lombok where it is pincer by Alas Strait and Lombok Strait. Gili Islands is the most popular place for diving in Lombok. The dive sites available here are just too attractive and a lot.
This is the dive boat that is used in Lombok. The amount of dive centers in just Gili Trawangan alone is outrageous. There will always a dive center just a stone throw away so you are truly pampered with the choices you have got here, Since there are so many dive centers, there are some information you should know to pick the right dive center to make a perfect holiday for yourself.
Here are the things you should know about diving at Lombok:
  1. At Gili Islands, all the dive centers have an agreement which is to fix their dive price. So you do not have to go around and survey for the best price. All the prices are the same. While at the mainland, the prices will be vary among dive centers.
  2. At Gili Islands, there is a one time charge which is known as "Reef Tax"which is used to protect the reef around the island. You just need to pay once and you do not have to pay again if you plan to change another dive center on the Gili Islands. While at the mainland, there is no such charges.The reef tax is cost IDR50,000/pax.
  3. The prices are usually include full set of equipment except dive computer. There might be other surcharge if you opting for a dive sites which is too far away from the location
  4. The more dive you do the more discount you will get. Discount will starts from 5 dives and above.
"Since there are so many dive centers and all the prices are the same, how to pick the right one?" This is a millionaire question. Based on my experience, here are my suggestion for you.
  1. If you are going for a course, just make sure they have an instructor that is speaking the language you understand and also make sure the class is small. Best would be a maximum of 2 to 1 instructor.
  2. It would be more complicated for fun dive because we are there for fun and not being lectured. So first of all, do some homework online on the dive sites available at Lombok. List down those dive sites that you are interested to explore. Some dive center will give you a brief description about the dive sites, maximum depth and types of marine life that you would be expecting to see.
  3. Once you have selected your desired dive sites, choose the dive center that is willing to take you to those dive sites. Dive centers that do not have trip to your desired dive sites will say something bad about the dive sites you chose to make you give up on it. Sometimes they are sincere, sometimes they might just want to get customer. It is up to you to judge and decide.
  4. Once you have narrow down the dive centers, pick the dive center that have a local dive master which speaks fluent English. A local dive master will always know where to find the marine life for you to see. Usually the freelance foreign dive master has only 1-2 years experience on the dive sites around the island which is not enough to spot you something amazing under the sea.
  5. Lastly, pick the dive center that doesn't need you to install your own equipment or carry your own equipment to the boat. You are there to have fun and not to help them to do their job.
I had my first dive at Simon's Reef. This reef is about 30 meters deep and I had a good 46 minutes under the water exploring the marine life around. I would say this dive site is not as good as expected to be because there are not much sea creatures to expect except shrimp, lionfish, scorpion fish and a huge sea turtle which is the only highlight of the dive.
Next was Shark's Point. There is a new artificial wreck of a speedboat has been sunk here 6 months ago. Not much corals build on it yet so nothing much to see in this wreck.
Luckily, I had a nitrox tank for this dive so I got to enjoy longer dive time at a deeper depth which is at 30 meters deep for 40 minutes bottom time. I got to see a giant lobster hidden under a huge rock. It was amazing.
This is a closer look on the lobster. Looking at it makes me feel so hungry under the water.
Sea turtles are quite common here at Lombok. You will always get to see one in every dive sites especially at Gili Islands. This is because they have a turtle conservation center at Gili Trawangan.
Shark's point is one of the best dive sites at Gili Islands which you shouldn't miss it. It is worth for you to dive more than two times here. You will get to experience so many kinds of marine life here.
Even blue spotted stingrays are common at this dive sites and their size is quite big too.
It is called shark's point for a reason. Yes, there are sharks at this dive site and it is a white tip shark. I saw a pregnant shark and two juvenile sharks at the same spot here lying on the sand.
I have done a few night dives before which were so disappointed until I almost wanted to give up for anymore future night dive. I am so glad that Lombok has changed my perception about night dive and make me fall in love once again. It was an amazing experience which is truly unforgettable. 

The dive site for my night dive was at Turtle's Heaven and it is truly a turtle's heaven with lots of turtles with different sizes lying on the rock or coral. 
There are not just turtle only to be expected here. There are scorpion fish, cleaner shrimp, white-eyed moray eel, cuttle fish and even this rare finding hermit crab!
I do enjoyed flashing my torchlight towards the cuttlefish. They just love the light and swimming towards it. It was fun playing with them.
Japanese World War II wreck which is sunk in 1945. This dive is for the little bit more experienced diver as it is a decompression dive. Only two dive centers provide such a dive which are Blue Marlin Dive and Trawangan Dive. The Wreck is a Japanese WW-II patrol boat in 45m water which is fully intact sitting perfectly upright in the sand, even the original bullets are still there. It is located in a protected bay off of the coast of Lombok and there is no coral reef around the boat. The boat is about 25m long and is covered in corals and surrounded by wildlife. 
This is my first time saw a Leaf Scorpion fish. But I do not have much luck to see schools of Tuna or Barracuda around here as we are expected to see some.
It is just more scorpion fish on the wreck. This was my first experience to go 45m deep and exploring around a historical wreck which is more than 71 years old of age.
More scorpion fish but this one is white in color. The visibility was quite alright since I dived too deep. Luckily no current to spoil my dive. It is still a good dive spot for those who likes deep water dive. Preferably to have more than 100 dives and with AOW nitrox certificate. There is a surcharge to dive here since the boat is travelling longer to reach this dive site. It cost about IDR600,000.
As I was trying to look for a good muk dive as my last dive on the Gili Islands, I was recommended to go to Halik which in the end was quite disappointing. Just a few nudibranches to be spotted here and it was a pretty common nudibranches.
A few cleaning shrimp and sea turtles which have become commonly seen in the previous dive.
Overall, I still love this island very much because it brings the fun of night dive for me once again which I almost gave up on it. I will definitely be back to Lombok but not on Gili Islands anymore. I might check out other spots such as Blongas, Sekotong Barat and Sambelia. Last but not least, please enjoy my video compilation of my dive trip below.

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