Finished exploring the underwater world around Bali? Fear not, Indonesia is comprised of around 17,000 islands offering endless marine life biodiversity. Sure, the corals and reefs are beautiful but the creature diversity is the reason why the Indonesian archipelago is on the top of many divers’ bucket list. Here are some of the stars that frequent or can only be found in Indonesia’s sea.
The mysterious Hammerhead Shark is always on the top of divers’ bucket list. Around July and October, schools of Hammerhead sharks, both great and scalloped, gather around Belongas Bay at The Magnet dive site, South of Lombok. At the same time of the year, you can also see Hammerheads in the Banda Sea, east of Maluku island.
Nicknamed Swimming Carpet or Carpet Shark, this fish is closely related to the other ‘walking sharks’ like Bamboo Shark. They are usually spotted around Australia but they can also be seen in the waters of the famous Raja Ampat, in Fam Island, and The Passage dive site. Be on the look as this shark has the same pattern as the ocean floor, making them hard to spot.
Scorpionfish can be found in Bali, Padangbai to be exact. But one glance at Ambon Scorpionfish can explain why divers go out of their way to see this fish. Like their sibling, Ambon Scorpionfish is a master at disguise, but their body has hairs that make them look like a rock with algae at a glance. Do be careful around them, their spine is venomous. You can find them at Lembeh Strait dive site, a channel between Sulawesi and Lembeh Island and the Cathedral dive site in Alor, an archipelago east of Komodo Island.
This beautiful cuttlefish gets their name from the flamboyant pink, yellow and black ripples they make with their bodies when alarmed. They are a favorite of underwater photographers. But they are not edible, their body carries toxin that is as poisonous as the Blue Ring Octopus. They can be easily found around the Komodo Island waters, in various dive sites like Darat Passage and Yellow Wall.
Giant Oceanic Manta Ray
Manta Point at Nusa Penida is a popular dive site to see Manta Rays. But the Rays you meet there are known as the Reef Manta Ray. Their bigger sibling, the Giant Oceanic Manta Ray, is harder to spot as they prefer more open water. Giant Oceanic Manta can be spotted at a few dive sites in Indonesia, even at Manta Point, but Manta Ridge at Raja Ampat stands out as the site with the most sighting.
Believe it or not, this gentle and shy marine mammal is more closely related to elephants than any other sea life! They are usually seen on the shallow sea floor, grazing on algae, hence their nickname sea cow. They can be found in most warm coastal waters, like the waters of Raja Ampat, West Papua. Though they can be found all over Indonesia too.
The one fish most divers are dying to see. Whaleshark is the largest fish species today but they are not to be feared. They are very gentle and graceful, making the experience diving with them unforgettable. You can encounter them at Raja Ampat (of course), Bentar in East Java, and there also has been sightings just off Nusa Penida.
Also known as Psychedelic Mandarin fish from their wildly colorful and bright pattern. They are more easily spotted during night dives when they come out and look for food and mates. What makes them special is their mating dance which you can encounter at the Cathedral dive site in Alor archipelago.
The waters of Indonesia are so rich of biodiversity that we can only mention a few of its unique residents. Of course, reading about them is the first step, the next would be grabbing your gears and hop in the water!