Off the northwest coast of Lombok in Indonesia are the three tiny Gili Islands, a small archipelago that includes Gili Air, closest to the mainland. Right off the beach on Gili Air, the harbor’s house reef offers an incredible night dive.

When you get off the ferry from Lombok on Gili Air, the busy harbor may not seem like a great place to do a shore dive, And it’s true during the day when the boat traffic does indeed get in the way of diving. But give it a few hours — the fish life and topography of Harbor Reef on Gili Air offer great conditions for an easy, yet amazing, night dive.

Harbor Reef on Gili Air

Walk down the beach and into the water, where you’ll enter along a sandy slope. Here you’ll find patches of reefs with branching corals and a pinnacle. If your dive guide knows the area well, you will probably spot some shy mandarinfish, which flit among the coral pieces at dusk each night, looking for mates. In the branching corals you might also find the elusive ornate ghost pipefish, a favorite among many divers.

Going slowly along the slope and looking in the sand you can also find lots of macro life, such as seahorses, small frogfish, cuttlefish and squid, as well as various species of nudibranchs.

As the site is quite shallow, it’s a good spot for beginners, or for a first night dive experience. Experienced divers won’t be disappointed though, due to the incredible variety of marine life on hand. The sandy bottom and usually quiet conditions also provide the perfect opportunity for photographers to get some great shots.

Finally, thanks to the easy logistics, the harbor also offers a pleasant way of diving compared to boat dives in Gili Air: just don your gear, walk to the beach and into the water, and off you go.


Average water temp: 79 to 82 F (26 to 28 C)

Average visibility: 16 to 65 feet (5 to 20 m)

When to go: Year round

Average depth: 40 feet (12 m)

 

 

Have something to add to this post? Share it in the comments.
New stuff
Stay-Focused

Stay-Focused, the Beacon of Opportunity in Cayman

Non-profit organization Stay-Focused recently sponsored four weeks of diving for divers with disabilities in Grand Cayman
by Guest Author

More Than 2,000 Sharks Die in San Francisco Bay

Scientists are trying to explain a massive die-off of leopard sharks, Pacific angel sharks, and brown smooth-hound sharks in the San Francisco Bay.
by Thomas Gronfeldt
PADI specialties

Most Challenging PADI Specialties

Leaving your comfort zone (in gradual and controlled circumstances) can make you a better diver. What are the most challenging PADI specialties to help you grow?
by Andy Phillips
Ear Barotrauma

Training Fundamentals: Ear Barotrauma

The most common scuba diving-related injury is ear barotrauma. Why does it happen, and how can you avoid it?
by Marcus Knight