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)