Komodo National Park is not only famous for Komodo Island tours but it is also a spectacular destination for scuba divers, boasting famous dive sites such as Batu Bolong, Manta Point, and Crystal Rock. But the less known diving spot of Padar Island, on the east side of the Island, is equally rewarding. Here, meandering channels separate Padar Kecil East from the main island. The east side is full of large boulders, vertical walls, cracks, swim-throughs, caverns, coral covered sea mounts, and critter-crowded reefs and ledges.
The bay of the north east part of Padar Island is also a great spot for divers looking for shelter from the ocean swells. The dive sites here are easier to navigate, and offer excellent opportunities to spot small critters like clubbing mantis shrimp, ribbon eels, and octopus. Along the mini wall formation, divers can find fusiliers, surgeonfish, and schooling snapper. Deeper waters can also be home to modular rays. The large green and orange black coral bushes of this area are an amazing sight.
Some of the best diving in Komodo sites are actually around Padar. They are Pillarsteen, Three Sisters, Payung, and Pasir Putih.
Pillarsteen is also located on the south side of Padar Kecil East, and is made up of big rocky outcrops with massive boulders, vertical walls, and canyons and caves. Divers should be aware of the surges and swells that can affect the dive, but the rewards are worth it. Here, you can find nudibranchs, angle fish, triggerfish, and White tip sharks, humphead parrotfish, snapper, and sweetlips in the deeper waters.
Pasir Putih is situated on the northern side of Padar Kecil East, near a sandy beach. This dive site is renowned for its array of ocean life, such as Blue-spotted stingrays, nudibranchs, Cuttlefish, bobtail squid, Spanish dancers, pleurobranchs, ornate ghost pipefish and banded pipefish. Though not the main attraction, coral can be spotted around the large boulders, along with various species of small critters.
The Three Sisters, a group of seamounts located about 300 meters from Padar Kecil East, are a little harder to find without GPS or previous knowledge. But the marine life here is worth the effort. Divers can spot eagle rays, schooling surgeonfish, White tip shared, large groupers, lionfish, menacing frogfish, groups of humphead parrotfish, and a variety of nudibranch. There is also a wide range of different kinds of corals to be discovered.
Payung is a small, squiggly-shaped rock island located at the south end of Padar Island's eastern bay, between Padar Island and North-West Rinca. Though not as popular as many other dive sites in Komodo, Payung is still home to a diverse array of marine life and coral. Divers can spot schooling sweetlips, nudibranchs, fire urchins, sharks, and batfish.
When planning a dive trip to Komodo National Park, it is important to take into account the weather and seasonal changes. The area is subject to seasonal monsoons, so the best time to visit is usually between November and March. When considering day-to-day conditions, it is advisable to research each dive site carefully before deciding on the best location. For any information on Komodo Tour or Komodo Scuba Diving, please contact Maika Komodo Tour & Diving and our staff would be happy to help you.
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I have been in the scuba diving industry in Komodo National Park for more than 10 years.