Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:
There are dives that make the heart beat a little faster. I take you to the southwest of Lombok, in Indonesia, discover in video The Magnet and Gili Sarang, in Belongas Bay.
Immersions on video
I admit. I was a little scared, before going there.
The Magnet is a pebble surmounted by a lighthouse on the open sea, off Belongas Bay, in the southwest of Lombok. A pinnacle, as they say in English, beaten by waves and whipped by powerful currents.
This is the kind of place where you dive only if the favorable conditions are met in terms of swell, weather, currents.
The base is 80 meters below the surface and the surf, very powerful, is felt up to thirty meters deep. Dive Zone, the only dive operator in the area, only takes in experienced divers, at least 100 dives.
For my Indonesian friends: you can not access to Vimeo videos from Indonesia, because of censorship, so I uploaded my movie for you on YouTube too. Please follow this link to watch my underwater video: → Dive Belongas - July 2015
The video above mixes images taken at sites The Magnet and Gili Sarang. The surf, the current and the rotten visibility did not help me much to make quality images.
But what a beauty, what a mood, on these two sites! The kind of diving that speeds up the pulse and raises the direct adrenaline rate!
The Magnet is so named because it has the reputation of attracting the "fat" like a magnet. I confirm. In addition to the "usual tropical fauna", we see patrolling schools of barracudas and jacks, big olive snakes, lots of sharks (lots of white tips, some gray ones).
There is also a good chance to cross schools of scallop hammerhead sharks, from August to September-October. But we must be aware that this "good" season for hammers is also the "bad" weather season weather is the time of year when the conditions of navigation (and diving) are the most formidable ...
On a small maneuverable boat with a tugging engine, we leave the peaceful, shallow waters of Belongas Bay to drift along impressive cliffs to the open sea. It's beautiful and it scums like in Brittany! 😲
Difficult to take pictures during the trip, it shakes too much. I advise against the crossing (20-30 minutes) to those who are prone to seasickness ... And yet, we were lucky enough to have a rather calm sea.
I was there in mid-July, considered as the beginning of the season for hammers, with conditions still not too difficult, I was lucky to see two animals during my first dive! ! !
But it was very stealthy ... They came up in the blue, a bit far away. It only lasted a few seconds, the time to distinguish the form so characteristic of their jaws. No way to make an image, they immediately disappeared!
Once dry, I of course made my malignant, taking the pose that is well ... 😂
Dive Zone guides certify that hammerheads are much more numerous at the best of the season, in August and September. It is surely true, I read on the internet of the accounts of travelers-divers going in the same direction.
But it seems that the famous scalloped hammerhead sharks are a very shy species. They keep their distance and are quite difficult to approach. To this, are added the difficult conditions of the site. In short, in my humble opinion, The Magnet is clearly not the place to photograph or shoot hammers. There are better sites for this kind of challenge around the world ...
On the other hand, Gili Sarang, another big pebble at the exit of the Bay of Belongas, is in this season THE site for the mobulas rays, also called "devils of the seas". The place is less difficult to dive than The Magnet and formed of an aggregate of imposing rocks descending to a sandy bottom within 25-30 meters.
Rays can be very numerous, evolving by tens in graceful formations. The current is sometimes strong, but it is perfectly manageable, given the topography of the fund. And the show is great!
The big rocks form in places small caves where one can sneak. There are also beautiful soft corals, east side. The place, less exposed, lends itself much more to photography ... So I let myself go a little.