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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 it. I was a little scared before I went.
The Magnet is a rock topped by a lighthouse in the middle of the sea, off Belongas Bayin the southwest of Lombok. A "pinnacle", as we say in English, beaten by the waves and whipped by powerful currents.
This is the kind of place where you can only dive if the conditions are right in terms of swell, weather and currents.
The base is 80 meters below the surface and the surf is very strong, and can be felt at a depth of about 30 meters. Dive Zonethe only dive operator in the area, only takes experienced divers with at least 100 dives.
For my Indonesian friends : you can't have access to Vimeo videos from Indonesia, because of censorship, so I uploaded my film 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 didn't help me much to make good pictures.
But what a beauty, what an atmosphere, on these two sites! The kind of dives that makes your pulse race and your adrenaline level rise directly!
The Magnet is so named because it has the reputation of attracting "fat" like a magnet. I can confirm this. In addition to the "usual tropical fauna", you can see schools of barracudas and jacks, big olive-colored sea snakes, lots of sharks (many white tips, some grays).
There is also a good chance of encountering schools of scallop hammerhead sharksThe best time to dive is from August to September-October. But you have to be aware that this "good" season for hammerheads is also the "bad" season for the weather: it is the period of the year when the navigation (and diving) conditions are the most difficult...
On a small and handy boat with a powerful engine, we leave the peaceful and shallow waters of Belongas Bay to sail along the impressive cliffs, towards the open sea. It's beautiful and it foams like in Brittany! 😲
Difficult to take pictures during the trip, it shakes too much. I do not recommend the crossing (20-30 minutes) to those who are prone to seasickness... And yet, we were lucky to have a rather calm sea.
I was there in mid-July, period considered as the beginning of the season for hammerheads, with conditions still not too difficult, and I was lucky enough to see two animals, during my first dive!
But it was very furtive... They appeared in the blue, a little far. It lasted only a few seconds, the time to distinguish the so characteristic shape of their mouth. No way to make a picture, they immediately disappeared!
Once I was dry, I was of course a smartass, and I did the right pose... 😂
The Dive Zone guides tell me that hammerheads are more numerous during the best part of the season, in August and September. It is certainly true, I read on the Internet some reports from travelers-divers who agree with this statement.
But it seems that the famous scalloped hammerhead sharks are a very shy species. They keep their distance and are quite difficult to approach. Added to that, the difficult conditions of the site. In short, in my humble opinion, The Magnet is clearly not the place to photograph or film hammerheads. 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 raysalso called "devils of the seas". The place is less difficult to dive than The Magnet and is formed by an aggregate of imposing rocks descending to a sandy bottom in 25-30 meters.
The 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 bottom. And the show is great!
The big rocks form in some places small caves where you can sneak in. There are also beautiful soft corals, on the east side. The place, less exposed, is much more suitable for photography... So I let myself go a little.