Coral potato and glass fish. Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.
Coral potato and glass fish. Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.

Diving in Lombok: Sekotong Bay

#Lomnok # Indonesia

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 gave been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:

  Indonesia: Lombok + Bali + Bangka - July 2015

Leave on a tropical island far from everything, it's good. But to immerse yourself in a tropical sea is better ... For me, happiness is under water! This time, it's happening in Lombok, Indonesia, near Bali ...

New underwater adventures

July 6, 2015. Today is a great day: I'm back under the surface! ! ! My new bubble pool: Sekotong Bay, in the southwest of Lombok (the island that faces the eastern coast of Bali).

I do not care anymore. I have been on a small island for two days, Gili Asahan, and I finally recovered my bag of travel, "Forgotten" by Emirates Company in Dubai... Inside, there are some essential things for my underwater and photographic excursions: my diving equipment and elements for the waterproof case of my device.

Fish and nudibranchs just have to stand ... I'm coming! ! !

The diving boat of Dive Zone. Gili Asahan, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.
The diving boat of Dive Zone. (Gili Asahan, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)

Photographing the coral

Sekotong Bay and the "gilis" (islands) of southwest Lombok are still little known, little visited, few dives. Here, I have been told, the funds are less damaged by fishing with dynamite, tourism and the warming of water (which makes the coral bleach) than in the northern gilis (Air, Nemo , Trawangan).

My verdict, after several days of diving: yes, there are beautiful sites in Sekotong Bay, with coral in good shape!

Swarm of glass fish around a coral potato. (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
Swarm of glass fish around a coral potato. (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)

But at first, the photographer that I am is a little disappointed by underwater visibility, very bad - and it does not improve much over the days. There is a lot of plankton and particles in suspension, which make the water "foggy" and do not make my task any easier.

But by perseverance - I spend my time adjusting the angle of my single flash and cunning with the sunlight - I end up getting pictures of drinking. It must be said that photogenic subjects are not lacking: large tables of coral, giant barrique sponges, delicate gorgonians, swarms of glass fish ...

Coral potato and glass fish. Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.
Crown of glass fish around a coral potato. (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
The shadow of a diver cuts behind a delicate fan of yellow coral. Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.
The shadow of a diver cuts behind a delicate fan of yellow coral. Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.
This sponge-barrel is 3 meters high! (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
This sponge-barrel is 3 meters high! (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
Coral table. (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
Coral table. (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)

Small animals

Question fauna, we meet few "big", except some turtles, napoleons and imposing stellate balloon fish. But "small" side, there is enough to have fun.

So, I got a little loose with the macro lens ...

Nemo, the clownfish, opens the ball! (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
Nemo, the clownfish, opens the ball! (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
This nudibranch plays acrobats! (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
This nudibranch plays acrobats! (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
Impressive, seen up close, this little hairy sponge crab. (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
Impressive, seen up close, this little hairy sponge crab. (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
A nudibranch with the appearance of a pink rabbit. (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
A nudibranch with the appearance of a pink rabbit. (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
Good kisses of the fish-toad. (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
Good kisses of the fish-toad. (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
When the cuttlefish bristles ... (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015)
When the cuttlefish bristles ... (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015)
Nudibranch in white livery with black edging. (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
Nudibranch in white livery with black edging. (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
This amazing nudibranch full of excrescences, which sports two black eyes, is called "Bornella Anguilla". (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
This amazing nudibranch full of excrescences, which sports two false black eyes, is called "Bornella Anguilla". (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
A big belly for a tiny seahorse-pygmy ... Soon babies! (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
A big belly for a tiny seahorse-pygmy ... Soon babies! (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)

Diving, diving, diving

Five days fly like a string of bubbles to the surface ... I dive every day, too happy to find the underwater weightlessness and the fascinating little world of the coral ecosystem ... 😁

My guide Rheyn graciously poses, to the Indonesian ... (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
My guide Rheyn graciously poses, to the Indonesian ... (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)

The sites accessible from Gili Asahan and the nearby Lombok Coast are usually gently sloping reefs, down to sandy bottoms or littered with coral debris. The islands of Sekotong Bay offer quite a bit of different spots, which always allows a B plan when there is too much current at one place ...

Overall, these are sites accessible to divers of all levels. Nothing amazing underwater (we are not at Komodo nor to Sipadan nor to Raja Ampat), but I would still describe the dives in Sekotong as "nice" (especially when we go on visits to sea fans filled with seahorses-Pygmies), that is to say at the height of what we can generally hope in Indonesia. It's worth a dive while visiting Lombok, but I will not make it a diving destination in itself. (Maybe I'm starting to get tough, too?)

Anyway, Sekotong is an interesting area to explore. The "gilis" of the area are really beautiful, quiet and authentic on the "land" plan.

Oil sea, that day, in Sekotong Bay. (Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
Oil sea, that day, in Sekotong Bay. (Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
Here, the beaches are rarely crowded ... (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
Here, the beaches are rarely crowded ... (Sekotong Bay, Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)

Some practical information

In this summer of 2015, there is (to my knowledge) only two dive structures located in Sekotong Bay itself : Dive Zone and the center Odyssea Divers from the hotel Cocotinos.

I opted for Dive Zone (which recently joined a well-known Indonesian organization, Two Fish Divers, which also has centers in Bali and Manado) and I stayed at Pearl Beach Resort on Gili Asahan. This accommodation is a partner of the diving center, which has its annex on site. (There are other possible accommodations on Lombok itself or the surrounding islands, but it is less convenient for diving every day.)

The "resort" in question consists of a handful of comfortable bungalows (hard) and more simple (bamboo) arranged in a beautiful garden facing the sea. The place is beautiful and very quiet. (What regret that management and food are not the same level, for what I experienced during my stay ... but it can improve.)

Pear Beach Resort, Gili Asahan. (Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
Pearl Beach Resort, Gili Asahan. (Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
View of Pearl Beach Resort Beach, Gili Asahan. Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.
View of Pearl Beach Resort Beach, Gili Asahan. Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.
The garden at Pearl Beach Resort in Gili Asahan. (Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)
The garden at Pearl Beach Resort in Gili Asahan. (Lombok, Indonesia, July 2015.)

Finally, Dive Zone is also the only dive operator to bring people to the site The Magnet. It is a spectacular pebble, battered by waves and currents, off another bay, Belongas Bay, about an hour's drive from Sekotong.

Only divers considered experienced (with more than 100 dives) are accepted because the conditions can be sporty or difficult. I can not recommend too much caution, more than elsewhere, on this very particular site. The reward is that we cross big beasts ... I'll talk about it again, since I went there.

Update: That's it, the article on my dives in Belongas Bay is online! To read here:
→ The Magnet: adrenaline rush

😉

  Indonesia: Lombok + Bali + Bangka - July 2015

  1. Hello Corinne

    It is always with pleasure that I read your news, and it reminds me all the way that Indonesia and especially its seabed I miss .... It's been five years since we have not set foot. In any case thank you for these pictures they are good, it is only happiness! 😉

  2. Hello
    I do not know you physically but I am very pleased with all your dives and send to your friends your articles.
    It's exciting to read you and see your high quality underwater photos.
    Thanks again and see you for new readings and adventures.
    Take care as they say there.
    Yours sincerely Anne (Marseille)

    1. @Anne: Thank you very much for taking the time to write this little message. I am very touched that you share the articles of my Little Bubbles elsewhere with your friends ... What encourage me to continue in the same vein!
      🙄

  3. Salam Corinne,

    Hey, I can see that this part of Indonesia has developed well: I had spent a good fifteen days there almost 20 years, only a basic guest house existed in Sekotong, there was nothing on the surrounding islands that I had explored a little, and a fortiori no opportunity to dive. Are there people coming to this part of Lombok now? and who has invested in this lost region and off tourist trails? Westerners?
    Bizzzzzzzzz to you. I will repeat myself, but it is always a great pleasure to follow your adventures, whether for your text or for your sublime underwater photos ...

    1. @Pit: and for me, it's always a great pleasure to come across a comment from you ... You're a pioneer of Indonesia ... Twenty years ago, there was nothing, but rest assured there is still not many people to come to this corner of Lombok. It is much less developed than in Bali or in the gilis of the North and it remains a little "off the beaten track".

      I think the investors (attracted by the new airport) are mostly Western and Chinese. But I doubt that this part of Lombok knows a development fulgurant ... We will see.

      Kisses too !!!! 8)

  4. Hello Corinne

    Once again you carry us with your story and your beautiful pictures 🙂
    Ah! Indonesia when you hold us ......... I go back on March 12th and frankly I'm late 😉
    Thank you for sharing

  5. @Corinne: I was obviously expecting news from your last trip! Uh, not luggage, huh ❓ of course! 😉
    I always liked this little world sometimes unsuspected and always very colorful, lilliputian creatures! But so hard to see! But I love it even more! So, we'll see what will come out of the big blue! 🙂

    1. @Didier: Hey, hey, the baggage ended up following, that's the point ... In diving, I do not get tired of the "little" or the "big". I was spoiled again this time, I must say 🙂

  6. Hello Corine,

    Thank you for this wonderful report on Sekolong bay, I especially
    admired the beautiful Photos of Nudibranches and micro - seahorses
    saw my age it allows to dive by proxy and it's great.
    Thank you again and best regards.

  7. Once again, congratulations to the photographer! Framing, colors, subjects, everything is there! And what a joy to see all this without getting wet and without putting your head under water! Thanks!

    1. Alimata: very flattered with the compliment. The toad fish are my friends. Indonesian guides who know the sites frequented by hairy toad fish too. Just ask ... 😛 😀 😆 : Mrgreen:

  8. Magnificent !! Breathtaking ! I add it to my favorite sites! Very detailed, and especially as your articles are dates, it allows to know the current state of the reefs (big disappointments in Thailand on sites supposed to be mythical ...).

    If you had a spot to recommend on Lombok or Gili T / Meno / Air (for a single day, after the Rinjani trek), with dive baptisms and snorkeling nearby for my non-diving friends, what would it be?

    Is visibility often reduced because of plankton in this kind of place?

    Another question as you have experience in underwater photography: I have a compact camera waterproof to 18m Nikon coolpix, would you recommend to buy a box, or is it useless? Thank you !!

    1. @Chloe: wow, thank you for this enthusiastic message! 🙂 To answer your questions:

      - Alas, yes, the famous reefs in Thailand (I guess you're referring to Similan cruises) are not as beautiful as in the past. Overfishing and warming of the water (which causes the corals to bleach and die) have had consequences. It's been a while since I went to Thailand, it's back to 2011, see here: http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/voyage-cambodge-thailande-2011/ but Richelieu Rock was still splendid despite everything.

      - After a trek in Rinjani, with non-divers, for snorkeling or diving baptisms, I think that a trip to the northern gilis (Meno, Air, Trawangan) can be a good option (even if I have not been there recently). In my opinion, after such a climb, everyone will be happy to have a little comfort and "civilization" (wide choice of hotels, restaurants, bars, etc.) on the beach, with easy water activities (even if the funds are no longer what they were to the gilis of the North from what I've been told, we still cross turtles anyway).

      - For visibility, I do not know: I asked my guides, but their answers were not clear. I do not know if it's all the time like that or not in the corner ...

      - For your Nikon Coolpix waterproof camera to 18 m: I do not know if there is a box for this device, since it is already designed to be waterproof up to 18 m. If you do not plan to dive beyond this depth it is useless to add a box. If you intend to go beyond with, then yes, it is imperative to take a box (if it exists) otherwise your device will not withstand the pressure, I guess ...

  9. Hello Corinne
    Your photos are absolutely beautiful! with a special mention for your two cattle with exacerbated hair ...
    I do not know at all this corner of the planet, but you just gave me as a furious desire to go soak the end of my fins!
    Thank you for this little piece of dream

  10. Thank you ! Splendid !
    If you are looking for other diving destinations, I also recommend the Red Sea Eilat: the beauty of the underwater world is beyond imagination ... And if you are in Israel and you go through Tel Aviv, go to sleep at Norman , hotel with spa (without fish) but perfect to relax ....

  11. Hello
    we are leaving for bali in April - our favorite! We want to go to gili asahan. Can we go by speed boat from Sanur and return by speed boat or ferry to Padang Bay. We have already "visited" gili gede 3 years ago and we enjoyed his calm.
    thank you in advance

    1. @Couprie: hello, it would surprise me that there are direct links for Gili Ashan from Bali in speed-boats. I imagine that if you want to travel by sea from Bali, you will have to take the speed boats and / or ferries that make the usual connections between Sanur or Padangbai in Bali and Lombok.

      I live in Brittany, in Rennes, so I do not know at all the details of the maritime links between Bali and the different surrounding islands ... 😉 But I think that you will easily find more precise information once on the spot. Most hotels in Bali operate with local tourist agencies that organize this kind of transport ... Good preparations!

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