Location: Central Komodo
Getting there: 1h 10 min on Hugo, 40 min on Toby
Depths Visited: 5 – 30 metres
Visibility: Good to excellent year round (15-30+ metres)
Welcome to your dive site of the day: Batu Bolong.
Listen, we’re not mincing words here.
Batu Bolong is one of the best places to dive in the world.
You don’t have to take our word for it. CNN rates Batu Bolong as the world’s 26th best dive site, TrueNomads has it on a top 100 bucket list, GirlsThatScuba places it on their top 15, DivingIndex rates it at number 9 and the list goes on. As one of the most impressive dives sites in Komodo National Park, Batu Bolong thrills any type of diver with rushing currents, staggering topography, macro galore, passing pelagics, brightly coloured corals and a dazzling array of biodiversity. It’s as close as you can get to swimming in a jampacked, oversized aquarium.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Located in the central area of Komodo National Park, this pinnacle lies in 75 metres of water at the centre of the Lintah Strait. Above sea level, Batu Bolong is an unassuming, rocky islet that rises no more than 5 metres above the ocean’s surface. Its name derives from the arch in the smaller formation and means ‘pierced or hollow rock’ in Bahasa Indonesian. Another interesting, lesser mentioned feature is the small hole in the larger formation that is in the shape of a seahorse. However, cute dive boat anecdotes aside, what lies above the surface is a deceiving marker for the maelstrom of activity and biodiversity lying below.
HOW TO DIVE THE SITE
As we’ve mentioned before, in Komodo 101: Intro to Currents, how we approach the dive site is dictated by the present tide. Falling tide, rising tide and slack tide all dictate a different approach. On a strong rise or falling, the currents can be seen even from the surface with glassy upwellings and whirlpools of down currents.
Batu Bolong is known for its dangerous currents and be under no illusions, without a knowledgeable guide, this site can get hairy. As the currents hit one side of the rock, the massive amount of water is forced around the pinnacle, creating strong surges downward and forcing divers to zig zag up the lee side of the site. On a falling tide, divers visit the south side: a gentle slope offering sanctuary from the currents to smaller creatures. On a rising tide, its off to the protected north side with varied topographical features such as shallow plateaus, chimneys, slopes, rocky steps and plunging walls. For those who arrive at the perfect time, on a day with lesser current, the slack tide offers a special opportunity to circle around the pinnacle past walls that plunge way past recreational limits. But be careful, slack tide can last anywhere between an hour and approximately <5 seconds. Anytime you dive Batu Bolong, ensure you pay close attention to your guide and follow BEHIND them at all times. (Some guides like to get creative and draw skulls and crossbones or grim reapers on the sides of their maps to get people to pay attention. And by some… I mean me.)
From the moment your head submerges under the water, your attention is pulled in multiple directions. Fish mating, fish laying and guarding eggs, fish hunting, fish hiding, fish fighting, fish feeding, fish Tokyo drifting in the current – it’s all here on display from dawn ’til dusk. One of our more dramatic DMT’s (I say this in the most loving and fellow theatre nerd way) exclaimed, “I had to push little fish out of the way to see the big things!”
Little wonder Batu Bolong is one of Komodo’s most famous dive sites.
AND HOW DO I DIVE THIS CHIMERA OF A DIVE SITE?
You can do it on a boat. You can do it with a goat. (You can’t. That was a Dr. Seuss reference. Sorry.)
Dive Batu Bolong with Blue Marlin, of course. In the interest of keeping all divers safe and preserving this site for our posterity (someone’s got to protect it from subpar buoyancy), Blue Marlin only offers trips to this site to Advanced certified divers or higher. Due to its central location, this site is accessible all year long. We offer trips via our speedboat, Toby. While you’ll be able to sleep in longer and leave later than all other shops, our 600 horsepower speedboat ensures that you’ll be able to wave as we pass your friends on the traditional boats of the area and pop into the water before everyone else. No one likes to dive in champagne bubbles. We also dive this site from our liveaboard. The liveaboard offers the incredible opportunity to hop in the water at sunrise. With no other divers around, witness the fish waking up, voracious for their first meal of the day, in crystal clear water. Learn more about trips on our website.