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A Day of Diving in the Gili Islands: What to Expect

Posted on 15/12/2019

By Ran/ ranrambles


1 Turtle sunburst

Image @ranrambles


You booked the plane tickets, you made a reservation, you are ready for your upcoming holiday in the Gilis. At Manta, we offer daily dives as well as SSI dive courses, but Manta is more than just an SSI dive centre. We also offer accommodation and an on-site restaurant. So, what should you expect once reaching Manta?


2 Waterfront Restaurant



Manta resort offers three types of rooms: Traditional Bungalows, Garden Rooms, and Deluxe Bungalows. All rooms come with a safe deposit box, air conditioning, and hot water. 

Once arriving at Manta there will be a staff member outside to greet you and help you check-in and show you to your room. Depending on when you arrive you may or may not be able to dive. If you arrive late, no worries! Around the resort, there are two pools for guests if there is a desire to get in the water right away! Snorkelling right outside the resort is also an option depending on conditions.  


Waterfront Restaurant

Manta resort also offers a restaurant that serves local and western meals all day long. Meals can be delivered to your room or you can sit at our seafront restaurant and enjoy the views of Mount Rinjani on Lombok. For divers, you can also order food before a dive to have it ready when you return! 

3 Manta Boats outside the shop



Manta Dive Gili Air uses two boats named after locations of significance to the owners of Manta Dive, Managua and Samui. Managua is the larger of the two and can carry up to 30 divers, Samui is a bit smaller holding around 20. During high tide, these boats are right outside the shop! During low tide, these boats are docked down the beach, about a 5-minute walk. 


Scuba Diving

Of course, the main reason you are here is for diving! Manta runs at least two dives a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. During high season there is usually a noon dive as well. Dive sites we visit varies every day and what time of day. So, what should you expect while diving with us? Below are some of the most common dive sites we visit, but there are 30 dive sites in total!


4 Cabbage coral at Manta Point

 Image @ranrambles


Morning Dives

The morning dives boat usually leaves at 9am. We ask those that wish to dive to arrive about 30 minutes early for a morning briefing. For those have their own set of equipment you would set that up as well. For those renting, your dive professional will set up your gear for you! The morning dive sites are usually the sites around Gili Trawangan. They include:

  • Shark Point - This dive site is located on the western side of Gili T with a gentle slope. From 12m to 30m. At this dive site, you can see sharks in the deeper sections as well as plenty of turtles. On the far north end of the dive site, you can find the Glenn Nusa wreck!
  • Manta Point - This dive site at the southern end of Gili T is a fairly flat dive site with large patches of cabbage coral. This site is known for schools of fish and sharks in the deeper sections. If you are really fortunate you may even see mantas or devil rays migrating through!
  • Halik - This dive site is located at the north of Gili T, it is divided into Shallow and Deep Halik. Shallow Halik is a beautiful site with large coral bommies among white sand and schools of small fish. Deep Halik has large schools of red tooth triggerfish and striped snappers. This site is known to have fairly high current making it a fun place to have a drift dive.


5 Coral bommie at Air Wall

 Image @ranrambles


Afternoon Dives 

Afternoon dives usually leave the shop at 2pm. These dive sites are typically close to Gili Air. They include:

  • Hans Reef - A reef just 5-minute boat ride up Gili Air. This site is known for its white sand and two reefs: the “Brainiac”, an area with tons of fish schooling around it and Turtle Rock, a small reef that is well known for a large barrel sponge that is often used as a turtle bed! 
  • Marlin Hill -  An underwater hill sometimes referred to as Turtle Heaven. In the deeper sections, there are beautiful fields of coral. This is a favourite among divers, as at the top of the hill you are almost guaranteed to see turtles resting!
  • Air Wall - This dive site is located on the western side of Gili Air. As the name implies, it is a large vertical wall, often covered with soft coral. This dive site is known to have high current, perfect for a drift dive. 

6 Diver in the deep at Simons Reef

 Image @ranrambles


Deep Dive Sites and Special Dive Sites

These dive sites we only go if there is a request. They require everyone in the group to be certified to 30 meters. They include:

  • Deep Turbo/Simon’s Reef - These two dive sites are similar. They both start around 18 meters and they are considered having the best coral in the area. Over here you can expect to see sharks, schools and fish and some turtles among large coral covered ridges. 
  • Mirkos - This dive site is located between Gili Meno and Air. It is shaped like a spread out hand and is known to have a wide variety of healthy corals, particularly table coral, in the deep. 
  • Seahorse Bay - This is a special "muck" dive site located on Lombok. You don't need to be deep certified, but it is suggested only to those with excellent buoyancy control, as not to kick up the silt. This site is full of small critters and is a favourite among macro photographers.


Night and Dawn Dives  

These are by request only. Dawn dives start at 6am, while night dives start at 5pm. Dawn dives are usually done at one of the deep dive sites while night dives are done at Seahorse Bay or Gili Air Harbour. In the Harbour expect to find similar life as to Seahorse Bay, but here you have the chance to find mandarin fish at twilight and blue ring octopus! 


SSI Diving Courses 

For those new to diving Manta does offer a range of SSI dive courses. The most common being Open Water Diver, Advanced Adventurer Diver, and Diver Stress and Rescue. Your day will be similar to someone who is here for a fun dive, except you would have classes in the morning and pool or ocean sessions in the afternoon. 

Does this little teaser have you excited about your next holiday? We hope so! Indonesia is a diverse location with much to see. See you here soon as part of your Indo adventure!



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