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Interesting Marine Encounters Around Gili Air

Posted on 28/01/2019

Are you a certified diver on Gili Air and wanting to see something special on your dives here?

If so, we have compiled a list of some interesting marine life that we find often here in Gili Air, and where you can spot them!

Turtles – Marlin Hill

There’s a reason why the Gilis are called the turtle capital of the world.

Come on a dive with us to Marlin Hill or Turtle Heaven, because we know that you’ll love seeing some really big turtles. We have seen as many as 25 turtles on one dive at Marlin Hill. Can you beat that?

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Also known as Turtle Heaven, Marlin Hill is one of the best dive sites in the Gilis for turtle encounters. It features a steep coral slope running parallel to the shoreline and a large central coral mound rising from 30m to just 10m from the surface.

Apart from Marlin Hill, you can encounter these locals of the Gilis at Han’s Reef, and even in the shallower depths of Shark Point.

Nemo – Han’s Reef

 Another one of our favorite fish that we can never get tired of spotting and showing to our diver buddies is the False Clown fish aka Nemo. Best known for its leading role in the Hollywood films “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory,” the False Clown fish has become a very well-known and popular fish.

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The False Clown fish comes from the Anemone fish family which is a sub-family of Damselfish. These fish are usually identified as small oval shape fish. While the Anemone fish are very common throughout Gili Air, you will find anemones of all types, sizes, and colors housing these adorable little fish. We can almost guarantee that you’ll find Nemo on a dive to Han’s Reef with us.

Han’s Reef is perfect for beginners as well as seasoned divers. This dive site has it all - a sandy slope running parallel to the shore line, a large central coral mound, and many smaller coral bommies scattered around the dive site.

Sharks – Shark Point

Diving in the Gilis is always rewarding as you will probably see something quite interesting in almost every dive around here. Seeing a shark up close is there on the bucket list of many divers who come diving with us. Shark Point is one such dive site which doesn’t disappoint at all.

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Deep Shark Point is also one of the best sites for reef shark encounters, including White and Black Tip Reef Sharks. A medium to strong current is often present here making it an ideal drift dive for intermediate and advanced divers.

Mandarin fish – Gili Air Harbor

Dusk is the moment when one of the most fascinating events in the marine world occurs; the mating of Mandarin fish. So sitting on a chair watching the sun set is a no-no for keen divers, especially if you find yourself in here in Gili Air!

Scientifically known as Synchiropus splendidus, the Mandarin fish is one of the most stunningly beautiful and interesting fish in the ocean. They could well be the most distinct patterned creature you have ever seen when you dive.

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The Mandarin fish is an extremely small and shy tropical fish. It appears only briefly at dusk to mate and seemingly wishes to avoid any bright light.

The standard colours of the fish are a blue background with wavy orange lines. However, these fish are also sometimes called psychedelic fish due to their rather bizarre hues which have to be seen to be believed.

In Gili Air we are lucky that we are able to spot the Mandarin fish during our night dives at the Gili Air harbour. Spotting these Mandarin fish is one of the most amazing highlights for our Advanced Adventurer divers.

Seahorses – Seahorse Bay | Pygmy Seahorse – Meno Wall

Did you know that seahorses are the only animals where the male births the offspring instead of the female?

Seahorses are truly magnificent creatures, and spotting them is always a wonderful experience. Guess what?  We have a muck dive site known as Seahorse Bay just 20 minutes away from Gili Air. The chances of you spotting a seahorse is quite high at this dive site.

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Seahorse Bay is a popular fun diving destination as it offers calm, current-free conditions regularly. Macro lovers and photographers really appreciate what this site has to offer.

If you want to spot another species of seahorses known as the Pygmy Seahorse, all you need to do is come diving with us to Meno Wall. Ask our experienced divemasters, Opik and Muly, to show you these macro beauties.  

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Nudibranchs, also known as sea slugs, are a widespread group of marine Gastropod molluscs. With more than 3,000 known species, these shell-less and uncoiled Gastropods are extremely bright and vibrant in colour.

Nudibranchs are macro creatures, and it's always a delight to spot them during a dive. There’s no guarantee that you will spot them on every dive, however our experienced divemasters are experts in finding these macro beauties.

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There is no particular dive site where these are spotted, but the chances of you spotting one during your dives here in Gili Air are quite high.

Doesn’t hearing about these interesting and unique creatures make you want to have an encounter up close and personal?

All this is just a message and a quick flight away!

So, what are you waiting for?


Gili Air is waiting for you!


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  • Royce Fonken 02/06/2019 3:15pm (6 months ago)

    Great webpage!
    Don’t forget the really large cuttlefish i saw there. Also saw a big octopus and a stonefish.
    I really enjoyed my stay there with you.

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