"The Balcony is a shallow dive with huge fishlife"
Angel Reef, Indonesia
Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Angel Reef, Indonesia
In September 2012 Kelly and I did a week long liveaboard dive trip in Indonesia which went from Bali to Komodo and back. We went on the MV Mermaid II. Click here to read about the boat. This is one of the dive sites we did on the trip. The trip heads north-east from Benoa Harbour on Bali out north of Lombok and then north of the other islands to Komodo Island and then down the eastern side of Komodo to the southernmost point of Komodo. For all dives on this trip we used 31% Nitrox, so bear this in mind when considering the bottom times we did.
This dive is located off the western side of Pulau Moyo (Moyo Island) in the Bali Sea. An approximate GPS mark for the dive spot is 8° 13' 43.3"S 117° 28' 39.8"E (using WGS84 as the datum). The site is located about 500 metres to the south-west of the GPS mark.
A satellite photo from Google Earth that shows the location of the dive site (the large reef) GPS is where the arrow is - north to top
A photo of the dive site
The actual site is a sand cay (island) that just clears the surface of the water. The top of the reef is relatively flat, about 10 metres for most of it. On the western and southern sides the sand drops down from 10 metres quite steeply. The northern and eastern sides slope more gradually.
A map of the dive site – north is at the top of the map Used courtesy of Mermaid Cruises
As with virtually all dive sites that you do when on MV Mermaid II, you use the RIB (rigid inflatable boat) to get to the start of the dive (and also to get back to the boat). The RIB will drop you normally upstream of the current.
We were dropped on the south-western corner of the site near the top of the wall and descended straight to about 24 metres. The wall here is vertical, with lots of large gorgonias and barrel sponges. We drifted to the east with the slight current (you could easily swim against it). I went down to about 36 metres, but the bottom here is at least 50 metres.
A very large gorgonia
Kelly on the shear wall
Deeper there were some much large gorgonias and the colour was brilliant. The reef had lots of the normal tropical species, clownfish, large pufferfish and the scribbled filefish or leatherjacket. There were also lots of surgeonfish and different wrasse and triggerfish. Many of the barrel sponges had hairy squat lobsters in the folds of the barrels. This are a pink colour and very beautiful, although they can be hard to photograph.
We continued drifting with the current and gradually ascending so as to stay outside decompression limits. After about 20 minutes, the reef turns to the north and we soon after this the wall becomes a slope. This is more sandy and has isolated outcrops of coral. The depth has come up to about 18 metres and gradually gets shallower.
Glass shrimp on an anemone
There are still lots of gorgonias in this area, but they are smaller. There are also many sea whips and lots of anemones with clownfish. In some we find glass shrimp. On the sand in the 10 metre area there are hundreds of garden eels, perhaps one of the hardest of fish to get a good photograph of as they duck back into the sand as soon as you get close.
We spend the last part of the dive in this area before ascending. We have to do our safety stop in blue water as there was no reef shallower than about 9 metres in this area. Our dive guide sent up a safety sausage (and I think Kelly also practised sending hers up) and after a stop of about 8 minutes we surfaced and were collected quickly by the RIB.