Off the North-West coast of Lombok, Indonesia, there are a series of idyllic bays, secluded white sand beaches and long stretches of undisturbed coastline. Far away from the hustle of nearby Bali, this area is yet to be discovered by tourism; wherein lies its beauty.
Indonesia is fast emerging as a travel destination because of the increasing network of convenient air connections, not to mention the growth of the international airports in Denpasar and Lombok.
One reason that the massive Indonesian archipelago is visited, is due to its access to some of the world`s best dive spots. The country`s location in the Coral Triangle (an area that marine scientists believe to be the cradle of all marine life), means that the biodiversity is unrivalled.
It is well known that some of the best underwater adventures are to be had in and around the islands of Bali, Lombok, Flores, Komodo and Sulawesi. Not to mention here at Karang Divers on Gili Air. These sites have seen a massive increase in interest from overseas visitors and are frequently hailed as some of the world`s top emerging destinations.
However, due in the past to poor infrastructure and high costs, many of these stunning spots have remained elusively remote, being accessible only by exclusive 5 star resort or luxury charter liveaboard.
But things are changing. Nowhere more obviously than the newly discovered Teluk Nara bay, on the North West coast of Lombok. Within only an hours drive from the new international airport, and only 20 minutes away from the dive opportunities on the three Gili Islands, Teluk Nara is a dive destination in its own right.
For the uninitiated, muck diving is a very specific art form. The conditions are generally silty/muddy, with low visiblity and a need for good buoyancy. But divers don`t dive in these areas for no reason…they hunt out the strange, the peculiar and the wonderful.
Certain marine creatures can only be found in conditions like these, and they are an underwater photographer`s dream! Not only are there frog fish, seahorses and tiny, blue ringed octopus, but also, the elusive mimic octopus, ornate ghost pipefish and a whole host of other critters not found anywhere else.
The joy of Teluk Nara is that it still remains a secret; unlike the famous Lembeh Strait, divers are not limited only to an enormous budget staying at an all-inclusive resort. Nor is Teluk Nara difficult to reach…SilkAir and Garuda run flights directly onto Lombok, and with Air Asia primed to begin international flights this year, this little gem will not stay quiet for long!
There is also the fact that accommodation options are so varied here on Gili Air; you can have lovely bathrooms and air-con, or go along the route of bargain-basement shack on the beach; the choice is yours!
One of the best reasons to visit this particular part of the world is the volume of choice. With our island, Gili Air, being only 20 minutes away, we were able to take divers yesterday for two nice long dives. Of course, we saw lots of cool and wacky little critters, but even underneath the pier itself makes for great visuals. Soft corals and clams cling to ancient-looking ropes, and troops of squirming catfish patrol the shallows.
This choice, access to stunning reefs as well as astounding muck diving, makes Teluk Nara and Gili Air a must-see for divers interested in an unforgettable experience.
This isn`t the jam-packed scuba factories of Thailand or Egypt; its desert island paradise, with underwater adventures thrown in! What more could you want?
p.s. If this all seems like one enormous advert for Gili Air and Karang Divers, you would guess correctly. The End