Batu Kapal

Banda Sea dive site

red fire gobyBatu Kapal (Ship Rock), located to the north west of Pulau Pisang, is a series of pinnacles, the central one of which breaks the surface and resembles a ship. Other surrounding pinnacles are fully submerged and drop down to below 40m. Several dives are needed to see the whole area.

Visibility is excellent, often over 30 metres. Currents are moderate and the dive site is big enough that there are always places to shelter around the pinnacles.

White tip reef sharks and grey reefs can be seen in the deeper areas. It is also possible to see large potato grouper and black blotched stingrays. Barracuda can be seen in the blue water and rainbow runners can be seen speeding past.

You never know what big fish might swim by here but Batu Kapal is more about the beautiful coral, sponge and seafan formations on the pinnacle walls. Gigantic gorgonian seafans of orange, yellow and pink sway gently in the current and are surrounded by swams of reef fish, particularly surgeonfish, fusiliers and red tooth triggerfish. Large schools of midnight snapper can also be seen. Glass fish cover whole patches of wall, darting in out out as one to confuse predatory fish.

Carpet anemones are home to clownfish and porcelain crabs. Lionfish congregate around large barrel sponges and bearded scorpionfish are usually well camouflaged nearby. Feather stars and whip corals are home to shrimps and whip gobies. Moray eels, including giant, white eyed, honeycomb and fimbriated moray can all be found, usually with cleaner shrimps in close attendance.

Red fire gobies are numerous in the shallower areas and patience is required to get a good photo of them. Colourful small reef fish such as anthias and damsels dart in and out of the hard corals. Banded boxer shrimps and hingebeak shrimps fill rocky crevices.