Pulau Weh was one of our first stops exploring the best dive sites in Indonesia. Pulau Weh is a small tropical island at the northern tip of Sumatra. The beaches are small and since bikinis and board shorts are not allowed this is not really the best island for swimming and sunbathing. We came here for the same thing as pretty much all other tourists on the island, diving! On-shore activities are limited and alcohol is not readily available on this conservative Muslim island, but the diving is awesome!
THE MARINE LIFE AROUND PULAU WEH
Doing research for this trip, we were really excited by mantas, whale sharks, dog tooth tunas and other big pelagics. Unfortunately big animals are rarely seen these days, the amount of marine life covering the reefs where however spectacular. There were many blue fin trevallies hunting in packs on all the reefs that we dived. The jungles of huge gorgonian fans covered by massive clouds of Indian trigger fish everywhere were spectacular. There were some massive Giant Trevallies patrolling in the deep. We saw more pelagic creatures; White tip reef sharks, schooling Barracudas and Horse eye Jacks. Closer to the reef some highlights were octopus, Leafy Scorpionfish, Mantis Shrimp and a variety of Nudis.
ACCOMMODATION, FOOD AND OTHER ACTIVITIES
This is probably the cheapest good diving that I have ever done. Other then diving our budget for food and accommodation was less than $10 per day each! For more about island life on Pulau Weh see our Guide to Pualu Weh. It is a nice island to explore by scooter with hot springs, a volcano and secret beaches strewn around the main road meandering around the island. If you want to climb an iconic volcano consider going to Java and climb Mount Bromo for free
DIVING PULAU WEH
We dived in current on all our dives, varying from very mild to strong. The water temperature was a very comfortable 29C and depth ranging between 8m and 41m. Most of the dive sights start shallow and slope deeper. There are a variety of sites suitable for all levels.
We did the following dives:
Our first dive was disappointing. We completely missed the reef and had to abort the dive, finding it on our second attempt. Nice normal reef fish and nudis, not what we were hoping for. Giant clams, magnificent slug, powder blue surgeon fish, moorish idols etc
Dive log Pante Peunateung:
Viz: 15m, Temp: 29C, Max depth 31m, Avg depth 15m, Dive time 61min
Good dive! This was much better diving! The reef is spectacular with massive Gorgonian fans and a variety of beautiful corals. Thousands of Indian triggerfish covered the reef.
Packs of medium sized Giant trevally and Blue fin trevally hunting. Honeycomb Morey, White eye Morey Eel. Scorpion fish, Octopus, Titan triggerfish and all the normal small reef fish.
Dive Log, The Canyon
Viz: 10-15m, Temp: 29C, Max depth 31m, Avg depth 15m, Dive time 62min
Arus Balee (Bastard Current)
Great Dive, most beautiful reef we saw around Pulau Weh. Gorgonian Fans, Staghorn coral, Table coral amazing. Big Giant Trevallies. So many fish it looked like it was getting dark sometimes! Similar marine life to The Canyon, just more dense.
Dive Log, Arus Balee
Viz: 15m, Temp: 29c, Max depth 31m, Avg depth 15m, Dive time 61min
Finally a dive with some big fish! Three massive Giant Trevallies, a school of 20 to 30 Barracudas, school of about 100 Horse eye jacks. Plenty of Blue fin trevally and smaller Giant trevally hunting. Two Blacktip reef sharks. Nice macro, Leafy scorpion fish, Mantis shrimp, Boxer banded shrimp.
Dive Log Batee Tokong:
Viz: 15m, Temp: 28C, Max depth 40m, Avg depth 15.8m, Dive time 61min
PULAU WEH DIVE CENTERS
There are 4 dive centers on Pulau Weh; Iboih Dive Center, Lumba Lumba Diving Centre, Monster Divers and Rubiah Tirta Dive Center.
We dived with Iboih dive center, dives were cheap at $20 per dive including gear, the equipment was well maintained and the staff where friendly and professional.
The German instructor working there is experienced and professional. I heard that decompression problems are common on the island (about once a month). Some of the popular dive sites are deep with current. I would recommend that you dive with your own computer and always closely monitor your depth, do not only rely on the dive master. We had an incident. We were diving in two groups. Our group aborted the dive when we could not see the reef at 20m. The other group consisted out of the DM, two experienced divers and on Open Water diver with a couple of logged dives. They also missed the reef, but the DM kept descending past 45m!
Thinking of things that can go wrong too much can put a damper on your trip, but there are obvious risks. Many dive locations are remote with minimal medical facilities. Accidents do happen, be prepared. World Nomads travel insurance covers travelers from most countries around the world and cover can even be organised while you are traveling. They specialize in covering adventure activities like diving. Make sure you take out the appropriate cover. Get a online quote in seconds. Have your trip, your health and your gear covered, read the small print. World Nomads Diving Insurance
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