The Cauldron Dive Site
The Cauldron, also known as ‘The Shotgun’, is located in the northern region of the Komodo National Park. Situated between Gilli Lawa Laut (island close to the water) and Gilli Lawa Darat (island close to the sea), this site is renowned for its captivating underwater topography created by strong currents funneling between the two islands. It’s a prime example of what makes Komodo famous for its exciting and dynamic currents.
On our elegant daily boats Smaug or Shiryu , the journey from our dive resort to this site takes just over an hour and forty five minutes or with our Speed Boat Mushu less than 50 Minutes. This presents a wonderful opportunity to relax and soak in the breathtaking views of the Komodo National Park while savoring your morning coffee (or tea).
What to Expect at the Dive Site:
The dive begins with a picturesque sloping coral reef that reaches a white sandy bottom at around 23 meters. This spot is perfect for exploration, where you can discover garden eels, schools of glass fish, white-tip reef sharks, and enormous stingrays. After taking in the fascinating critters here, your guide will lead you eastward. Here, the reef plateau extends into a coral rubble runway, an excellent area to search for peculiar-looking macro creatures. And as with any dive in Komodo, always keep an eye above for the graceful presence of manta rays, eagle rays, or devil rays passing by.
The rubble plateau then abruptly drops from 15 meters down to 23 meters. Keep your guide in sight and ensure not to descend deeper than them, as you’re now entering the Cauldron. This vast basin has been sculpted into the seabed by the powerful currents that surge through this channel. Staying along the Cauldron’s edge allows you to make your way to the fish bowl – a large crack in the reef where schools of surgeon fish and snappers gather. Further along, there’s a rocky wall that leads to the famous shotgun!
As the currents rise from the basin’s bottom, you’ll enter the shotgun (but not from the bottom, as we want to avoid rapid ascents!). You’ll feel the thrill of the currents propelling you upwards and into a channel, propelling you along – a truly unique and exhilarating experience.
Here, you’ll cruise along the rocky reef, keeping an eye out for mantas, sharks, giant trevally, and relishing the ride! After this thrilling current ride, you’ll conclude your dive in the stunning hard coral garden called ‘ The Chinese Shop ‘.
The ‘Chinese Shop’ is a haven for countless schooling fish, white tip reef sharks, and even the occasional manta ray cleaning station. So, once you’ve caught your breath from the shotgun ride, make sure to bask in the marine life surrounding you.
When to Dive The Cauldron:
As with all dive sites in the Komodo National Park, it’s crucial to consider the currents. When dived correctly, this site is fantastic; however, diving at the wrong time can lead to an unpleasant experience.
Diving on slack tide allows you to leisurely explore the captivating reef, encounter remarkable macro life, ranging from pygmy seahorses to frogfish, and discover the distinctive topography. While this approach offers a beautiful dive, it doesn’t capture the essence that makes it one of our top dive sites, often requested by guests to revisit time and time again.
Diving on a falling tide is when the real excitement kicks in! The ebbing tide brings water movement from west to east In the North. Upon entering, you’ll feel the water pulling you towards the renowned Cauldron. The closer you get, the swifter the current becomes. As you glide over the cauldron, you’ll witness incredible marine life in action. It’s an awe-inspiring experience watching sharks, trevally, mantas, and more play within the currents at this extraordinary dive site.
This dive site shines throughout the year, with the best visibility from April to November. From May to August, we tend to see more mantas at this site, providing an added bonus!
What Can You Encounter?
The Cauldron boasts one of the most diverse arrays of marine life in the Park! From minuscule critters like frogfish and nudibranchs to majestic manta rays and patrolling sharks, the underwater life here is nothing short of mind-blowing. Coupled with the captivating topography and thrilling currents, you’ll quickly fall in love with this dive site.
In fact, the entire northern area of the Komodo National Park is exceptionally special. Learn more about other dive sites in this region on our dive sites page.
If you’re eager to explore Komodo, send us an email or What’sApp to discover more!
Dont forget our unique and special Dive and Stay packages.