SCUBA DIVING IN BORNEO
Luconia Shoals lies off the North-Western coast of Sarawak. The area stretches over several hundred kilometres in the South China Sea, with the underwater topography varying from shallow stretches of enchanting coral gardens to magnificent drop-offs. The diving can only be accessed by liveaboard dive boats. Dive sites range from easy and relaxing to steep walls with strong currents. The Hayes Reef area is well known for its wall diving. The wall is densely populated with a colourful mixture of Butterfly fish, Damsel fish, Parrot fish, Lion fish, Puffer fish, Moorish Idols an Jacks. Groups of Manta Rays and Sting Rays can often be seen gliding above divers. Drift diving is excellent at Aitken Reef, where the ocean current varies from mild to strong at the mid-point of the drift. Unicorn fish, Barracuda and Pelagics hover around gardens comprising red sea fans, blue sponges, cabbage and tulip corals and anemones. Sea urchins, sea slugs, christmas tree worms and lobster also inhabit the area. Night diving is also very rewarding in Luconia. 1.8 metre long Moray Eels can be seen creeping from their holes in search of food, together with sea stars, sea urchins and coral fish. The diving areas can be divided into two separate areas – South Luconia Shoals and North Luconia Shoals. Favourite dive spots around the South Luconia Shoals region include:
- Fan Drop Diving depths from about 12 to 40 metres. Concentrated gorgonian fans growing abundantly along the slopes.
- Surgeon Route Diving depths from about 12 to 40 metres. Well known for vast variety of marine life. Schooling rainbow runner, surgeons, fusiliers, dogtooth tuna, red Schnapper, coral fish and lobsters.
- Eastern Wall Clusters of sea fans growing on slopes of a vertical wall. This is a good drift dive area. Diving depths from 15 to 40 metres.
- Rock Hard Drift Majestic view from an overhang. A drop from 30 to 45 metres. White-tip reef sharks are often found in the area. Diving depths from 20 to 30 metres.
- Western Wall Table corals infesting profusely on steep slopes. Large pelagics can be seen from ledge to the bottom of the slopes. Giant Maori Wrasse found in the area. The outer fringes of the plateau are covered with finger corals Diving depths from 15 to 40 metres.
North Luconia Shoals Favourite dive spots around the Hayes Reef region include:
- Solomon Backyard Diving depths from about 10 to 16 metres. Dense hard coral formations with a majority of staghorn corals, and an abundance of coral fish.
- Manta Avenue Diving depths from about 12 to 40 metres. It is an excellent wall dive with manta rays in the area. There are excellent coral formations at the edge of the plateau.
- Neptune Valley Unspoiled hard coral formations. Some dogtooth tune found in the area. Diving depths from 12 to 40 metres.
Favourite dive spots around the Aitken Reef region include:
- Die Hard Drift Excellent location for wall diving. Manta rays can be seen here. Healthy coral formations are found on the ledge. Diving depths from 9 to 40 metres.
- White Tip Cruise Excellent wall drift dive. Gorgonian fans growing along the walls. White tip sharks are often seen along the wall, as well as schools of surgeon fish, red schnapper and unicorn fish. Diving depths from 15 to 40 metres.
- Coral Garden Dense variety of soft and hard corals. You may also see tuna, barracuda lobsters and schnapper. There are also some 6 m high bommies growing in the area. Diving depths from 9 to 18 metres.