Diving ‘The Toilet’ of Gili Tepekong
The east coast part of Bali Island is a home to some of the most stunningly beautiful and spectacular natural sceneries in Bali. It is also the place where some of the Bali’s most popular diving spots are located. With warm currents and little to no obstruction in underwater visibility, diving in Bali is always sought by many divers around the globe for its dive sites. One such dive spot is Gili Tepekong, located around Padang Bai and southeast of Candidasa to be exact. Gili Tepekong mostly has a white sandy beach and deep blue water. Due to its size, Gili Tepekong diving site is often ignored by common people. Although it may looked like nothing more than a rocky outcrop, Gili Tepekong hosts the most spectacular of the three dive sites, other being Gili Mimpang and Gili Biaha.
To reach Gili Tepekong, you must first know how to get to Padang Bai region in Bali. As Bali is a world-renowned tourism site, it would not be hard to get here. You could book a flight to get to Bali. The Ngurah Rai International Airport serves as Bali main airport for both local and international flights alike. It is located in Tuban between Kuta and Jimbaran, roughly 30 minutes away from Denpasar. Those who favor going by the sea may find ferries crossing from Ketapang on the island of Java to Gilimanuk in western Bali every day, which takes roughly only 30 minutes. Once you touch Bali, getting to Padang Bai is easy. It is about 90 minutes from Ngurah Rai International Airport and takes about 1 hour to 90 minutes to drive from the southern tourist areas of Kuta and Legian. There is also national tour bus company Perama that has Padang Bai in its network. Regular bemos also ply the main east coast route, routing through Padang Bai departing from Batubulan terminal in Denpasar. Once you reach Padang Bai, a short boat ride can bring you to reach Gili Tepekong.
Before you begin diving in Gili Tepekong, you should know that this dive site is among the most difficult and dangerous areas to dive. Known in some circles as “the toilet”, a swirling downdraft current can occur around Tepekong. Tepekong provides two dive sites to the east and west of the island. On the west side is a small canyon, which leads to the ‘pinnacles’ while the east side is a sloping reef overspread with an array of coral and sponges where sharks, lobsters, and stingrays made their home. It has depths around 6-40 meters or 20-130 feet with average visibility of 20 meters. The temperature ranges between 26°C and minus 20°C. Don’t expect to see soft corals in Gili Tepekong because the current flows are simply too strong for them to grow. Instead of the breathtaking great walls, magnificent rock, pinnacles covered by corals, the canyon, and strong currents coupled with superb coral and marine life such as the Mola-mola sunfish, grey reef sharks, eagle rays, barracudas, and huge schools of fish like sweetlips, jacks, and big troupers, Gili Tepekong has been a worthwhile dive for experienced divers.
All in all, Gili Tepekong has established a reputation as a must-dive location. A home to the beautiful marine life and infamous “the Canyon”, Gili Tepekong enjoys a macho reputation where only experienced divers dare to dive.