The Magnificence Hiding in the Muck
Don’t let the name fool you. It may not sound like much fun, but it’s surprisingly easy to get addicted to diving in the “muck”. Some of the strangest, and most fascinating marine inhabitants can be found hiding amongst the silt and rubble in many parts of Indonesia when scuba diving. The Komodo National Park is no exception. Muck diving is also named Macro diving.
What Makes up for Muck?
Muck diving environments are not the prettiest places on the planet. Usually fairly shallow sites, the bottom can be a mix of sand, silt, dead coral or rubble. There may be a lot of garbage, discarded fishing lines or even small wrecks. Harbours, bays and other shallow, quiet areas often offer the best opportunities for muck diving. The calm conditions make it the perfect environment for macro-photography.
Life in the Muck
While the landscape may be less than lovely, the myriad marine creatures that make muck their home number in the thousands! And this is why you dive muck. The sea life that you’ll find may be small, even minute. But the many unique species that have adapted to life in this environment are fascinating examples of mother nature’s powers of evolution. A number of these species have highly developed mechanisms for camouflage and disguise.
A muck dive is usually a long, slow, shallow dive. You’ll need to keep your eyes peeled so as not to miss the most interesting creatures. Many species of frogfish, scorpionfish and flounder will be still and silent as they sit on the ocean floor. In many cases, it may be just a pair of eyes and a gaping mouth that alerts you to the fact that what appears to be a stone, is in fact a stonefish.
Frogfish have exceptional exteriors designed to keep them well hidden, even while in plain view. Also called anglerfish, these masters of disguise spend the vast majority of their time staying still. When they do move, they are lightening fast and targeting their next meal. Even heaven can’t help a fish that gets sucked into the gaping mouth of a hungry frogfish. Blink and you’ll miss it. The process takes less than a second.
Seahorses are another special treat seen on many muck dives. Look for them close to the bottom, anchoring themselves by tail to a piece of rock, dead coral or seaweed. They are not so simple to spot, but once you do find one, you’ll want to hang around next to it for awhile. Octopus, including the rare blue ringed octopus, may be sighted squeezing themselves into any available cracks and crevices.
The flamboyant cuttlefish is a psychedelic, writhing mass of changing colour that may slip through the sea next to you. Eels can often be spotted sticking their slender heads out from the sand, and there may be mantis shrimp, sea snakes, and sea moths in good numbers.
Must Visit Muck Sites
Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and some spots off Malaysian Borneo are considered to be home to the best muck diving. However many places have dive sites that are filled with small but sensational critters. Muck diving sites can also serve as “nurseries” for juveniles of larger species. Ask your dive master for hints on where to look, and for what.
Our Very Own Mucky Dives
The Komodo National Park has something for everyone. We have a fantastic diversity of sites for divers of any ability level. Muck diving can be done at Manta Point off of Central Komodo, Wainiloo in the South Komodo area, and at East Komodo at the Sebayor Kecil site. If there is a particular type of dive, or a creature you are hoping to spot, let us know. We’ve had years of experience in these waters and will be happy to make this dive trip your best dive trip!