I’m a big fan of topographical diversity on dive sites, which is why Batu Rufus makes my list.
This 4-in-1 site begins with a comfortable drift along a sheer wall, where I would search (usually in vain) for pygmy seahorses camouflaged amongst pink and yellow sea fans.
The many nooks and crevices also made perfect hiding spots for my favorite macro life—nudibranchs.
I would always keep one eye in the blue, to spot black tip reef sharks gliding silently by in the depths below.
Rounding a sharp corner, the wall gives way to a gentle sloping reef, covered in an array of colorful soft coral and equally vibrant fish. Across the slope stands a gorgeous finger of staghorn coral to explore.
Doubling back along the sandy slope, we would peer through the “window,” framing a shallow lagoon of bright crystal water. Timing it just right, we could ride the surge through the arch, like a body surfer catching a wave.
We would then spend our safety stop with the baby black tip reef sharks weaving their way amongst delicate table corals.
It was always a surreal experience to surface inside the lagoon, encased in sheer cliff faces plastered with verdant foliage, greeted by the call of tropical birds.
The Author: Kaelyn Lynch is a divemaster with experience diving in Indonesia, the U.S., Bonaire, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.