Pillar Rock lies a couple of kilometres to the south east of Padar Island, between Komodo and Rinca islands.
The best plan at this top notch Komodo dive site is to drop at a pinnacle at the southern-most point and let the strong current and surge take you west. To the south lies deeper water and a series of caves, chimneys and rocky outcrops. Here you'll find large mid night snappers, huge boxfish, and 6-banded angelfish.
To the west Pillarsteen's walls are painted yellow, green and orange by the dense colonies of soft corals. Yellow and white sea squirts are found here in their thousands. With funnel-shaped bodies and spout-shaped open mouths, these colourful creatures can easily be mistaken for aqautic versions of pitcher plants.
In the shallow waters the wall ends and becomes a sloping reef. Here are masses of gigantic soft brown leather corals (Scleronephthya, Sinulana and Sarchphyton). You'll see tiny bright yellow sea cucumbers attached to most of the corals. They look surprisingly like members of the sea slug family, but Pentacta Lutea are indeed Holothurians. Strong surge can make this area hazardous amongst the rocks and corals, especially with the presence of highly toxic but brightly coloured red and purple fire urchins.
Pillarsteen Reef Basics: Wall diving with superb colours
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 5 - 20m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface conditions: Choppy
Water temperature: 20 - 26°C
Experience level: Intermediate - advanced
Number of dive sites: 1
Diving season: September to June
Distance: ~490 km east of Bali (25 hours)
Access: Liveaboard diving in Komodo
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